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White Spelt Challah


I’ve been making Estee Kafra’s water challah exclusively for the last few years. It’s light, airy, and has never failed me. In an effort to eat more healthy, however, I wanted to try switching to spelt challah. I figured I’d start with the same recipe and tweak it as needed — but it worked out great! For the Shabbos night and day meals, I am a traditionalist and use only plain challah. For Shalosh Seudos, I don’t mind changing things up a bit, so I filled some of the challahs with a savory paste (see instructions below).

Alternatively, you can create a babka twist shape by rolling out the amount of dough for a whole challah into a rectangle shape and then spreading with the savory sundried tomato filling. Roll up jelly-roll style, then slice lengthwise down the middle, exposing the filling, and twist together, creating a screw shape – as seen on Shortcuts by Family Table! Bake as directed below.

Yields 5 large challahs


Prepare the Challah Dough

1. Place three cups warm water in the bowl of your mixer together with the sugar and yeast. Allow it to sit for 10–15 minutes until the mixture is foamy. Add flour, salt, and oil, along with two more cups water. Add more water one tablespoon at a time, if needed.
2. Start mixer on low and increase speed to medium as ingredients are incorporated. Mix for five minutes, allow to rest for two minutes, and then continue to mix for an additional five minutes.
3. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl, and flip dough so that it’s greased on all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm area for one hour.
5. Form dough into desired shapes. I like to make five three-strand challahs. I divide the dough into 15 equal portions, weighing them on a food scale — each ball should be approximately nine ounces (255 grams).
6. Roll each ball into a long strand and braid your challahs. Transfer the challahs to a challah pan or lined baking sheets. Top with egg wash and desired topping. Allow to rise for an additional one hour.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Bake challahs for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and bake for another 20 minutes.


Spelt flour is more water soluble than wheat is, so when replacing white flour in a recipe, you’ll want to cut back on the liquid in the recipe. Start with three-quarters of the amount of liquid and add as needed.

Prepare the Savory Filling

1. Process the sundried tomatoes, hearts of palm, olives, and salt into a fine paste.
2. When making your challah, take a ball of dough and roll into a rectangular shape with a rolling pin. Smear filling over the dough and roll up into a strand. Do this with another two balls and braid as usual.
3. You can cut slits along the strands at the top of the challah so some filling peeks through. Allow to rise for a second time and bake as directed above.


You can use store-bought pesto to fill your challah to the same effect.


Photography and Styling by Saraizel Senderovits