Make Sour Cream Challah Like Mom

May  7, 2015

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: In one 4-minute video, KatieQ’s mom gives us so many helpful, poignant tidbits on baking challah.


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You know someone is an expert in the kitchen when she knows exactly what 1 teaspoon of salt looks like in her hand—and KatieQ’s mom knows. Watch as KatieQ interviews her mom about making sour cream challah step-by-step. The bread comes together so naturally in her mom’s hands that we think she might be a bread whisperer. And it’s obvious that she takes great pleasure in making it: “Certain people just do things that are comforting, centering activities, and I would say bread baking is one of those activities for me.”

What's your go-to bread recipe? Do you have any particular breadmaking tips to share?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Paula Chan
    Paula Chan
  • CHeeb
  • Indigo1969
  • csegher
  • Gal
Jaime Brockway

Written by: Jaime Brockway

Polenta, mac and cheese, farmers' market breakfasts, smoky food & drink. These are a few of my favorite things. I was an editorial intern @Food52 in 2015!


Paula C. March 17, 2016
You can watch the video and find the recipe below it here:
CHeeb June 15, 2015
Made this for a St Anne's Guild dinner and there was not a bite left. Huge hit ...many thanks...ch
Indigo1969 May 23, 2015
can you make only with egg whites. allergic to egg yolks
csegher May 21, 2015
Made it, loved it! Was easy with practice hope my braid gets prettier. Thank you for sharing!
Gal May 8, 2015
Thank you JC! (And thank you Katie for posting on You Tube as well)
JC May 8, 2015
If you go to the video on You Tube, the recipe is written out in the area below (click on "show more"). You'll want a 1/2C of warm water for the yeast.
Find video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhPEFN0Ubro
Susan S. May 8, 2015
Where's the recipe? Please write it down for us! That challah looks delicious!
Gal May 8, 2015
I too couldn't find the recipe so I wrote it down from what was explained in the video. The video is wonderful and very clear with the directions. The only thing I'm missing is how much water I need for the yeast (Step 1).
Here goes:

Sour Cream Challah / Recipe of KatieQ’s mom

1) In a large bowl let 2 packets of active dry yeast (=2 ¾ teaspoons) sit in warm water for 5 minutes.
2) In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
In another bowl combine one stick of softened butter with one cup of sour cream and ½ cup of sugar. Stir well.
3) The yeast is ready now, so add the eggs and stir well. Then add the sour cream mixture. Mix well.
4) Add the flour (In the video we see KatieQ’s mom using king arthur bread flour). It will be about 4 cups total but add about 1 cup of the flour first and then add 1 teaspoon of salt. Then slowly add the rest of the flour.
5) As you mix you will see that the dough starts to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl and now it’s time to start kneading.
6) Slightly flour your surface and use the palm of your hand. When it gets sticky add a little bit more flour. Basically fold the dough over on itself. It’s a smooth motion. Don’t dig your fingers into the dough.
7) You know you have kneaded long enough when it’s velvety smooth and when you push on it, it springs back up. This tells you the yeast is active.
8) In a clean bowl, put some Canola oil, put the dough in and turn it over once so it’s well coated in the oil. Cover with a towel and let rise for an hour and a half.
It should about double its volume. Once that time has passed, punch that dough down and then shape it. (KatieQ’s mom favorite is a braid).
9) Cover again and let it rise for another ½ hour to 45 minutes.
10) Before the bread goes into the oven make your egg wash. In a small bowl mix together 1 tbsp water with an egg white until its frothy then brush it on to the dough. Sprinkle poppy seeds on top and put in the oven for 35 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Rotating and switching half way through.

Susan S. May 8, 2015
Thanks Gal. That is very helpful (our internet is slow today and the video kept stuttering, so I didn't have the patience to do what you did). When making regular challah, I use ¾ c water for that amount of yeast, 2 eggs and 4 c of flour. But it seems to me that the addition of the wet sour cream would necessitate a smaller amount of water. Maybe KatieQ will let us know.
Gal May 7, 2015
This looks wonderful! One question: 2 packets of yeast should sit in warm water for 5 minutes. Could you let me know how many cups of water?
Gal May 8, 2015
Mystery solved it's 1/2 cup water.