Having a fresh, warm loaf of bread to serve your family with supper makes the meal all the better. Here is one of my favorite recipes to do just that. This beautiful and delicious Sourdough challah recipe gets mixed up in the morning, sits all day, and is ready to bake while you make the rest of the meal.
Years ago, I started making braided egg bread, also known as challah, every year on Easter and other special occasions. However, this beautiful bread has become a favorite recipe in our home so now I make it more often. It was one of the first breads that I learned how to make many, many years ago when I was first baking all of our bread.
Fast-forward several years and now all of the bread I make is sourdough instead of using commercial yeast.
So, of course, I wanted to make a sourdough version! I always like to make as much as possible using my sourdough starter, which is a natural yeast, instead of commercial yeast. It’s also more easily digestible for my children.
Many sourdough breads take longer than a day to proof and finally bake. But this sourdough challah recipe can be made in one day. I like to mix up the dough in the morning, let it proof all day, and then bake it later in the afternoon before I get dinner ready. Then our family can enjoy a fresh, warm loaf of bread with our meal.
If you’re new to sourdough baking, this is a great recipe to try your hand at! You can make it in one day and it’s not very technical so you’ll get a delicious, pretty loaf every time.
This braided sourdough bread is a fairly simple recipe with beautiful results. Start the dough in the morning and your family will be enjoying warm, fresh bread for supper. The braid gives the bread a unique and impressive look making this a great recipe to serve when having guests!
Ingredients for Sourdough Challah Recipe
You’ll only need a few basic ingredients for this bread recipe.
- Active sourdough starter-You will want to feed your sourdough starter the night before you want to make this bread. You will need 1 cup of active starter so feed accordingly to allow enough leftover to maintain your starter. Don’t have a starter yet? It’s easy! Learn how to get one going in this post.
- Warm water
- Honey– I always bake with raw honey from our bees.
- Eggs-You will need 1 egg for the dough and 1 egg yolk for the egg wash. I like to bake with duck eggs.
- Olive oil-Or your favorite oil of choice.
- Fine sea salt
- Flour-You can use your favorite all-purpose flour or bread flour for this recipe but whole wheat flour will produce a denser loaf, although still delicious!
- Poppy seeds-Optional, for a decorative topping. Or try sesame seeds.
Tools You Will Need
Only standard kitchen tools are needed for this recipe. It can be kneaded in a mixer or by hand, it’s up to you!
- Glass mixing bowl- It’s best to avoid metal when working with sourdough.
- Mixing spoon (I prefer to just use my hands!)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat
- Mixer fitted with a dough hook (optional)
How to Make Sourdough Challah Recipe Dough
The night before you want to make this bread, feed your starter so it’s active and bubbly in the morning.
In the morning, combine the active starter, warm water, honey, egg, oil, and salt in a glass mixing bowl. Alternatively, you can use a mixer fitted with a dough hook to make this dough.
Using your hands (or a wooden spoon, if you prefer) mix the liquid ingredients well.
Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix well. Gradually add the remaining flour, kneading the dough on a clean work surface until it is nice and soft and slightly tacky, about 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased, large bowl and cover. Cover with a damp tea towel, plastic wrap, a lid, or beeswax wrap so that it doesn’t form a skin.
Allow the dough to sit at room temperature all day, ideally 5 to 8 hours. This longer fermentation time will make the bread easier to digest.
In the afternoon, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and lightly flour.
Divide the dough into 3 equal parts using a bench scraper or your hands.
Use your hands to gently roll each dough piece into a long rope, about 12 inches.
Lay each rope parallel to the others on the baking sheet.
Braid the ropes together, alternating crossing the outside pieces over the middle. Just like braiding hair!
Tuck the ends under each other at each end and you will have a beautiful braid.
Cover with a tea towel and allow to sit while the oven is preheating.
How to Bake Sourdough Challah
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water.
Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash all over the top of the braided loaf. This will give it a lovely, shiny crust.
Sprinkle lightly with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or another topping, if desired.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top of the loaf is golden brown.
Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.
Slice and serve warm.
How to Serve Sourdough Challah Bread
Sourdough braided bread is the perfect bread to slice up and serve on the side of a meal. It’s also great for dipping into soups and stews.
Feel free to put butter, jam, cream cheese, honey, or your favorite spread on it.
If you’re serving this lovely bread for guests, make sure to display it with your table setting prior to cutting so they can enjoy it!
You could use this to make sandwiches although, because of the size of the loaf, the slices are fairly small.
We love it simply sliced up and served with homemade butter and drizzled with honey.
If you want to serve this recipe with breakfast in the morning instead of with supper, just start the dough at night before you go to bed and bake it in the morning! It goes perfectly with eggs!
You can also make a round challah loaf by bringing the two ends of the braid together to form a circle.
This pretty loaf of bread also makes a nice gift! Anyone would love to receive a homemade loaf of bread, especially one as unique as this.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftover challah in your breadbox, bread bag, or another container. I have even left mine out on the cutting board overnight and it is still soft the next day. Read this post for more information about properly storing your homemade sourdough bread.
To reheat, toast slices in a toaster or place them in a preheated 350-degree oven for just a few minutes. However, this bread is just as delicious at room temperature so no need to reheat it unless you want to.
Leftover sourdough challah bread makes the best French toast drizzled with maple syrup. Or use it to make bread pudding! It’s also tasty to use for making small sandwiches, either for breakfast or lunch. My daughters like it toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with homemade cinnamon sugar.
Here are some more ideas for how to use up leftover homemade bread so that it doesn’t go to waste.
Whether you eat it fresh or leftover the next day, this sourdough challah recipe is delicious! Experiment with different toppings and enjoying it in different ways. You’ll find that it has endless possibilities.
I think you and your family will love this recipe for easy sourdough challah! It’s not only beautiful sitting alongside a hearty meal on the table but it’s delicious as well. I think this will become one of your family’s favorite loaves of bread like it has for us!
Sourdough Braided Bread
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or baking mat
- 1 cup Active sourdough starter
- 1/2 cup Warm water
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1 Egg
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Fine sea salt
- 2 1/2-3 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 Egg, for egg wash
- 1 tbsp Poppyseeds, optional
- The night before you want to make this bread, feed your sourdough starter so that it's active and bubbly in the morning.
- In the morning, combine active sourdough starter, warm water, honey, egg, oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands or a spoon to mix well.
- Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix in well using your hand or a spoon. Gradually add remaining 1/2-1 cup of flour and knead until you have a soft, slightly tacky dough, about 5 minutes. You can also use a mixer with a dough hook if desired.
- Place dough in a greased glass bowl and cover. Allow to sit at room temperature for several hours, ideally 5 to 8 hours. The longer it sits, and ferments, the more easily digestible the bread will be.
- In the afternoon after the resting period, divide the dough into 3 sections. Use your hands to gently roll each section into a long rope, about 12 inches in length. Lay the three ropes on the baking sheet lined with lightly floured parchment paper or a baking mat, parallel to each other.
- Begin at one end and braid the ropes together, alternating crossing each side over the middle piece. Tuck the ends in. Cover and allow to sit while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and whisk together. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash all over the top of the braid. Sprinkle with poppyseeds, if desired.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm with butter or another favorite topping.