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Challah for Purim

Challah for Purim

Purim is a very joyous holiday, one that involves a feast, and lots and lots of sweets. The most common food associated with Purim is the hamantaschen. It is customary to give food or food baskets to friends, family and relatives; this is known as mishloach manot. Growing up, my brother and I received baskets made of candy that were filled with candied fruits. The baskets looked very pretty but we barely touched them, that is, until the week after the holiday. To use up the fruit in the baskets, my mom would finely chop them and make the most delicious fruit cake.

If you still have some holiday baking ahead of you, I really recommend you try this challah or rosca de Purim, I can assure you that it’ll rank very close to the prune or poppy seed filled hamantaschen, and there will be no leftovers next week to turn into something else. The egg and butter enriched dough is silky and smooth; it’s also very easy to work with. The dough is rolled into two large rectangles, the filling made of onions and poppy seeds are spread over it, then formed into ropes and finally twisted to give it a crown shape which represents Queen Esther’s crown.

This recipe is my favourite, you can see all the step by step photos for making the challah. If you have leftover challah, freeze in a plastic bag for up to three months.


  • 2 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • ½  cup warm water
  • 1 large egg (use only half in the dough)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp black pepper

To make the dough place the bread flour in the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor, add the instant yeast and mix for a second to incorporate it into the flour, with the motor running, add the warm water, half of the egg, melted butter, salt and sugar. The dough should be soft, silky and easy to knead. It shouldn’t stick to your hands; if the dough looks too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time, if it sticks to your hands and looks too wet, continue kneading and add flour about half a tablespoon at a time.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it ferment for about an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling by putting all the ingredients in a small saucepan, cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, and let it cool.

Cut the dough in half; roll each piece into roughly 10 by 8 inches rectangle, spread half the filling on each piece of rolled dough leaving about an inch space on each side. Roll the dough and pinch to make sure it is sealed well, repeat this with the second piece of dough.

Lengthen the ropes by gently rolling them; each piece should be about 20 inches long. Twist the ropes, not too tightly, and bring the two ends together. Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover the dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a clean tea towel, and let it proof for about 50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F, brush the challah with the reserved egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds, bake for 35-40 minutes, the loaf should look golden brown. Let it cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Challah for Purim


31 comments to Challah for Purim

  • Oh My, the Challah is so beautiful, I will make it soon, I like the idea of onions and poppy seeds in the dough. Can you post your mom’s recipe for the dried fruit cake. I always have lots of left over dried fruit on hand after baking. Thanks for your wonderful baking. Linda

  • Süper olmuş Megi’ciğim. İçi harika görünüyor. Tadı çok güzeldi ama, benim ki bu kadar kabarmamıştı, en kısa zamanda tekrar deneyeceğim. Ellerine sağlık olsun:)

  • Megi, this bread looks so wonderful; it reminds me of some sweet rolls with poppy seeds that we used to eat back when we were kids. I wonder if I can transform it in a sweet roll, why not? :) Beautiful pictures!

  • LindenTea

    Hi Linda, thank you for the comment, I hope you try the onion poppy seed challah, I think you will love it. I’ll talk to my mom and post her dried fruit recipe soon.

    Asli, cok tesekkur ederim, eksi maya yerine normal maya kullaninca boyle oluyor iste. :)

    Thank you Mihaela, I think the dough can easily be transformed into a sweet dough. In fact, now you are inspiring me to bake more!

  • Leah

    Dear Megi,

    The challah looks amazing. I made multiple batches of hamantaschen to give as mishloach manot but I will double your recipe and make one for us and one for my in-laws.

    I am with Linda on the dried fruits, we always seem to have more than we can use, I would love to try your mom’s dried fruit cake. Is it pareve?

    Wishing you and all of your readers a Chag Purim Sameach.


  • Wow, Megi! This looks absolutely perfect! You really should be a professional baker. I need to take lessons from you.

  • What a gorgeous bread Megi!

  • Danielle

    I love challah but I have never seen one made with onion and poppy seeds, that sounds absolutely divine. My children adore the raisin challah but I have a feeling my husband would love this savory version.

  • Ok, Megi, now I KNOW you are a professional baker! This challah looks absolutely amazing…and only professional bakers can accomplish this:)…I LOVE,LOVE the savory version!. Beautiful presentation…as always.

  • Woooow…you are an amazing baker. Bread like this is not easy to make and yours is just gorgeous. Makes my mouth water.

  • LindenTea

    Thank you for your comment Leah, I really hope you try and like it. By the way, the dried fruit cake recipe is pareve, I’ll try to post it soon.

    Susan, thank you, I am flattered.

    Thank you Dawn.

    Danielle, my husband definitely prefers this version but my daughter wasn’t a fan of the poppy seeds. :)

    Oh Ellie, you are so sweet, like you, I LOVE to bake and be in the kitchen.

    MegSmith, thank you, the bread was not difficult to make, the dough is soft and enriched with butter, that makes the rolling and twisting a lot easier!

  • Norma

    Hi Megi,

    I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time now. I found out about your blog due to your comments on the Global Jewish Kitchen. This challah recipe looks just wonderful and I will be trying it. Looking forward to new postings.


  • LindenTea

    Hi Norma, thank you for your comment, I am really happy to hear you like the blog, I hope you like the challah, it was a hit around here. :)

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write a comment. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy Purim.

  • I hope you enjoy Purim.
    And your holiday challah looks gorgeous – the filling sounds exquisite and your photographs are lovely.

  • LindenTea

    Thank you for your comment Joyti, I am so impressed with everything on your blog.

  • Leah Levi

    Dear Megi, I made a double batch of this challah yesterday. I was impressed by how easy it was to roll. It didn’t turn out nearly as perfect as yours but I don’t think I pinched it well enough, there will definitely be a next time.

    I have been spending a lot of time browsing through your blog, I love the Passover recipes. Will you posting new kosher for Passover recipes this year?


  • julie Do

    Hello Megi, I tried your recipe yesterday. It was a lot of work but it turned out great. Thank you for sharing it.

  • The challah is beautiful! I did not know such kind of filling but it sounds very delicious. It is definitely something I will try!

  • That bread is a work of art. Beautiful!

  • This looks amazing. I love the combination of ingredients and eager to give it a taste. The outside is baked to perfection with that golden crust. Well done!

    We invite you to share this post and some of your favorite food posts on Food Frenzy.
    Please check out our community.

  • Wow! You’re challah looks gorgeous…I love it so much but I always find baking my own bread so intimidating (my yeast NEVER rises!)

  • Your challah looks wonderful! I also made a Challah a while ago – it’s amazing having a fresh homemade challah :-) . Congratulations on the great recipe and Foodbuzz Top 9!

    My challah recipe is here:

  • The challahs are looking awesome. Loved the addition of poppy seeds to it, perfect softness ! congrats for top 9 !

  • I made hamantaschen this year, but this challah is high up on my to-do list!

  • LindenTea

    Leah, thank you for taking the time to let me know about the challah, I really appreciate it. As for the Passover recipes, I haven’t decided on what to post on the blog but I tend to post what I make, so I am sure at least a few of them will make it here. :)

    Julie, I am so glad you tried it, I know you are a great cook and baker, the dough itself is easy to make, it just gets a little tricky when it comes to shaping it.

    Stefanie, thank you for your visit and comment, there are so many recipes I am looking forward to trying from your blog.

    Thank you Tami.

    Thank you for your visit Foodfrenzy, I hope you give it a try.

    Thank you Emily. What kind of yeast do you use?

    Cooking Rookie, your challah looks gorgeous, thank you for giving me the link. I love your blog!

    Sonia, thank you for your comment, the onion and poppy seeds work well together to make a sweet and moist challah.

    Susan, I love your blog and the hamantaschen, I hope you try the challah.

  • Hannah

    Hi Megi, I brought hamantaschen and this challah to a Purim party, I didn’t even get a chance to taste it, neither did my husband, it was gone within minutes and it was by far the most amazing looking bread that came out of my oven. Can I e-mail you the photo?

    I told everyone about your blog and I am sure there will be plenty of people coming to check your recipes. My husband asked me to bake another one today, so I decided to come and leave you a comment while the dough is rising.

    Thank you,


  • LindenTea

    Hannah, I sent you an e-mail yesterday but I also wanted to thank you here. I am so glad you tried the recipe and took the time to leave a comment and send me the photo of your beautiful challah. Thank you.

  • I love both hamantaschen and challah bread, two treats that I haven’t enjoyed in years (I grew up with a lot of Jewish friends!). Your challah recipe looks delicious and relatively easy to make. I think I’ll give it a shot.

  • LindenTea

    Hi Katie, I hope you try the challah, it’s easy to make but once shaped it looks really pretty.

  • Hi Megi

    Your challah bread looks so delicious and professionally baked. Love your blog. You have plenty of interesting recipes with great photos. I am now your new follower. Thanks for following my blog.

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