The month of March was just not very productive for me in any segment of my life… After shredding a part of my finger early in the month, I didn’t have much desire to cook, bake or type. Lack of sunshine and warmth took its toll… I was so hoping for spring to come and all we got was snow and bitter cold. As I write this it’s still cold out, but the sun is shining, the trees and flowers are budding and it makes such a difference. I also took a few days off from work to spend with my family and to do the things I love – bake and paint.
I really missed getting my hands sticky with dough and having the aroma of fresh baked goods around the house. All I could think of was to bake something good, warm and familiar and nothing sounded better than this challah bread topped with poppy seeds. Every bakery in Bosnia sells this bread. Their sizes range anywhere from a small knot, to an individual size challah to a large family challah. For me, it is an essential part of a good breakfast! It can be eaten just plain or spread with butter, jam, honey, paté or anything you may like. It can be used for a sandwich or for the bread pudding. It looks great on a holiday table!
Poppy Seed Challah
- 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour (+ flour for kneading)
- 21 g (0.7 oz) fresh yeast
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 200 ml (3/4 cup + 2 TBSP) warm water
- 1 egg
- 50 ml (about 1/4 cup) sunflower or vegetable oil
- ½ TBSP salt
- Milk for brushing
- 2 TSBP poppy seeds
- Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Make a deep indent in flour, add 1 TBSP of sugar and crumble up the yeast. Lightly mixing by hand, add ¼ of the quantity of water. Mix only inside the indent, just to get a small ball of starter. Cover and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Combine the rest of the water with oil, egg and salt and stir well. Put the flour bowl back on the mixer and mixing at a slow speed start adding the liquid. Switch to medium speed setting and mix for about 3-, rest for about 3- and then mix for 3 more minutes.
- Dough will look nice and smooth. Cover it and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Lightly dust your working surface with flour and knead the dough by hand for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on what you want to make, a three- or four-strand challah.
- Shape each piece into a foot long strand. Transfer all the pieces onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Braid the strands to form a challah. Cover the bread and let it rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
- Brush the bread with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake at 200 C or 395 F for about 35-40 minutes or until challah gets a nice, golden-brown color.
***More about shaping a four-strand challah here.
36 thoughts on “Poppy Seed Challah”
what a gorgeous loaf! thanks for the step by step photos. I’ve been meaning to try and bake challah bread for a while now after reading your post I’ll have to try it!
Thanks very much! I hope you get to try it soon. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer. 🙂
This looks so warm and delicious! I love Challah with some room temperature butter in the morning…
Thank you Marina! I am with you about butter and challah for breakfast! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Sibella, you are the second of my food blogging friends to have had a serious finger accident. So sorry you had to suffer through that. Your Poppy Seed Challah bread is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Thank you Kathleen! I had a lot of fun making it and having no pain in my finger feels so good! I am back in business, LOL. 😀
This is such good bread. I have made it for a long time Great toasted too
Thanks Debbie! I know you’ve been making it, I have to try your version! 🙂
This turned out just perfect for your Easter dinner. I am so sorry to read that you’d injured yourself.. how awful! I am so glad you’re feeling better and have your hands back in dough again!! xx
Thank you Barb! We had this challah for our Easter breakfast and it was to die for! It’s good to be back! I will be more careful next time… 🙂
Welcome back, I missed you! Your challah looks gorgeous – this one one of my favorite breads. So pretty and so tasty! Nothing like baking bread to make you feel better about life, right?
Thank you Korena! It’s good to be back! Now I have to catch up on all good foods that everyone’s been making. 🙂 And YES, I wholeheartedly agree – making bread definitely makes me feel better about life! 🙂 ❤
So sorry about your injury but happy that you’re bouncing back after a trying month. Your challah is beautiful!
Thank you so much! 🙂
Welcome back…very sorry to hear of your injury. Having your hands back in the dough must be real therapy as your challah is picture perfect.
Hi Karen! Thank you and yes, it feels so good to be able to bake again! 🙂
Beautiful challah, and your braiding technique is exceptionally great!
I am so sorry about your injury, and do hope everything is well now!
You bought me with poppy seed, I absolutely love everything with them 🙂 A wonderful loaf of bread!!
Thanks Tanja, everything is well now! I love just about everything with poppy seeds as well, be it a topping or a filling! Yum! 😉
So sorry to hear about your shredded finger – ouch! Glad you’re getting your hands sticky with dough – that bread looks divine! ❤
Thank you so much Stacy! Baking feels so good after a long break! 🙂
Sibella I don’t know what I love better your beautiful painting or your challah bread they are both very stunning. I know the agony with your finger. I could not get my finger wet for a month, 2 visits to urgent care as could not get it to stop bleeding. However, just yesterday, I got right back at it and used the evil mandolin to make my veggie crisps. I was so nervous I was almost shuddering but I had to beat my fear.
Hi Bobby! Thanks so much! I didn’t end up going to the doctor, but I had a hard time to stop the bleeding too and it was so darn painful. I started using my mandolin too, but I am very, very careful and always feel uneasy when I hold it in my hands.
Your step by step photos are beautiful. Really lovely. I hope you are healing well and I’m sure the time off from work spent with your family was just what was needed.
Thank you Allison! I am all well and I had a great time with my family! Can’t really ask for more. 🙂
Stay happy and enjoy the spring! This winter was just too long for everybody. I enjoy your writing and your pictures a lot Awesome blog! Sretno!
Ankica, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! 🙂 Hvala ti od srca!
The bread is beautiful The painting is gorgeous! It reminds me of a photo image I have of a duck in flight. So nice to have you back baking and writing.
Thank you very much Darryl! 🙂
Ah, I wish I had the baking talent that you have. Gorgeous loaves… actually, everything you bake looks like it’s come from a bread shop! You have a very lucky family. I’m looking forward to trying some of your methods to see whether I have any better results (I’ve experienced very mixed results with bread. So frustrating). Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks so much for your kind words! 🙂 Baking takes a lot of time and practice. I have failed many times and my baking ended up in trash… 😀 Keep working on it and if you need any advice I would be more than happy to help!
So glad to have you visit. I loved what I saw here but I was secretly taking time out from uni work so I didn’t manage to comment much 🙂 I love the idea of challah and have been wanting to make it since forever ago. You’ve really inspired me to make it REALLY soon 🙂
mmm, pletenica or makovnjaca I can smell your picture! I need a gluten free version of this recipe but I don’t think it would taste the same
Thank you Jas! Gluten free is definitely healthier, I still haven’t worked up the courage to try gluten free baking… You can always try to substitute ingredients and see how it turns out.
My friend April at glutenfreezen.com has some great gluten free recipes. 🙂
thanks! I spent a whole evening browsing through her bread recipes and can’t wait to make her French bread 🙂
I am sure you will do great! 🙂