My first challah. Whole wheat flour and a 5-strand braid.
My first challah. Whole wheat flour and a 5-strand braid.

I’ve been getting into baking bread lately and a few days ago made my first challah. I thought it would be nice to try to make, since I love to eat it so much, but I figured the braiding might be too difficult so never mind. But that was just the laziness talking, and after overcoming the monumental task of typing “bread braiding techniques” into a search engine, I was well on my way to cracking the mystery of the 5-strand challah.

I was inspired by a video on braiding techniques made by The Bread Kitchen. Titli Nihaan’s tutorial was fascinating and helpful, and along with her charming accent and encouraging attitude, I felt ready to try it ASAP.

With help from The Bread Kitchen's video, I did a 5-strand braid!
With help from The Bread Kitchen’s video, I did a 5-strand braid!

I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour called Millie’s Whole Wheat Challah. I love the comments on this website, and the fact that the KAF staff writes comments back. I followed the advice of Rachel from Oberlin, OH (second comment from the top) to give it a rest before adding the salt and kneading. Like her, I also used a bit less flour than called for. I used all whole wheat flour, rather than the combination of whole wheat and unbleached bread flour that the recipe calls for.

whole wheat challah 5 strand braid
This loaf did not last long in my kitchen.

Overall it was fun, easy, and tasted great. It’s not as dense as I thought it would be after using all whole wheat flour. The challah flavor is definitely there, and it is still chewy and soft. It is thicker and a bit heavier than normal challah, but it didn’t turn out as the whole-wheat brick that I was slightly afraid of seeing at the end of the process. But then again, even a brick would taste half decent if you put enough butter on it đŸ™‚

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