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Sourdough Challah

5 from 22 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 50 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 131
This naturally leavened challah is simply delicious.



  • 30 grams ripe, acive starter (refreshed 6-10 hours earlier)
  • 100 grams water (filtered at room temperature)
  • 80 grams bread flour


  • All of the levain
  • 26 grams warm water
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 43 grams neutral oil such as sunflower (grapeseed, sunflower, canola, vegetable)
  • 50 grams honey
  • 283 grams bread flour
  • 8 grams fine sea salt
  • 1 egg (for egg wash; for a deeper colored exterior, use just the yolk)


  • Levain. In the bowl of an electric mixing bowl, combine starter, water and flour until flour is fully absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature 8-12 hours.
  • Dough. Add the water, yolks, oil, honey and flour to the starter. Knead for 5 minutes on a medium speed. Slowly add in the salt. Knead for an additional 3 minutes. The dough should pass the windowpane test. Place dough in a large, ungreased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature 4-6 hours.
  • Shape. Weigh the dough and divide into three equal parts for 1 large, three braided challah, or divide into two equal portions for two smaller challah. Further divide each portion into the number of strands you be making for each braid. Shape each portion into long strands and braid as desired. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 5 hours. The dough will not double in size, but it will increase in volume and look slightly puffy. You will know it’s ready to be baked by impressing a finger slightly into the dough. If the impression comes back most of the way, you are ready to bake. If it bounces back fully, it is over-proofed and should go into the oven immediately.
  • Preheat. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Bake. Apply egg wash. Sprinkle challah with any toppings, if using. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and sides.


For additional flavor, when mixing the dough, decrease the bread flour to 233 grams and add either 50 grams of rye flour or 50 grams of whole wheat flour. (If adding whole wheat, you may not get a full windowpane when kneading the dough, as the whole grain tends to break the gluten structure, so be careful not over-knead.)
Calories: 131kcal
Course: Bread, Breakfast, brunch, dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Keyword: levain, naturally leavened, sourdough, starter


Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 32mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 64IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg