Saffron Challah

Recipe by DrGaellon
READY IN: 6hrs
YIELD: 3 loaves


  • 6 12
    cups bread flour (900 grams)
  • 1 14
    cups water (300 g, see instructions)
  • 2 38
    teaspoons instant yeast (7.4 g, about 1 packet)
  • 1
    tablespoon table salt (scant, 17 g, if using kosher salt, double it)
  • 18
    teaspoon saffron
  • 14
    cup granulated sugar (51g)
  • 4
    egg yolks
  • 2
    whole eggs
  • 5
    tablespoons vegetable oil (or other neutral oil, 68g)
  • 1
    egg, for egg wash
  • 1
    teaspoon water, for egg wash


  • Crush the saffron in a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with the back of a spoon. Add 3/4 c boiling water, stir, and let cool to room temperature. Add 1/2 c ice water.
  • Combine saffron and water with remaining dough ingredients in work bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook in place. Stir on low until well combined, about 3 minutes; dough will be very stiff. Increase speed to medium and knead until gluten is well-developed, about 5 minutes, depending on your mixer.
  • Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for one hour, then punch down. Allow to rise for a second hour.
  • Lightly flour the counter and turn out the dough. Divide dough into three equal pieces; cover the unworked pieces with a damp towel.
  • For a Sabbath loaf, divide the working piece in three or six, and braid. For a High Holidays loaf, roll the dough into a long taper (36"), then coil. Alternatively, form into two tapered strands (24" each), twist together, then coil to form a rosette. See the link referenced in the head note for pictures. Form the remaining loaves.
  • Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Beat the remaining 1 egg with 1 tsp water. Brush this onto the loaves. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature 1.5-2 hours, until the dough springs back slowly when poked.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 380°F When fully proofed, brush loaves with a second coating of egg wash and place in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until crust is dark, shiny brown. Cool on a wire rack.