We introduced Nana’s famous challah recipe a few months ago and have been making challah almost a few times a month since. Nana’s recipe is our go-to for a tried and true classic challah. As time has gone on, we have experimented with different ways to modify this recipe and introduce new flavor profiles to make this recipe transform into something new. We were craving something a little sweet this week and decided to bake a cinnamon swirl challah that we could repurpose for French toast or eat straight out of the oven with butter or cream cheese. The challah is perfectly sweet without feeling like dessert; it has been a favorite for everyone but especially with kiddos.
- 3 packages of dry yeast
- 3 cups warm water, divided into ½ cup and 2 cups
- 1 tbs sugar
- 8 cups flour
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tbs coarse salt
- 5 eggs
- 2/3 cups sugar for challah + 1 tbs for topping
- 1/4 cup cinnamon for challah + 2 tsp for topping
- 2 tbs nutmeg
- 1 tsp water
- Combine 1/2 cup of warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Mix together and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Put the flour into your mixing bowl. Make a well into the center of the flour. Pour in the yeast mixture and let stand until the mixture is bubbly. Add 4 eggs, oil, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into the bowl. Mix all of the ingredients together with a bread hook. Gradually add the remaining 2 ½ cups of water. Keep an eye on the dough as you add the water. You want the dough to be able to easily knead into a ball. You may not have to add all of the water.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured service until it is smooth and satiny. Let the dough rise for one hour in a greased bowl in a warm place (in a warmed, but off, oven) covered with a towel or cheesecloth.
- Knead the dough again on a floured surface for five minutes and let the dough rise again until it is double in size (approximately one hour).
- Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into three even pieces.
- Roll the pieces into long logs – approximately one inch circumference. Braid the dough making sure to tightly pinch the strands together at each end.
- Place the challah on a baking sheet and let rise in a warm area for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the last egg and the 1 tsp water in a small bowl and scramble the egg. Once the challah is done with its final rise, brush the egg over the challah. Do this twice so that the challah is double coated in the egg wash. Combine the remaining 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tbs sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the challah.
- Bake the challah at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes (35 minutes total). Remove the challah from the oven. You will know the challah is fully cooked if you flip it over and tap on the bottom – it will sound hollow. Let the challah rest on a cooling rack for one hour before slicing.