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Round Challah for a Sweet New Year

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9/17/20 Please see my NEW Apple Challah recipe with my preferred, updated challah dough plus a great way of making a beautiful round New Year’s braid:


Round Challah is a traditional sweet bread, served on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the cycle of life and a sweet new year.

Cinnamon Raisin Challah

A few years ago, I was blown away by my cousin Carla’s homemade honey and raisin challah at our holiday celebration.

Orna and Sam with Carla

Orna and Sam with Cousin Carla

September, 2011

You probably already know that I have a thing for bread. I also have a major thing for challah. And topped with cinnamon sugar?! You’ve got to be kidding me!

But how could I possibly make this incredible loaf myself? 

Carla agreed to come over the next day and show me how it was done—removing the fear factor, and sparking my love for baking any kind of bread.

Well, truthfully, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yeast, which is why I’ve included step-by-step details, so that even if you’ve never used yeast before, you can do this! And most importantly, enjoy the process. The instructions below are for kneading in a stand mixer, or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with some elbow grease.

On her next visit from Vancouver, Carla surprised me with my very own copy of The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz, where she found this wonderful recipe.

New Food Processor Bible

Highly Recommend!

Both of these kind, generous bakers have inspired and encouraged me, and I hope to do the same for you!

A special thank you goes out to Norene and friends in Norene’s Kitchen on Facebook for answering all my questions! Carla’s always getting on my back to be more “relaxed” and just enjoy cooking—but I’m sure that if I have all these questions and issues, someone out there does too, so here’s hoping that I’m making the process a little easier and less daunting.

There’s no sweeter way to bring in the New Year than breaking fresh, homemade Challah with your family.

Chag Sameach from our family to yours.




What you will need 

Round Challah Ingredients

Bubbled up yeast

Yeast Bubbled Up

Make a well in the flour

Well in flour 

Add the oil, eggs, water, salt, honey, and yeast mixture

Add ingredients to the well 

Mix with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth

Mix with paddle 

Knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky

Soft and Sticky dough 

Place in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to grease the top

Place in large oiled bowl

Cover and place in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 1 – 2 1/2 hours until doubled in size (or refrigerate overnight)

Round challah dough doubled

Dough has doubled in size when you lightly poke two fingers into it and the indent doesn’t come right back out

Two fingers in raisin dough

Roll into a long rope, about 32 inches long

Long challah rope

Taper the ends a little, making the middle a little fatter

Taper the ends

Coil up loosely like a snail

Coil up loosely like a snail

Transfer to prepared baking sheet; tuck end under and pinch to secure

Transfer to baking sheet

Cover loosely and set in a warm place for about one hour until doubled in size

Cover loosely and rise again

Brush gently all over with egg wash

Brush Challah with Egg Wash

Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar

Sprinkle challah with cinnamon sugar

Bake 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown; an instant read thermometer should register 190 degrees F

Challah with instant read thermometer

Cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly

Cover challah loosely with foil 

Transfer parchment immediately to wire rack to cool completely 

Transfer parchment to wire rack

Cool Tools

  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Silicon Pastry Brush
  • Parchment Sheets
  • Cuisinart 5 1/2 Quart Stand Mixer
  • Roul’Pat Baking Mat


The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz

The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Round Cinnamon Raisin Challah



  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 7 g active dry yeast 1/4 oz packet Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil for greasing bowl
  • ¼ - ½ cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups bread flour plus more if needed
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glaze
  • cinnamon sugar: 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup raisins optional


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Stir yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar into 1/4 cup warm water—like very warm bath water; 100 - 110 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Set aside for 8 - 10 minutes until foamy.
  • Meanwhile, put 3 cups of flour in the bowl of your stand mixer, and make a well in the center. Add oil, eggs, honey, salt, and 1/4 cup lukewarm water. (Have an additional 1/4 cup of lukewarm water standing by.) Add yeast mixture and mix on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth.
  • Scrape the paddle and the bowl and change to the dough hook. The dough should be soft and a little sticky. If the dough is too dry and the flour isn't getting incorporated, add a little more warm water. If the dough is too wet and sticky and doesn't form a ball that cleans the sides of the bowl, add a tablespoon more flour at a time until fully incorporated. Don't add too much flour or your dough will be heavy. Scrape the dough from the bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Once the dough forms a loose ball around the hook, increase speed (Cuisinart #3) and knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Knead in the raisins, 1/4 cup at a time, until evenly distributed.
  • Pour about a teaspoon of oil into a large bowl and wipe with a paper towel to distribute evenly.
  • Remove dough from mixing bowl and fold over to form a ball. If necessary, knead the dough a couple of times on the counter to smooth it out. Place in the greased bowl and turn once to oil the top.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 - 2 hours until doubled in size; you can tell by lightly poking 2 fingers into it and it doesn't spring right back.
  • Punch down the dough by plunging your fist into the center, and then fold the outside edges into the middle to get rid of all the air.
  • Using your hands, roll on the counter into one long, thick rope; about 32 inches long. Hold one end in one hand and gently pull and stretch the other end to help it reach the desired length. Taper the ends a little, making it fatter in the middle.
  • Coil up loosely like a snail, starting from the center and working outwards and place on prepared baking sheet. Tuck the end under and pinch to secure. Push down to flatten a little if the middle is too tall.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise till doubled, about one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brush all over gently with egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
  • Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown; it should sound hollow when you tap it lightly. An instant read thermometer should register 190 degrees F.
  • Check after about 20 minutes and if browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.
  • Transfer parchment immediately to a wire rack to cool.


For plain challah, use 2 1/2 tablespoons of honey instead of 3 and omit the raisins and cinnamon sugar. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired before baking.
You can use All-Purpose Flour, but bread flour has a higher protein content that gives a chewy texture.
You can rise the dough in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight; it will keep up to 3 days before shaping and baking. Let it sit at room temperature (75 - 85 degrees) for 1 - 2 hours before shaping.
If you're busy, you can refrigerate the dough, or shaped loaf, at any time to slow down the rising process. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
To Freeze:
Underbake by about 5 minutes. After it has cooled completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer ziplock bag, sucking out excess air with a straw.
Defrost at room temperature for several hours and then finish baking it for 10 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Adapted from The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz

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