Flat Challos – any advice?

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Flat Challos – any advice?

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • Author
  • #602257

    My wife is very strict that she should make the challos and not buy them. She stays up until 2:00 Friday morning to make them for people’s refuah and shidduchim, etc.

    She has been trying desperately to get them to be fluffy and heimish. Most of the times they come out flat or dense. She’s love some advice on how to fix it.


    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Your yeast ‘isn’t working’ – your water may be too hot and the yeast are killed, too cold to activate it, or your yeast is too old. If you put the yeast in warm water with sugar does it foam up?

    These were some mistakes I made and some remedies given to me that worked.


    Syag’s advice is right on target. Also, the dough should be placed in a warm place and allowed to rise until double its original size. If you want to allow a second rising, then punch it down somewhat and let it rise again. After this, braid and I allow another 2 hours of rising in the pans. I use individual pans for the challos so that they rise up in the pan rather than spread out on a big tray (if you do them all on a big tray together).

    The Best Bubby

    Syag advice is correct and also Nechomah’s advice.

    This is what I do. When you put the fresh yeast in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar for every ounce used from the full amount of sugar used in recipe, sprinkle some of the flour on top of the yeast mixture, so that it will foam. After I’ve finished kneading the dough, I put the dough in a well greased (with margerine that has been frozen – to use less)very big stainless steel bowl. Put a few drops of canola oil smeared on top of the dough by hand or with a silicone brush – whatever is easier. Cover with saran wrap. Then put in to an 50 degree C preheated oven, on the bottom shelf. After a half hour, knead the dough in the bowl again for a few minutes, then cover again with the saran wrap and then leave in the oven again for another half hour. I then take out of the oven, remove the saran wrap and cover with a clean tea cloth. Preheat the oven to 170 degree C fan. I leave the dough to come back to room temperature covered for about another hour, in the bowl. Take out of bowl on a lighly floured surface. Plait the dough as you wish. (I do 6 strands). Then I place on a silicone baking sheet in a aluminum baking pan (jelly roll pan), egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place in preheated oven straight away and bake until done.

    Be matzliach!


    And maybe watch the gluten content of the flour, or use some HG flour, as sometimes AP flour is deficient. Using barley malt for the priming sugar can also give the yeast a leg up.

    The Best Bubby

    Yes, twisted, you are correct. I thought everone knew that you must use high gluten flour to make bread, challah, rolls kokosh cakes, etc. I am sorry I did not mention it in my earlier post.

    Yehudah Tzvi: Wishing you a a very speedy and complete refuah shelama and I continue to daven for you and your dear friend, whom you asked us to daven for, every single day. I also added both your names to a rota list, in which 40 women bake challot every single week, in your zechut. May H’KBH grant you all your tefillot le tova be karov Amen ! Keep up the spirit – you will get through this difficult time quickly B’EH!


    Add gluten. You can get gluten in many supermarkets. I use Bob’s Red Mill brand, which comes in a small clear bag. Cost a few dollars.

    Here is what I do, and I get good rising:

    Warm the water until it feels warm on the wrist. It’s like testing a baby’s bottle, but a little warmer. If it hurts your wrist, add cold water. Add a teaspoon of sugar for every cup of white flour that you use, 4 to 5 teaspoons for every cup of whole wheat. Mix sugar in water. I put mine in a cup and prepare the flour and salt in a bowl or pot.

    Use about a teaspoon of yeast for every 4 cups of flour. Mix the yeast into the sugar water and let stand for 15-30 minutes. It should foam on top.

    The flour: Use bread flour, which has extra gluten, or use regular flour and add a teaspoon or two of gluten (see above). One teaspoon of salt for every 3 to 4 cups of flour. Maybe a little oil. Basically, I make a water challah.

    Add yeast-water to flour mixture and add water as needed. If too gooey, add flour. I think I use one cup of water for 3 cups of flour.

    Let rise for 2 hours or so, punch down, and shape. Turn on the oven for two minutes, so that it’ll be warm. Make sure oven is off and only lukewarm. I like to egg wash the challahs at this point because painting the egg on after they rose can partially deflate them.

    Put challah in lukewarm oven and let rise for about 30 minutes. It they rose well, take out, turn on oven, and put back inside when full temp is reached for baking. If they need some more rising, give them a little more time, say 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can let them rise at room temp for 1.5 – 2 hours.

    Don’t let to over-rise. They will get too big for themselves and collapse.


    switch some of the water for seltzer- some but not all- this should help it rise better


    Try this:

    Put the flour in the Bosch/mixer, make a small hole on the side of the flour and add the salt there. Then make a hole in the middle and add the yeast, sugar, and water. Make sure the yeast does not come in contact with the salt!! Also when you braid the challah don’t play around with the dough to much.

    Hopefully these tips will help you.



    maybe start a bit earlier and letit rise a bit more also try a different yeast sounds like its not working too well good luck to ur wife i think its amazing when i hear of people who bake challah so they can do it for tefilla or chessed


    The Best Bubby:

    Thank you so much!


    didnt read all the threads. but there are so many components with challah that have to be right in order for them to be fluffy. first yes, the yeast. water must me 105-115 degrees WITH A THERMOMETER. let the yeast bubble. Fresh yeast produces fluffier challah . add 1 to 2 tsp sugar with the yeast and dotn continue until you see the yeast move, like a gurgling science experiment. Then and only then add in eggs, sugar, and oil very slowly, add salt last. then add flour til you get a smooth batter, then keep adding flour. but not too much. the kneading by hand in my opinion makes it fluffy. and if you knead in the flour by hand you cant do too much. knead it until it forms a ball soft and smooth to the touch. when it looks perfectly smooth and feels just right, its ready to rise. it should double in size, when shaping its important never to stretch your snakes. let rise again then put into hot oven. flat challos can also be from overrising. i do 1 1/2 hrs first time and 45 mins second rise after shaping. hope that helps.


    I used to have this problem until I switched yeast. I was using the 3-pks of dried yeast which were always hit or miss in terms of rising. I now use the dried yeast that comes in the 1 lb pkg – usually the Gefen brand. I keep it in a sealed tupperware container. I have never had a problem since I switched. I put all the Water, Sugar and Yeast for the recipe into the mixer and let it sit for 10 minutes. If the yeast is good – it should start bubbling.

    My recipe is:

    4-5 Cups Warm Water – the more water the stickier the dough but the lighter the challah

    1 1/2 – 2 C Sugar

    4 T dried Yeast

    Combine the above and let sit for 10 minutes


    4 Eggs

    5 lb bag Flour – High Gluten preferred

    1 C oil or ( 1 stick Margarine + 1/4 C Oil)

    4 T Kosher Salt

    Let double – punch down and braid. Let rise again for 30 min and bake at 325-350 until golden brown.


    Google heller challah lady – she has all kinds of tips, hotline and help – b”hatzlocha


    When the dough is kneaded and ready, insert a basketball inflation needle and hook it up to an air compressor. Run 250 PSI of air into the dough for 5 minutes, all the while reciting the segula “Klal Yisroel: Tizoik Shygetz Aross!”

    Alternately, add three Alka Seltzer tablets to the water when making the dough and reduce the compressor/segile time to 2 minutes.


    There are lots of reasons why a dough won’t rise properly:

    Not enough rise time

    Not enough gluten – especially a problem if you use whole wheat flour

    Not enough sugar – sugar and yeast react together

    Not enough salt – salt is needed to limit yeast effectiveness, use too little and it will over-rise

    Too much salt – overusing salt will neutralize the yeast

    If the bread is flat, I’m guessing that it’s not because you are using too little salt. Try experimenting with the other possibilities, i.e. try adding extra sugar or cutting back on salt. Have patience and you’ll get it right.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.