Lubavitcher No Fail Challah Bread


3 packages of yeast
3 1/2 cups of warm water
1 1/2 cups of honey
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
13 cups of flour
6 Eggs slightly beaten
1 cup of Oil (I used regular olive oil)


Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add honey, salt and slowly mix in half the flour. In another bowl add oil than add one egg at a time and beat well. Slowly stir in oil and egg mixture. Slowly add the rest of the flour.
When the dough begins to pull away from the bowl remove it to kneed on a floured for approximately 10 minutes. Lightly oil your bowl and cover to rise for at least 1 hour somewhere warm.
Repeat the kneading process for another 10 minutes, cover and let rise until dough has doubled in a lightly oiled bowl. Repeat this process for at least another turn.
Divide the dough. Now according to my grandmother’s instructions it should make two loaves but I found it made 3 extremely large loaves. So large in fact that I could easily have divided the dough into six loaves. I can do the six string braid but its too hard a process to explain without visual aids so I suggest you divide your loaves into either 3 or 6 portions. Take one portion and divide into three. Roll the out each piece so you have three strings of equal length, start in the middle braid together, tuck in the ends under and repeat the process from the other side.
Now brush an eye wash (1 egg beaten with a ¼ cup of water) over the top of the braided dough. Place on a flat cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes and then pull out bread and quickly brush with egg wash again. Bake for approximately for another 15 minutes or until the bread rings hollow when you knock on it.




I have carried around my grandmother’s recipe for challah bread for years and never attempted it. It is so old that it might possibly be written on goatskin and she’s titled it the Lubavitcher Never Fail Challah. The thing is I don’t remember her every baking bread. She could wipe up a pie crust for meat pies or pizza dough but that’s as far as I can recall her venturing into baking.

She was a wonderful cook and usually only had to taste something once to figure out what the ingredients were and knew instinctively not only how to cook it but how to improve on the recipe. I am a fairly decent cook and while I have some of her aptitude I have yet to come close to venturing into her league.

I had a few brief forays into baking with mix to muddling results. I can make decent biscuits and divine cornbread but my biggest disaster were always went I took a chance on following a yeast bread recipe. I wrote off baking as just one of those things which one should never mix together – me and yeast.

I am not sure what made me finally take another chance on yeast bread recipes but I find it increasingly difficult to buy challah bread in the downtown core. Every other kind of bread but challah. I suppose its just fallen out of fashion with the flavour of the downtown east side. My son works at a bakery goods deli at the St. Lawrence market but the challah has usually sold out long before he arrives at work from school. I could travel to buy it but I don’t have an extra two hours to spare to just buy a few loaves of challah every week.

Anyway, I decided I would dig out my grandmother’s recipe and give it a chance. Call it a miracle but it worked – even if I did have to look up how to make an eyewash….like I said I don’t have much experience other than bad when it comes to yeast breads. It wasn’t as hard as I thought and the beauty of the situation was that the boys gorged themselves with fresh challah and honey and didn’t want more than a ‘light’ supper for dinner.


3 large braided loaves


Sunday, December 20, 2009 - 6:46am

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