When people ask me what do I want my last meal on this earth to be I always say: bread, goat cheese and a beautiful Argentinian malbec. But of all these three my essential one is bread. Bread...mmm...bites of delicious yeasty goodness baked into perfection. I love, love, love bread if you could not tell. The funny thing is that all this bread love really goes against my fitness regime but I tell you what, life it too short to not eat something this good, so I workout harder the days when I eat it. :)
But you know what? One of my biggest failures in the kitchen has been baking bread...or rather the lack of trying. BREAD MAKING INTIMIDATES ME! There I said it. I can make the most technically complicated French recipe yet when it comes to bread, I panic. There is something about the transformation of ingredients into dough, into a beautiful loaf of bread that seems hard to make. 

But last year I gave challah bread a try and it turned out beautifully thanks to the hilariously awesome couple of Kevin Meyers and his wife Dani at The Adventure Bite.  Now, if you are not familiar with challah, this is a special Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and holidays.

I love foods rooted in tradition and I was a little hesitant about changing the traditional recipe.  But I felt that this could benefit from a little flavoring.  Nothing overpowering but lingering subtles layers of flavors and because the bread has a subtly sweet taste I immediately thought of bourbon and vanilla bean.  The flavors just seemed to go well together... and oh, they did. 
This is a SIX. STRANDS. BRAID.  This translates into tricky.  And I am so thankful the Meyers shared a video on how to do the braiding with six strands.  I got kind of cocky with the second loaf and had to start all over again halfway through. But the result is oh, so pretty-- don't you think?
There is a moment when you realize that a transformation is happening and you are part of this. It feels very earthly and organic. Maybe those are the wrong words but you get me. Plus, the smell is just heavenly. I enjoy this stage when the bread is rising and love the intense yeasty aroma {that is the best way to describe it} that took over my kitchen. Just intoxicating.  But nothing compares to the beautiful aroma of the bread as it is baking: mellow notes of vanilla and bourbon just makes this simply irresistible. 
This bread is eggy, a little sweet and soft which makes it just like a potato chip: you can't have just one. This bread is delicious with butter, jam {my future mom-in-law's raspberry jam would be so good with this} or just by itself because of those bourbon vanila notes. But I promise you, no matter how you eat it, it's delicious.
After it was baked, I was just in pure amazement that this beautiful bread was made by my hands. But even more I felt such a sense of accomplishment to finally do something I've always wanted to try. 
I am so happy I adjusted this recipe with the flavoring additions because it is totally worth it and if you want to impress someone, this is one way to do it.  The possibilities are endless!  Have a wonderful day!
{adapted from The Adventure Bite} Makes 2 Loaves


1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tablespoon oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
7 cups King Arthur bread flour plus additional flour (may take 8 or 9 cups of flour total)
1 tsp crushed vanilla bean
(If using whole wheat flour 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 bread flour is preferable in flavor)
1 egg, beaten



  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Mix all ingredients above line together except flour.
  3. Add flour cup by cup until the dough comes together enough to start pulling aside from the bowl.
  4. Pour out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour as you go to keep it smooth and not sticking to the table.
  5. Knead for about 10 minutes.
  6. Cover top of bread lightly with oil and cover. Allow to proof until dough has almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Punch down.
  8. Divide dough in half and then each half into 6 pieces for a total of 12 pieces. Try to make them as even as possible or weigh them to be equal.
  9. Roll the pieces out til they are about 1 inch in diameter.
  10. Pinch six braids together at the top and then braid. See Tammy's Recipe Braiding Vide for tutorial. A MUST!
  11. Gently transfer the braided challah to a greased cookie sheet and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise again for about 30 minutes.
  12. Use a pastry brush to coat the loaves with beaten egg.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  14. *If using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast see Tammy's Recipe for additional tips! 



  1. This looks AMAZING! Bread making intimidates me as well, but I really want to taste this!

  2. Looks so fluffy! I used to eat challah all the time as a child, brings back good memories

  3. This bread actually looks PERFECT. I've made challah before, but it definitely didn't have perfect braids like that! Mmm, your photos make me crave it even though Ive begun the GF lifestyle :)

    xoxo Sarah Grace, Fresh Fit N Healthy.

  4. Man, that is some pretty beautiful looking bread for someone who is intimidated by making it - I love love love making and eating homemade bread - challah is one of my favs :)

  5. Oh my goodness ... this looks absolutely divine. I can only imagine how amazing it would be made into challah french toast!

  6. Wow I would love to see a demonstration on how to braid it so beautifully! I love fresh bread, sadly I don't make it very often.

  7. your bread looks beautiful. I LOVE challah bread. I tried making it once - total fail! You might have just convinced me to try again!

  8. OH STOP IT! That is such a beautiful loaf of bread. I used to LOVE CHALLAH, but man, I cannot even remember the last time I sunk my teeth into it! UGH, soooo amazing!

  9. Intimidates you? You just showed that bread who is boss!! That looks amazing!!!!

  10. First off WELCOME to The Recipe ReDux! And love the combo of boozy bourbon and sweet honey. Perfect. Perfect on warm bread...which I'd never believe intimidates you. Agree: Last meal would be bread for me too!