How does water challah differ from traditional challah? Water challah is lighter, less dense, and not at all sweet. It typically contains no egg or sweetener (save a tiny bit to help the yeast do its job). People love it for its crunchy exterior and savory taste - perfect for dipping in matbucha, baba ganoush, hummus, and other Shabbat dips or salads.


  • 1.25 lbs (570 grams) flour
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ½ tbsp kosher salt


  • Oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame or poppy seeds


NOTE: This recipe yields 2 loaves and does not use enough flour to take challah with a blessing. This recipe can be easily multiplied; if you multiply by 4 you will be using 5 lbs. of flour, which is enough to do the mitzvah.

  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on slow until dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and let the mixer knead the dough for 10 - 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the dough from the mixer and form into a ball. Coat lightly with oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour.
  3. Divide and braid the dough as desired. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Brush the loaves with a beaten egg (I used egg white only, which is why my challahs are rather pale) and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Cover gently and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover tray and transfer to the oven. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 45 minutes.
  6. Optional: For an extra crisp crust, place a pan of water on the bottom of the oven when you put in the challah. This will create steam in the oven that adds a great crust.

Yields: 2 loaves