Challah in a Bag

With the help of a zip-top bag, fluffy, chewy, perfectly braided challah is far easier to make than you'd think.


  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
  • Poppy seeds and sanding sugar for topping


  1. In a liquid measuring cup, combine warm water, yeast and a small pinch of sugar. Stir gently just to combine. Let bloom for 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. Once the yeast has bloomed, add it to a 1 gallon zip-top bag along with the oil, sugar, salt, orange zest and cardamom. Agitate the bag lightly to combine the ingredients.
  3. Add the 4 cups of flour to the liquid ingredients and seal the bag. Knead the flour and wet ingredients together in the bag for about 3 minutes, making sure to fully saturate the flour.
  4. Place on a flat surface for 1 hour to rise. The dough should be slightly wet.
  5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  6. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 1 minute until soft and pliable.
  7. Separate the dough into 3 even sections. Roll each section into a rope about 1 inch thick and 8 to 10 inches long.
  8. Braid the strands of the challah and tuck the ends underneath. Place the formed challah on a parchment-lined sheet tray, and allow to rest for about 15 minutes in a warm place.
  9. Brush the braided challah with egg, sprinkle with poppy seeds and sugar, and bake for about 40 minutes or until golden and hollow when tapped.