Redolent with garlic and fresh herbs, this fabulous braided loaf will make you swoon before it’s even out of the oven!   Herbed Challah is perfect for every Friday of the year!

baked loaf of herbed challah


Cut some Herbed Challah into thick slices and enjoy it with a lovely Shabbat dinner.  Can you spell Y-U-M in Yiddish?  It’s actually Geshmak!

I adore challah, especially day-old slices cooked into toasty-brown French toast slathered with creamy butter and pure maple syrup!  But, sadly, I’m not adept at making it myself.  Not that I’ve actually tried more than once or twice, though.

And when you have a friend that’s a pro at baking up pairs of giant herbed challah loaves, why should you?

I’ve known Nancy Leader since our days at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  Yes, it was many moons ago…  She’s a fabulous cook and artist that can whip up an incredible painting just as easily as yummy Herbed Challah.  Nancy’s one talented gal!   

And, as you can see from this picture, she’s equally adept at drinking from both her left and right hands!  (Sorry Nance, I couldn’t resist!)

When I was putting together my Hanukkah post recipes and ideas for this season, I knew I wanted to include a “yeasty” recipe.  Since some of the best Hanukkah foods are made with yeast, especially sufganiyot and challah, I would be remiss to exclude one.   (All Challah Photos Credited to: Nancy Leader)


middle eastern hanukkah celebration feast


A few weeks ago I featured a fabulous Hanukkah Celebration Feast featuring 6 delicious recipes,8 nights of hanukkah countdown treat bag including a No Yeast Cilantro Oil FlatbreadI figured I’d let Nancy lend her challah know-how using yeast, and I do my thing using baking powder.   I think the separation of duties turned out fabulously!

Here’s the link for this fabulous post, which also includes a really festive HANUKKAH PRINTABLE – The 8 Nights of Hanukkah Countdown Treat Bags!  They’re kind of a Jewish “advent calendar”!

Fill each night’s bag with Hanukkah treats, dreidels, gelt and maybe even a few Hamantashen

Don’t miss out on this incredible Middle Eastern appetizer buffet menu that’s filled with easy, but festive and delicious creations!

CLICK HERE:   Middle Eastern Hanukkah Celebration Feast


HOW TO MAKE CHALLAH – Herbed Challah – Two Ways

basil growing in gardenNancy was kind enough to show us how to make not one, but two different Herbed Challah!  They both use the same herb/garlic mixture, but in her Herb Laced Challah, she incorporates it right into the dough. 

Then, in the second version, she “stuffs” it inside and into slits she cuts into the braids of the unraised loaf.   Hence my naming it Herb Stuffed Challah.  Wow, is she creative, or what?

This multi-talented gal is also a prolific gardener, and living in Mississippi, Nancy enjoys a long growing season. Unlike me, where I’ve already stowed away the outdoor furnishings, she just stepped outside and plucked her fresh herbs for this recipe.  Sometimes I actually miss living in Miami!



Nancy uses a fragrant mixture of garlic cloves, fresh basil, rosemary and oregano mixed with olivegarlic and herbs for herbed challah recipe oil to “lace” and “stuff” her Herbed Challah.

It’s a heady mixture that produces an aroma when baking that will give you hunger pangs!  But don’t be tempted to cut into your finished loaves of Herbed Challah until they’re completely cool!  

I love hot bread as much as the next gal, but your challah’s texture will benefit greatly from cooling completely before being sliced!  I know, it stinks, but it will be worth the wait, I promise!

I’d also like to mention that it’s completely okay to substitute different herbs, depending on what you have on hand.  Or maybe your husband adores marjoram, throw some in too!  I think Nancy would agree, you can go with any combination that you love, and it will be incredible.   



I’ve create a series of graphics to take you through the process of making Herbed Challah, step-by-step as explained and demonstrated by Nancy Leader.  Take it away Nancy!

herbed challah instructions graphic


So far, so good, it doesn’t look took hard, does it?  I’ve got this, and so do you!  Okay, let’s go to the next step.


how to make herbed challah graphic


 I know there’s plenty of heat in Mississippi, but can you believe how high the dough rose on her patio table?  Wow, I hope I can get mine to rise so well.

Because we live at 4,500 ft. above sea level, I need to alter my baking recipes for high altitude cooking.  So, unfortunately, sometimes it’s a bit of a crap shoot!

Here’s where it gets interesting, first let’s see how she “laces” her challah!


herb laced challah instructions


Okay, that didn’t look too hard… No, seriously I think Nancy’s technique looks totally doable!  I can’t wait to try it!   Now let’s see how you “stuff” a challah!

I’m showing my age, but do you remember the old movie “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” starring Annette Funicello?  The title popped into my head as I was writing the previous sentence. Funny how our minds work, isn’t it?  Now, back to Herbed Challah!


herb stuffed challah instructions

Yes, the Stuffed Herb Challah looks a little more advanced.   But I figure I’ll start out with the easier version, and once I’ve perfected my braiding technique, I’ll be ready for “stuffing”!

Now let’s get these delicious looking challah loaves into the oven, shall we?


how to bake herbed challah loaves


And that’s how Nancy Leader makes her Herbed Challah, both “laced” and “stuffed”!  Wasn’t that a ton of fun?  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get out my flour and give these loaves a try!  Are you with me gals?



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baked loaf of herbed challah

Herbed Challah

Yield: 2 large loaves
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Redolent with garlic and fresh herbs, this fabulous braided loaf will make you swoon before it's even out of the oven! Cut into thick slices and enjoy with a lovely Shabbat dinner. Can you spell Y-U-M in Yiddish?


  • 6 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, hard stems removed
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh oregano
  • 2 cups fresh basil, tightly packed
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (one min in microwave on high)
  • 2 Tbsp. yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar or 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 6 cups AP flour
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • Large egg and 1 tsp. water, beaten for egg wash


  1. FILLING - Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Pulse several times to mince. With motor running, slowly add olive oil and mix until completely incorporated into herbs. Set aside until needed.
  2. Mix water, yeast, sugar or honey and dissolve. Let sit for at least 12 minutes, or until foamy.
  3. Mix eggs and oil in a bowl. In a second large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar together. Make a well in the flour and add egg/oil mix in middle, swirl around to make a slurry.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and combine to make a soft dough. Use more flour if dough is too sticky. Dump out on a floured surface and knead 5 min. Shape into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and set to rise 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Punch down, pull from sides of bowl, dump on floured surface, knead a little and divide dough in half.
  6. LACED CHALLAH - Add half the herbs into one piece of dough. (half the original dough amount) until fully incorporated. Divide into three long ropes.
  7. Pinch three ends together, braid, pinch together other side to form loaf. Cover, let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  8. STUFFED CHALLAH - Divide other half dough into three long ropes. Flatten, spread with half the remaining herb mixture. Roll and pinch back into a roll. Pinch one side's ends together, braid, and pinch second side together to form loaf.
  9. Make a few slits in braids, stuff with remaining herb mixture, pinch back together. Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  10. Brush risen loaves with egg wash, sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds and bake in a 375°F oven for 30 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on bottom.
  11. Let fully cool before slicing. L'Chaim!
Nutrition Information
Yield 20 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 223Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 37mgSodium 368mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 2gSugar 7gProtein 6g

Nutritional information should be considered an estimate only; please consult a registered dietician, nutritionist, or your physician for specific health-related questions. Please note that the recipe above is published using a recipe card plugin, with preexisting software which can auto-calculate metric measurements, as well as change the number of servings.


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