Recipe image
This item was added to Favorite Recipes

Sweet Poppy Seed Challah for Shabbat

In Israel, you can feel the coming Shabbat (day of rest) starting on Friday afternoon. Most people are preparing for a family meal, and no Shabbat meal is complete with Challah. Blessing and sharing this braided bread is the traditional way of invoking the spirit of the day of rest. For those looking for a twist to this customary bread, we thought of something extra special for you. Try making some Sweet Poppy Seed Challah, and then watch your family and friends’ faces light up with the spirit of the Sabbath!
7 / 10
cook time:
2 h 30 min
For the dough:
Instant yeast 1 Package
Sugar 2 Tbsp
Lukewarm water (divided) 1 Cup
Vegetable oil Cup
Honey ¼ Cup
Vanilla extract 1 Tbsp
Lemon zest 2 Tsp
All-purpose flour 5 Cup
Sea salt 1 teaspoon
For the poppy seed filling:
Poppy seeds 1 Cup
Canned coconut milk 1 Cup
Honey ½ Cup
Vanilla extract 2 Tsp
Chopped almonds ½ Cup
Sea salt 1 pinch
Step 1
Combine yeast, sugar, and ½ cup of water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast starts to foam. If the yeast does not activate, you may need to get yeast that is more fresh.
Step 2
Add remaining water, oil, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest, mixing on low to combine. Replace the paddle for the dough hook.
Step 3
Add flour and salt, one cup at a time, mix on low using the dough hook. Knead the dough until smooth and no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Step 4
Punch down the dough, and let rise for an additional 15 minutes.
Step 5
For the poppy seed filling, combine the poppy seeds and coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil, and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until the coconut milk has nearly evaporated.
Step 6
Use a blender or food processor and blend until most of the poppyseeds have broken down. Stir in the honey, vanilla, almonds, and sea salt. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
Step 7
Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C], and line 2 large baking trays with parchment paper.
Step 8
Divide dough into 16 even pieces. Cover, and let rise for 20 minutes.
Step 9
Roll each ball into a rectangle, about ¼ inch [0.6cm] in thickness.
Step 10
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of poppy seed filling going vertically down the center.
Step 11
Using kitchen shears or a small knife, cut 3-4 ½ inch [10cm] slits down the sides to make “strips.”
Step 12
Starting at the top, fold the dough strips diagonally over the filling to create a braid appearance, alternating each side to criss-cross the strips. Transfer to the lined baking tray. Repeat with all dough pieces.
Step 13
For the egg wash, whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Brush each bun with egg wash.
Step 14
Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through.