Posted by: lifewithbs | February 1, 2010

No-Knead Challah

Brett LOVES french toast. Supposedly, the “best french toast ever” is at La Madeline, which happens to be right down the street from our apartment. Convenient, yes, but it’s also kind of expensive. So, I’ve been trying to re-create it at home and while mine may never be as good as La Madeline’s, it’s cheaper, possibly healthier, and still pretty tasty!

I’ve read that challah bread is the best french toast bread, so when I saw this no-knead recipe I had to give it a try.

No-Knead Challah

recipe halved from the one on the kitchn, originally adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Makes two 1 pound loaves

7/8 cup lukewarm water

1 packet of rapid rise or instant yeast

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup butter, melted

3.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with the water in a large bowl or lidded food container.

Mix in the flour, without kneading. You may use a spoon (my method) a 14-cup capacity food processor with a dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer, with a dough hook. Hopefully, after the wedding we’ll be able to make bread with a kitchen aid mixer… 😉

Maybe I should have mixed the dough better, who knows. The recipe said not to knead so I didn’t want to over-do it!

Cover (but not airtight) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses. This should take approximately 2 hours.

My dough didn’t seem to rise much, but there were a bunch of little bubbles that could be seen through the bottom of the glass bowl, so I figured it had to have worked at least a little. Maybe it would have risen more if I had mixed it better?

So, at this point you can use the dough immediately, or you can put it in the fridge and let it sit for up to 5 days. I kept mine in the bowl, covered it with plastic wrap, poked a few holes in the plastic with a fork (so it wasn’t airtight) and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

When you’re ready to bake the bread, butter or grease a cookie sheet, or line it with parchment paper. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut it in half.

Shape each half into a round.

Now you are supposed to braid the dough. I decided to experiment and shape one half into a regular looking loaf, and braid the other.

In order to braid, divide the round into 3 equal pieces. You’ll see mine aren’t quite equal, but it didn’t make much of a difference. Roll each piece between your hands while stretching to form a long thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, allow it to rest for 5 minutes and then try again.

Braid the ropes, starting from the center, and working to one end.

Rotate the loaf and braid it out from the center to the other end. Tuck the ends underneath.  According to the recipe, this method produces a loaf with a more uniform thickness, than when braided from end to end.

Pretty! I have to say, I was kind of impressed with myself at this point.

Next, allow the bead to rest and rise on the prepared cookie sheet for an hour and 20 minutes, or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, non-fridge dough.

After the rise, I was convinced this was going to be ‘failure bread’, because it didn’t rise at ALL! Thankfully, the oven worked its magic and the bread turned out well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 5 minutes before baking, brush the loaves with the egg wash and sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds on, if desired. The egg wash makes the finished loaves look all pretty and shiny.

Bake near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. The challah is done when golden brown, and when the braids near the center of the loaf offer resistance to pressure.

It turns out that challah is braided for a reason! The ‘regular’ loaf looked like a big egg, but they both tasted delicious – and made excellent french toast.


  1. You make amazing french toast!

  2. I want to come over for breakfast! You will love your future kitchen mixer! 🙂

    • Kel, I wish you lived close enough to come over for breakfast all the time! I can’t wait to have a kitchen aid mixer… did you guys get one?

      • My co-workers all pitched in for a kitchen aid mixer as a wedding present for me. Definitely the best tool to have in the kitchen! I’m glad you have it on your registry with all the cooking you’ve been doing.

        I wish I lived close enough for breakfast too. Will we ever be neighbors again? Ahh…those were the days! xo Miss you!

  3. nice bread! the braid is impressive

  4. Hey Sarah, your bread looks great

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