Rich and sweet challah

by Leah Halmagyi


  • 1kg baker’s flour
  • 20g instant dried yeast
  • 325ml water
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 20g fine salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 10g poppyseeds


1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Combine 250g flour with the yeast and water in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 5 minutes, until very thick. Cover with cling film and set aside for 1½ hours, until the mixture has risen and collapsed.
2 Add the sugar, salt, 4 eggs, yolks, oil, vanilla and remaining flour, then beat with the dough hook on low speed for 10 minutes, until very smooth. Transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with cling film, then refrigerate overnight.
3 Divide into 12 even pieces, then roll each out to form a log 45cm long. Braid into a 6-part plait*, then arrange on lined oven trays. Cover and set aside to proof until the dough no longer springs back when touched (about 1½ hours). Brush with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until deep brown. Cool on a wire rack.