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Whole Wheat Challah

Written by Tamar Ansh on Wednesday, 05 January 2011. Posted in Food Mood

As a kosher recipe website, one of the first few entries posted were challah recipes. So why not call in the expert to share with us the best Whole wheat Challah recipe? Happy Baking -


Because Challah baking is one of my favorite subjects to write about, as well as to bake about!, this first posting of mine will be about challah. I've chosen whole wheat challah this time as I know that many people would like ideas on how to make their challahs white flour-free and still soft and delicious. Here's a recipe I like to use…

For more recipes and many interesting homemaking articles, be sure to visit us at

Pure Whole Wheat Challah

(Excerpted from page 91 of the book "A Taste of Challah" by Tamar Ansh)

Ingredients for 8 large, 10 -12 medium, or 45 small challahs


  • 100 grams fresh yeast or 3 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 5–6 cups warm water
  • 14 cups flour / 2 kilo very finely ground whole wheat flour (called “meshubach” in Israel)
  • 7-8 cups / 1 kilo regular whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup canola oil, or up to 1 1/2 cups if the dough is too stiff to the touch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 eggs for glazing
  • Seeds for sprinkling


Place the yeast in the bottom of a large mixing bowl; crumble slightly with your hands.

Pour 1/4 cup of the sugar on top of the yeast. Add 2 cups warm water to cover it, then cover the bowl and let the yeast proof for 5–8 minutes. Add 13 cups of the flour, the oil, the rest of the sugar, and eggs.

Start to mix while adding in another 3 cups of water. Add in the salt and continue to knead. It should resemble a thick batter at this point.

Turn off the mixer and cover the bowl again.

Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes. Turn the mixer back on and slowly add the remaining flour while mixing and adding in water at the same time until a smooth, slightly sticky dough is formed.

This can be done by hand as well as by mixer. Keep kneading until the dough is uniformly mixed. Add small amounts of water and oil as needed until the dough is soft and pliable, but neither too dry nor too wet.


{NOTE: If your mixer is too small to hold this amount at one time, divide the recipe in half and only do half at a time. Afterwards you may combine both smaller doughs to make one large dough and then take challah off with a blessing. }


When done, separate challah with a brachah. Then transfer the dough to a very large, oiled bowl to rise, covered with plastic and a towel, for 45 minutes to an hour.

If the shaping will be done only much later on in the day or the next morning, grease your hands with oil, pat the dough all over and place it in a large garbage bag. Remove all air and seal it on top with a strong knot.

Place the dough in the fridge until ready for shaping.

Punch the dough down and then shape and bake as directed for regular white challahs.

Allow the shaped loaves to rise for 40 minutes or until they have doubled in bulk. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C while you prepare the challahs.

Brush the challahs with a beaten egg. Sprinkle on the seeds of choice. Slide the trays into your heated oven and bake until they are uniformly golden brown, about 35 – 40 minutes for larger challahs, less time for small rolls.

Allow them to rest on a wire rack to cool off completely. Then wrap them in good quality freezer bags and freeze until the day of use. To use, defrost several hours before you want to use them, and place them on your challah tray.

Tamar Ansh is an author, recipe developer and food columnist. Her articles have appeared in Jewish publications worldwide including Mishpacha Magazine, The Jewish Press,,, BinahMagazine, and her present food column at Hamodia Magazine and Newspaper.Her books include A Taste of Challah, a photographic guide to baking and shaping beautiful challahs; Let's Say Amen!, an illustrated children's book about the holiness of Amen, Splitting the Sea, inspirational stories on finding one’s soul-mate; Pesach – Anything's Possible! which offers over 350 luscious, Gluten free no-fail recipes designed for Pesach and all year 'round. All books are available from her website. Mrs. Ansh also speaks and gives demonstrations about challah baking, shaping, and the meaning behind the mitzvah of Challah. She has done countless demos at home gatherings, communal events, women's organizations, and bat mitzvah parties. She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for bookings and questions.

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Comments (1)

  • CookMama
    06 January 2011 at 20:44 |

    Thanks. I always wanted to know how to bake whole wheat challahs that taste soft and tasty. I will definitely try this recipe and give feedback. The picure looks delicious!

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