Kneading is deeply satisfying, and so is that first warm bite.
This challah bread smells fantastic.
And, since today is the release of Easy Dutch Oven Cooking, I thought, why not break some bread together?
You can bake this loaf on a baking sheet, but if you own a Dutch oven, there are many benefits to using it.
A Dutch oven is king for distributing heat evenly, and there are people who swear by Dutch ovens for baking everything from sourdough bread boules to Irish soda bread.
If you need a little convincing, try making this braided saffron challah recipe, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about:)
My amazing editor, Britt Bogan, passed along this glowing review from her colleague:
“The end result was INCREDIBLE. I’m saving the recipe forever.”Reina, Assistant Editor, Callisto Media
As you can see, you can curve the dough to fit any size or shape Dutch oven.
How to Make Challah Bread
Even if you’ve never made bread or challah, specifically, you should give this recipe a try! It’s easy enough, but just involves some patience as the dough takes time to rise between steps.
Step 1: Mix, Knead, and Rise.
You can mix and knead the dough by hand or use the dough hook and a stand mixer. For the best chewy texture, be sure to knead for at least 10 minutes to develop the gluten.
Allow the dough to rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in size.
Step 2: Second Rise.
Just fold the dough and re-cover. Allow to rise again until doubled in size.
Technique Tip: In the winter, move your dough on top of the refrigerator or in the kitchen, whichever is warmer to promote the development of the yeast.
Step 3: Preheat the Oven and Braid the Bread.
This is the fun part because you get to practice your braiding skills!
Roll into 3 equal ropes, approximately 2-by-20-inches long. Pinch at one end and weave the strands to form a thick loaf. Transfer the loaf to a parchment-lined Dutch oven or baking dish. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size.
Variation Tip: If you’re up for a challenge, follow my step-by-step guide for braiding the dough into 6 strands.
Step 4: Bake the Bread.
Remove the lid and bake for about 40 minutes or until a thermometer registers around 190°F (this is the minimum temperature for finished bread).
For a nice shiny crust, brush the egg wash over the loaf. Once coated, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds (optional) and return to the oven to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes — more or less, depending on how dark you want the color to be.
Cutting and Serving
I recommend fully allowing this bread to cool before slicing. Use a serrated bread knife to avoid smashing the loaf. Serve as-is or top with soft butter. Use challah for sandwiches, toast, or as a side for dinner.
Storing Leftover Challah
Once cooled, wrap the bread in plastic wrap or foil and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, slice and freeze in sealable plastic bags for up to 1 month. To defrost, place the sliced bread in the refrigerator overnight or toast until warmed through in a toaster.
If you’re challah dries out, I highly recommend making this challah french toast recipe with maple whipped cream. It’s the BEST thing since sliced bread:)
How to Season and Flavor the Bread Dough
Don’t have saffron? You can still make this recipe! Simply leave the saffron out or try adding whatever spices or seasoning you have on hand.
- Spices and Seeds: cinnamon, poppy, sesame, chia (add to the dough or add after the egg wash)
- Mix-ins: cheese, chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, pecans, pistachios (add up to 1/4 cup to the dough)
- Seasoning: bagel seasoning, Italian seasoning (sprinkle onto the egg wash at the end)
More Dutch Oven Recipes
- Roast Whole Chicken Over Radishes
- Rise-and-Shine Brandy Berry French Toast Casserole
- Red Wine-Poached Pears
- Tomato Braised Pork Ragu
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, please share how you got on in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what’s happening on The Frayed Apron.Print
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