Ben Orkin’s Challah

Ben Orkin takes challah-braiding to a whole new level.

Set to the music of Philip Glass, his instructional video is just about the most beautiful challah-braiding tutorial I’ve ever seen .

Ben is a self-taught baker, food stylist, photographer and writer. And he’s only sixteen years old!

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Ben was lucky enough to find his passion early on in life. His blog, Ben’s Kitchen Blog, is all about home baking and the pleasures that come with it.

To be honest, I haven’t made challah in a while. I used to make it all the time when the kids were younger but now that they are teenagers, time seems to slip away from me more. Thanks to Ben and his lovely video, I’m inspired to bake challah again every Shabbat.

challah 6-strand

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Braiding a six-strand challah is not easy for me but I’m getting the hang of it! I also found Tori Avey’s post on challah braiding quite helpful.

Challah (courtesy of Ben Orkin)
This recipe comes from Ben’s great-grandmother who, like Ben, makes challah every Shabbat.

Makes two loaves

1 ¾ cups lukewarm water
2 packets yeast
1 tbs salt
¼ cups honey
¼ oil
3 eggs
7 cups flour
1 egg yolk

Mix all the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Then leave to sit for two minutes so that the yeast starts to make foam.

Add the flour and salt and mix until it forms dough.

Turn the dough out onto a clean working surface and start kneading.

Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough springs back when you stick your thumb into it.

Leave the dough to rise in an oiled bowl for 45 minutes. Keep it in a warm area.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back and put it onto a clean working surface.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Divide each piece into six. Roll the six balls into a sausage shape. They need to be thicker in the middle area.

Once you have six sausages, squeeze the ends together, so they can all combine to make one loaf. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Watch Ben’s video!

Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Paint the loaves with egg wash (egg yolk and a drop of water).

Bake the loaves for 45 minutes until they become dark golden brown.

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4 Comments on Ben Orkin’s Challah

  1. David
    May 18, 2015 at 3:14 am (7 years ago)

    6 strand french toast???

    • Julie Levine
      May 18, 2015 at 4:40 am (7 years ago)


  2. Tracy
    May 22, 2015 at 6:34 pm (7 years ago)

    Hi, just wondering if there is an error in the recipe on your site. On Bens it says 20g of yeast which is 7 teaspoons and on yours it says 2 packets yeast which is only 4.5 teaspoons. Also his says 8 cups flour and yours is 7. Just want to make sure I follow the best recipe!! 🙂 thank you!!

    • Julie Levine
      May 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm (7 years ago)

      Hi Tracy. Thanks for reading my blog! Ben actually has two challah recipes on his blog. They are slightly different. I used the first one – an earlier version. Here is the full recipe on his blog…
      Hope that helps. Please let me know!


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