Chocolate Chip Challah Bread

IMG_4849Happy Friday! Today I’m offering you a departure from my usual clothes/shoes/bags chatter and sharing one of my best recipes.   It took me so many tries to get this chocolate chip challah bread just right that I nearly gave up but my persistence has paid off and it has become a favorite.  There is something so rewarding about baking a bread like this.  It takes hours and hours before you can even start the braiding process but somehow it’s all worth it when you finally take it out of the oven and everyone loves it and oooh’s and aaaah’s over it and you bring it to a party and the hosts wants you to move in just so you can bake it at their house and you’ve also got a second loaf that you slice up and make french toast out of for the next few days.  This recipe promises all that and more…



IMG_4809The ingredients are quite simple:

1 1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar

1/2 cup of olive oil

5 large eggs

1 tablespoon of sea salt

8 cups of unbleached bread flour

1 package of chocolate chips

This whole process takes about 3 1/2 hours but it’s worth it! Here goes:

1. Add the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar into 1 3/4 cups of warm water.  I use it straight from the tap and make sure it’s just lukewarm, not boiling hot.

2. Whisk the olive oil into the yeast and add in 4 of the large eggs then the cup of sugar and tablespoon of salt.

3.  You’ll need a very large bowl for this next part.  I know it sounds like a lot of flour but trust me, it really does work.  Gradually add the 8 cups of flour to the mixture and when it all sticks together you can start kneading it. Knead it by hand on a floured surface until it’s smooth.  Try not to over-do it,  just knead it enough for it to feel nice and smooth and doughy.

4. Next up, take a big bowl and rub some of your olive oil on the insides and put your big dough ball in there to rise.  I always cover it with clear plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and leave it in a warm spot in my kitchen.

challah doughcovered doughThis is the fun part.  I love coming back to check on it after an hour and seeing it look like this:

IMG_4825Then you punch it down, cover it up again and wait another hour.

IMG_4832It’s fun to check on it after another hour and find it looking like this:

IMG_4828IMG_4829Punch it down again and gently add the bag of chocolate chips:

IMG_4842Cut the dough in half so it looks like this:

IMG_4849Then set aside one of the balls and turn the other into 6 smaller balls:


With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 8-10 inches long:

IMG_4852Join the strands at the top like this:

IMG_4853Now you’re ready to start your six-strand braid.  I always have trouble with this part and I’ve found that it’s easier if you have someone call out the directions to you but it can definitely be done by yourself.  Here goes:

1. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands.

2. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right.

3. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2.

4. Move the second strand from the right and move it over to the far left.

5. Repeat starting with the outside right strand all over again.

Continue braiding like this until you reach the end and then just tuck the ends underneath.

IMG_4854Then start all over again with the dough you set aside and make your second loaf.  I put them side by side on a baking sheet which has been lightly sprayed with PAM.

IMG_4858Beat the remaining egg and brush it all over the top of your challah and let it sit like that for 15-20 minutes while you heat your oven to 375 degrees.  I think this extra time spent sitting there makes all the difference in how well it rises. Bake your challah for 30-40 minutes or until it’s a golden brown color.  I peek at it all the time and tend to take it out before it gets too dark.

IMG_4861I know this recipe seems like a lot of work but it’s worth it!  I brought one of these loaves to a family dinner:

chocoale chip challah bread

and sliced up the other one to toast at home:

IMG_4903I hope you’ll try this recipe and let me know how you like it!


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