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Hindy’s Water Challah


This challah is amazingly simple, has the benefit of being egg-free, and has the beautiful look of a bakery challah. Yields 6 medium challahs.


Make the Dough

1. Grease pans. Mix together yeast, sugar and water. Let sit for five to 10 minutes until frothy. Add oil, flour (in increments) and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix for 12 minutes, or knead by hand.
2. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and transfer dough. The bowl should be big enough to hold the dough until it is finished rising. Spray the top of the dough and cover with a towel. If possible, leave somewhere warm to rise. Allow to rise for one hour.


Despite popular theory, my challahs always come out better when it’s sticky enough that just a little bit of dough sticks to the bottom of the mixer. While it’s obviously harder to work with a sticker dough, the difference of that extra water makes it totally worth it!

Shape and Bake

1. Divide dough to braid – don’t forget Hafrashas Challah – and leave to rise for an additional 30 minutes. My preferred method is to do a four-strand challah. Form the snakes, lay them side by side. Calling your snakes 1, 2, 3 and 4, you braid like this: 1 goes over 2, under 3 and over 4. Your ‘new’ 1 now goes over 2, under 3 and over 4. Continue until you get to the end of the snake and pinched closed. To braid off the top, reverse the method: 4 goes over 3, under 2 and over 1.
2. If using an egg-wash, apply it now. I like scrambling up an egg and mixing it with about one tablespoon of water. Brush on the wash and, if using a topping (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc) sprinkle it on now. Cover and leave to rise another 30 minutes.
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while your challahs are completing their second rise. Bake for about 45 minutes. Once done, remove from pans and cool on a wire rack so that they do not become soggy.


If the egg allergy is a minor one (or a minor amount of baked egg is tolerated), whisking one egg with water for an egg-wash creates a beautiful finish. If not, you can create a wash using plain water, soy milk, olive oil or melted margarine.