Parmesan Challah

Clockwise, top left:  Finished breads, my bread board set-up, braided loaves, rising loaves,
 loaves showing "oven spring" or doubling in the oven.
This recipe for Best Basic Challah from the "BH&G Christmas Baking 2008" is “best” for a reason.  It makes a very nice dough, and the book gives multiple variations.  I wanted to try at least one of the variations and, because the recipe is large, I wanted two plain loaves for French toast – one for us and one for Myrna’s family.  The parmesan variation gets its flavor from the finish, so it was easy to make the variation and 2 plain loaves at the same time.  Other variations included Garlic-Herb, Mini Cinnamon-Sugar and Chocolate Chip Challah.  I’ll be making this recipe again – I like only cleaning up once and getting 3 nice loaves!
I made this in my 5 Quart Pro bowl-lift Kitchenaid, you can also make it by hand.  If you don’t use instant or fast rising yeast, the rising times double.
Parmesan Challah
For Dough
  1 ¾   Cups  Warm Water -- 120°-130°
     ½   Cup  Honey
  2       Packages  Instant Yeast -- 4 teaspoons
  4       Large  Eggs -- lightly beaten
     ½   Cup  Butter -- melted and cooled
  1       Tablespoon  Salt
  7 ½ to 8 cups Bread Flour  (I used 2# 2 ounces)
For Shaping Loaf
  3        Tablespoons  Olive Oil
  1       Cup  Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese -- finely shredded
In large mixer bowl, combine flour, yeast, butter, eggs and salt.  Stir in the honey and water, and mix 2 minutes with the paddle attachment.  Change to dough hook, and knead for 4-5 minutes to make moderately soft dough.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes in a warm place.
Deflate dough, divide into 3 portions - divide each portion into thirds (9 portions total, about 7 1/4 ounces each).  Roll each portion into an 18" long rope.  Brush ropes with 3 tablespoons olive oil and roll in one cup finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Braid three ropes at a time to make 3 loaves.
Place braids side by side in a lightly greased 15 x 10 x 1" baking pan or half sheet.  Cover and let rise until nearly double in size - 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 350°.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped.  Immediately remove to a wire rack to cool.
To do one parmesan braid and 2 regular braided loaves, use 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/3 cup parmesan for 1 loaf, and brush remaining 2 loaves with a mixture of a beaten egg and 1/2 tablespoon water.
Makes 3 braided loaves, 16 servings each; a little more than 4 pounds of dough.
Per Serving: 119 Calories; 4g Fat (26.9% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 159mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.


  1. Oh, gosh, this looks like an easy, and lovely bread recipe! Thanks for all your research, ladies!

  2. Thank you so much! I made three plain loaves today for our family Sunday school meeting group. We needed bread for our prayer table this lesson, and it looked perfect for it. Everybody loved it! I wondered about putting the egg on before I braided it, so I just put it on after I braided it. Did you do it before or after you braided it?

    1. Sounds like you did just the right thing with your egg wash. I usually put it on the loaves right before they go in the oven.
      Glad you liked this recipe as much as we did.


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