Braided Loaf

This sweet, delicious, soft-textured, deeply colored bread started with the intent of making Challah. However, as fate would have it, I found an opened strawberry yogurt drink in my refrigerator that I needed to find a use for.

Traditional Challah does not include any dairy, even in the form of butter. As a result, I have refrained from calling this bread Challah. If you replace the dairy with water in this recipe you’ll get a traditional Challah that you can be proud of. Using Mollie Katzen’s recipe for Challah as my guideline, I came up with this unorthodox version.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients for bread

  • 8-9 cups unbleached flour – I ended up using close to 9 cups
  • 2 1/2 cups flavored yogurt and milk mixture at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon yeast – I upped the yeast knowing that the yogurt and milk would retard rising
  • 1/2 cup honey or sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • *2 eggs – Replace with 6 tablespoons of Aquafaba to make this recipe Vegan
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins – optional
  • **1/4 cup chia seed – optional

glaze and topping

  • *1 egg, well beaten – Repalce with Aquafaba or oil to make this recipe Vegan
  • poppy seed or sesame seed – optional


1.Measure out the yeast and add it to a large bowl.

2. Add the milk/yogurt or water to the bowl.

3. Add the honey/sugar.

4. Mix and let rest until the yeast blooms.

5. Add the Chia Seed and the salt.

6. Measure out the oil and add the eggs. Whisk well and add to yeast mixture. – Replace the eggs with 6 tablespoons of Aquafaba to make this recipe Vegan.

At this point, I had made a mistake because the recipe called for a total of 3 eggs and I wrongly assumed that all three were used in the dough. This teaches me not to read to the end!

Luckily, I got the extra egg out by scooping out one of the yolks and the white came out with it as well. Whew!

I now know that it is possible to correct this error in case I make the mistake of not reading the recipe completely before starting. Lesson learned!

7. Using a whisk, add flour one cup at a time. If you wish to add raisins, do so after you add 3-4 cups.

8. Switch to a wooden spoon after 4 cups. Mix the last 2 cups with your hands until the dough is looses most of its tackiness. I used almost 9 cups in total.

9. I kept the dough a little sticky because the Chia absorbs water from the dough. If you choose not to add the Chia, add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it loses its tackiness.

10. Let dough rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

11. Punch it down, knead it for 5 minutes. Divide dough in half and break each half into thirds yielding six softball-sized balls on a lightly floured surface.

12. Roll each ball into a rope with a 1 1/2-inch diameter.

13. Line up three of the ropes and starting forming a braid as shown in the pictures below. Pinch the ends together and tuck them into the bottom of the loaf.

14. Place each braid diagonally on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You can also just lightly oil the cookie sheets and place the braid diagonally across.

15. Cover the cookie sheets with a dishcloth and let the dough come to a second rise. This will take between 40 minutes to an hour.

16. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

17. After the second rise, use a pastry brush to glaze the braids with the egg. Brush oil or Aquafaba on instead to make this recipe Vegan. Sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if using.

18. Bake for 40 minutes or until the bottom of the bread sounds hollow. I took my bread out 10 minutes early because it got dark quickly (thanks to the sugars in the dairy), but a gentle tapping on the bottom indicated that the bread was not yet firm and hollow. I continued to bake for the remaining 10 minutes.

These loaves will double in size when they bake so it is best not to crowd them together.

19. Remove loaves from the oven and quickly transfer them to cooling racks.

20. Let cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into them.

Note: * Aquafaba is the viscous liquid that is found in a can of beans i.e. Chickpeas, White Navy beans, Black beans, etc.. It imitates the properties of egg whites and is used to make Vegan mayonnaise, merengues, and marshmallows. Leftover water from cooked beans is Aquafaba as well. White Navy beans have a milder flavor than Chickpeas and can be used in recipes where you want a more delicate flavor. Use 3 tablespoons of Aquafaba in place of a whole egg, or 2 tablespoons of Aquafaba to replace the eggwhite only.

**I try to add nutritional ingredients to my recipes for health reasons. I know that the omega-3 fatty acids in the chia will deteriorate in the oven, but I have hope that some of Chia’s health benefits will remain intact.

Chia is a superfood as it is rich in antioxidants, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and is high in fiber, calcium, and iron.

Written by Anju Kapur of Anju’s Table. All content and images on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without my permission. Should you wish to share this recipe on your site, please add a link to this post as the source.

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