Making homemade challah is something I do almost every week. There’s nothing I like more than making yeast dough, braid it and serve it for my family. Warm, fresh challah is a treat I simply cannot resist, and it’s been a tradition in our family for years.
This challah is unique in flavor and so fragrant. It’s made with olive oil and Za’atar, which is a Mediterranean dried herb, very common here, and it’s simply delicious. I like to serve it with some fresh ricotta cheese and some carrot and cucumber sticks.
Za’atar and Olive Oil Challah
For the challah dough:
- 500 grams (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 10 grams (2 tsp.) gluten powder optional
- 10 grams (2 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 50 ml. (3 tbsp. + 1 tsp.) olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 10 grams (1 tbsp.) salt
- 200-240 ml. (about 1 cup) water gradually added
For the filling:
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp. zaatar
- 1 beaten egg
In a mixer bowl with dough hook place flour, gluten powder, yeast, honey, olive oil, egg, egg yolk, salt and about 200 ml. of water and knead for about 12-15 minutes until smooth, silky dough is obtained. If the dough seems dry while kneading, gradually add some more water.
Form a ball shape of the dough, put in a large bowl, cover and allow rising for about 1-2 hours or until the volume is doubled.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll each one into a rectangle of about 3-4 mm thick.
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on each rectangle, sprinkle with za'atar in a uniform layer and roll into a tight roll.
Cut the roll lengthwise into 2 parts and braid them together. Place the braid in a well-greased Kegelhof pan.
Repeat with the second part of the dough and the remaining filling.
Cover the challahs and allow rising for about 40-60 minutes until almost doubled in volume.
Gently brush the challahs with beaten egg.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Bake the challahs for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and set.
Cover the hot challahs with a towel, cool completely and serve.
- Keep the challahs at room temperature, well wrapped for up to two days.
- If desired, it is possible to freeze the challahs, wrapped neatly for up to a month.
- The water should be added to the dough gradually, until the dough is soft but not too sticky.