Heirloom Recipes

This Challah Was On My Grandmother's Table Every Friday Night

March  1, 2018

Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature—this special challah comes from longtime Food52er MrsWheelbarrow.

At my grandmother's house, challah was on the table at every Friday night for Sabbath dinner. For years, her mother-in-law, my great-grandmother Nana, made the bread. When she turned 90, she flat out refused to ever make it again.

We had store-bought challah for a few months until I convinced Nana to show me how to create her exceptional challah. It's still the only challah I make, it's so totally dependable.

Photo by Jenny Huang

Novice bakers should know that it's a wet dough. Sticky, unruly, and challenging, until you let it rest and hydrate and firm up, and then it's glorious. This challah rewards patience.

Shop the Story

Even though I have made challah for decades now, I'm still working to master the 6-strand braid. I've never really managed to make a round loaf look like it should, but the flavor of this sweet, eggy, light-textured bread covers for even the humblest looking loaf.

In the last few years, I've been making three 3-strand braided loaves from this one recipe for smaller loaves fit for a household of two. It's fabulous as french toast, egg-in-the-hole, and in my vegetarian Thanksgiving stuffing. Also, this bread freezes really well as an entire loaf, wrapped in foil and tucked into a zip-top bag. To thaw, remove the bread from the bag and defrost the foil-wrapped loaf overnight on the counter.

Do you have a favorite recipe in our archives that you think deserves a turn in the spotlight? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nancy
  • HalfPint
  • MrsWheelbarrow
Four cookbooks. 100s of recipes online. It all started with Food52


Nancy March 2, 2018
Same as HalfPint...good to see you around/back.
Also, this is a lovely story. Have saved your challah recipe and will make it ;)
HalfPint March 1, 2018
@MrsWheelbarrow, it's so good to see your name again :)
MrsWheelbarrow March 1, 2018
Thank you! Good to see you, too! I've been around... mostly writing a cookbook due in October (Pie Squared) and another one coming out next fall (When Pies Fly.)