Chocolate Challah: Traditional Sabbath Bread, With a Twist!

Challah is a type of braided bread that is specially prepared and eaten on holidays and sabbath. It is made by forming the dough into separate strands and then weaving them together to form the trademark interlocked and woven look. There are several ways to shape, flavor, and finish a Challah loaf, but for ours, we will be doing a basic Challah bun with cocoa powder and brown sugar!



  • 1 3/4 cups Warm Water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 packages Active dry yeast
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Butter, Melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 7 1/2 - 8 cups bread flour, or, 8 - 8 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, used to brush bread after baking
  • 1 tablespoon water, also used to brush bread after baking
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours 30 min
Cook time: 40 min
Ready in: 3 hours 10 min
Yields: 3 Loaves, 36 Slices
Step 1
Step 1 | Source
  1. Mix together 1 3/4 cups warm water with brown sugar and yeast in large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.
Cocoa Powder with flour.
Cocoa Powder with flour. | Source
Kneaded dough
Kneaded dough | Source
Size of the greased bowl we used!
Size of the greased bowl we used! | Source

2. After 10 minutes, stir in four eggs, melted butter and salt. Mix two cups of flour with half cup of cocoa powder in separate bowl, then gradually add to yeast mixture. Continue to add remaining six cups of flour, gradually.

3. Move dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough with remaining flour until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape dough into ball and place in lightly greased bowl. Turn dough in the bowl to grease entire surface of dough.

Covered bowl
Covered bowl | Source

4. Cover and let rise in a warm place until about double size, this takes about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

5. Stick finger into the middle of the dough to make sure it's ready. It should leave about a half inch indentation and stay. Then roll out onto lightly floured surface and divide into 3 portions. Then put back under cover and let rise for 10 minutes while you lightly grease a large baking sheet.

Dough braid using three ropes!
Dough braid using three ropes! | Source

6. Take one portion, and divide into 3, 24inch long braids. Braid these three ropes. Each set of three ropes makes one braided loaf. So 9 ropes makes 3 loaves, exact recipe specification!

Refer to the video for a quick and simple demonstration on braiding and shaping the loaf. Keep in mind that the video is mirrored, so flip her sides when she says the right and left!

Braiding Demonstration

Egg brush
Egg brush | Source
Brushed right before put in the oven.
Brushed right before put in the oven. | Source

7. After braiding, roll into spiral shape to form the bun. Then cover and let rise again for another 30 minutes.

8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven is preheating, combine 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the braids before putting them in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Right out of the oven
Right out of the oven | Source

9. Tap the loaf lightly, if it sounds hollow it's done! Remove immediately and cool. Impress your friends and family with your beautiful baking skills!

Finished Challah!
Finished Challah! | Source

There you have it! We hope this works out as well for you as it did for us! Try topping your bread with cinnamon and sugar to give it a little more zing for those with a sweet tooth! Ours taste's just like the bread from Outback Steakhouse, so if you try this recipe, comment with how yours turned out! Thanks for reading and good luck!

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 Slice
Calories 113
Calories from Fat27
% Daily Value *
Fat 3 g5%
Saturated fat 1 g5%
Carbohydrates 19 g6%
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 3 g6%
Cholesterol 27 mg9%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
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