A Hawaiian Challah Back at Ya!

Hey folks! I’m back from Hawaii!! I’ve been travelling around Europe and Hawaii and I’m finally back… What’s that? Yeah, I TOTALLY miss baking! I had the baking itch everywhere on me! It was intolerable! So, instead of a post on Europe, or an entry from one of my overdue drafts from before, I badly needed to bake and post something fresh! And new!

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from A Taste of Challah, by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

I was sold on La Cuisine de Sarah to include healthy fruits for a wholesome bread. Fresh From the Oven‘s challenge this month was for fruit breads! Well, can’t really say no to that, can I?  And so, to kill two birds with one stone…..

Challah with dried mango, pineapples and chocolate

I’ve love love love Jewish bread and was excited to make a Challah. Initially, I thought it was pronounced CHA-la (IPA: tʃɑlə) instead of HA-la (IPA: ˈxɑlə).

The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) will give you a more accurate pronunciation due to the first syllable not being a native English sound.

While on my travels in Europe I saw many Challah-looking loaves! While I was observing them, I wondered to myself: What really makes a bread a Challah? The braiding? The high number of eggs? The oil? What about recipes that substitute butter for oil, or the absence of eggs? Would you still consider the recipe a Challah? 🙂

I probably would if the eggs OR oil were to be omitted, but one thing has to stay for sure.. And that would be the beautiful braiding / swirling on the bread! Anyway, I decided to alter a traditional aspect of the Challah – raisin fillings. Since I just got back from beautiful Hawaii, I decided to create a tropical filling of dried mangos and dried PINEAPPLES! mmmm!

While searching for recipes on filled Challah, my dear friend, Lisa’s popped up on the results! I was exhilarated seeing her beautiful Challah! I’ve always been a fan of Lisa’s creations and couldn’t wait to try her recipe! I used the Maggie Glezer’s Chernowitzer Challah recipe recommended on her blog and substituted the raisins for dried mangos and pineapples. Come to think about it, since I added the chocolate, I SHOULD HAVE added some macadamia nuts too! Does that remind you of a certain Hawaiian chocolate? 😉

Chocolate “Hawaiian” Challah

adapted from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives and Maggie Glezer

Bread Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg white for glazing
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar


  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/3 cup dried pineapples
  • 1/3 cup dried mangos
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts (optional)


  1. Mixing the yeast slurry
    – In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 3/4 cup of the flour, then whisk in the warm water until smooth. Let the yeast slurry stand uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.
  2. Mixing the dough
    – Whisk the 2 eggs, oil, salt, and sugar into the puffed yeast slurry until the eggs are well incorporated and the salt and sugar have dissolved.
    – Using a wooden spoon or a kitchen aid on the hook pedal, stir in the remaining 3 cups flour all at once.
    – When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface and knead it until smooth and soft, no more than 10 minutes.
  3. Fermenting the dough
    – Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. (Or, the dough can be refrigerated right after kneading, then removed from the refrigerator to finish fermenting up to 24 hours later.) Let the dough ferment until it has at least doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. (If it has been refrigerated, the dough will take an extra 30 to 60 minutes to ferment. My dough doubled while in the refrigerator!)
  4. Preparing the filling
    – With a blender, blend the chocolate chips and dried fruits in a blender until they are mixed and coarse. (approximately 20 seconds on a lower speed, less if you set it on a higher speed)
    – Divide into 4 portions for a 4-braid challah
  5. Shaping and filling the dough
    – Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Each is approximately 250 ml / 1 cup. (yeah still haven’t got that weighing machine :/ )
    – Roll each portion and then flatten it out, about 14 x 5 inches.
    – Insert fillings, and seal them by rolling them up and pinching the ends. I failed to achieve Lisa’s beautiful swirls because instead of rolling them up to seal, my fillings were mostly centred in the middle of the dough!
  6. Braiding
    – Here’s my favourite part!! If you need help with braiding, refer to this video http://www.ehow.com/video_2341034_baking-four_strand-challah-bread-loaf.html provided by Lisa. It’s really easy as long as you follow the mantra. “Over one, under one, and over one”. I braided my Challah on a silpat on a baking pan to avoid the hassle of having to transfer it later. You can also use parchment paper if you prefer. Let your braided loaf double for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours and cover with plastic seran.

  • BAKE!
    – Preheat your oven at 350F degrees and bake your Challah at 350F degrees for about 20 minutes.

Enjoy your Challah! Oh, and guess what, it’s the Sabbath Day today!

It’s one challah’va tasty loaf! 😀

Alright guys! I promise I will blog about Europe and Hawaii… soon I hope! hahaha. There’s just over 3000 pictures to sort through!! Yeah, can you believe it?? I don’t even know how I took so many pictures in 2 weeks. omgg..

Tata for now, all!

If you enjoyed these, you might also like:

Pineapple Cookies
Tropical Hot Cross Buns

91 Comments Add yours

  1. That looks so good – fantastic sounding filling!

  2. Welcome welcome back my friend – seems like you had one seriously exotic time 😀
    This Hawaiian bread looks amazing!!! Love the idea of a tropical stuffing 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. Rhianna says:

    They look great!

  4. You’re baaaack! Awesome, I look forward to hearing of Europe & Haiwaii and more delicious treats of course! The Challah looks incredibly tasty and so artfully braided too (there’s a reason why I don’t make braided breads, mine don’t look so good!) 🙂

  5. Lisa says:

    Gorgeous challah, Sam! I’m so flattered you liked my chocolate-raisin challah! I love that you filled it with mangoes and dried pineapples. you have no idea how much I want a huge slice! Chocolate and macadama nuts would add to and be awesome with the mango and pineapples, but already awesome as is. My challah post will up later today or tomorrow 🙂

  6. marcellina says:

    oooooh, what a yummy combination! Fabulous looking challah!

  7. Hi Sammie,
    This looks fantastic! You never stop to surprise me with your wonderful food and baking. Just amazing!!!

  8. What an interesting challah variation! I love the sound of it 😀

  9. Anula says:

    Dried mango, pinneaple and even chocolate! OMG that sound delish! 🙂
    Pozdrawiam, Anula.

  10. Jenni says:

    Awesome job!! I love the tropical theme you gave to the challah, I bet it was delicious!!!

  11. cookingactress says:

    You were so much more ambitious with the braiding than I was! I loved that you used chocolate, too–I had been seriously considering it 😛

  12. Gorgeous challah! Love the filling. I doubt you’d ever have leftovers but it would make a fantastic french toast!

  13. that flavor combination sounds wonderful! i’ve been on a pineapple kick lately, i could totally go for a slice of your challah!

  14. Bindiya says:

    Love the tropical filling! Looks fantastic 🙂

  15. Chocolate Macadamia?!?! Yum!!

  16. Tandy says:

    It looks awesome, and I love challah toasted the next day 🙂

  17. Shelley C says:

    Oooohhhh – I love the fruits you chose – the Hawaiian inspiration is, well, inspired! Great recipe choice, too (I drooled over Lisa’s, too!) and beautiful job braiding. You knocked this one out of the park!!

  18. sugaredpecan says:

    Oh my, this sounds so delicious!! YUMMY!

  19. BC says:

    The challah looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it. The pineapple is a nice touch 🙂

  20. Your Hawaiian filling sounds amazing – what a creative idea! I could go for a slice right now…

  21. What an awesome vacation!! Yum, your challah looks delish and definitely a good addition of dried fruit! I’m sure you figured out that mahalo does not mean trash 😉 lol!

  22. rsmacaalay says:

    Nice braiding skills! Very nice bread.

  23. Well your absence from the kitchen did not have any impact on your culianary skills at all-the challah looks picture perfect. Also, I am glad Hawaii gave you the inspiration for the add ins-lovely tropical flavors here-yum!
    Hawaii is such a paradise, definitely a great place to vacation! Welcome back.

  24. Liz says:

    I should have come out of DB retirement for this one! Beautifully done!

  25. Welcome back! This challah looks wonderful.

  26. JM says:

    That challah sounds mouth-wateringly good. You can’t go wrong with either mango or chocolate. 😉

  27. Courtney says:

    Your bread is beautiful! And I know that braiding can be tricky,so I am super impressed – and the fillings, perfect for a little return to reality post-Hawaii, eh?

  28. Jeanne says:

    Sounds like you had a great trip! This challah looks amazing. I love the fillings that you chose – very Hawaiian! 🙂

  29. welcome home, sammie! this challah looks absolutely amazing – i love challah but have never tried making it myself. must change that soon! =)

  30. Carolyn Jung says:

    That’s bread AND dessert all in one! 😉
    I love Hawaiian bread. It’s so fluffy and sweet. No wonder you were so inspired.

  31. Norma Chang says:

    Great looking challah, beautiful braiding. Looking forward to reading about your trip.

  32. Claudia says:

    Worth getting up early and getting your baking chops down. Just gorgeous. And glad you loved Hawaii – it is paradise. And so is the recipe.

  33. Welcome back. What a fabulous creative challah!

  34. I am all about this bread. ALL ABOUT IT. Glad you had a super trip!

  35. Hi Sammie, welcome home, and sorry I have been MIA. I have had a lot of stuff going on at the home front – and was barely able to keep up with my blog. Anyways, so jealous of your trip to Hawaii… but more so of this delicious looking filled-challah you posted!! I made homemade challah before, but never filled them. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Ruth H. says:

    Your challah look fabulous! I so very much want to go to Hawaii, and I think your challah might be the closest I get for a while. I hope that every bite was as tropical and delicious as it looks! Thank you for bakin with me this month!

  37. Welcome home!! I hope you do post about your travels!!! I love challah bread. My mother-in-law makes the worlds best challah hands down. I love going to her for a meal because I always know there will be some! Your challah look amazing. Love the filling you used. So unique. It must have been delicious.

  38. Joanne says:

    If I went that long without baking, I”d definitely crave it as well! Gorgeous bread to get back in the kitchen with!

  39. Anita Menon says:

    Lovely Challah photos and cute photos of you from Hawaii. My first time here and I feel your enthusiasm and passion for baking.

  40. Sally says:

    What a great idea to combine the fluffiness and gorgeous shape of challah with exotic fruit.

  41. Welcome back Sammie! I wish I could travel with you – I’ve been to Hawaii once and Europe ZERO!!! lol. I look forward to your travel posts. Now you are amazing you start baking right away… This Challah looks perfect! I have never had bread with all the filling ingredients in it… see this is why people bake for customization. I want your Challah!

  42. Eri says:

    It looks like Greek Easter Bread and it;s amazing!

  43. Juliana says:

    Wow Sammie, such a nice loaf and I love the flavors in it…I see that you brought back all the tropical flavors from Hawaii…absolutely gorgeous….by the way, welcome back!
    Have a wonderful week ahead 🙂

  44. Sammie says:

    Thank you!!

  45. Sammie says:

    Thanks Uru!! I grew up in the tropics and so I am always in love with tropical flavours! haha…

  46. Sammie says:

    Thank you Rhianna!!

  47. Sammie says:

    Thank you!! It’s my first time braiding and I wasn’t sure what to expect. haha.. But I wished I made it tighter though so it would be higher instead of flatter 😀

  48. Sammie says:

    Thanks for your inspiration and recipe Lisa! I always love your wonderful ideas on your blog! They’re always so full of passion and creativity! I can see that many bakers took on your idea for the Daring Bakers challenge last month! haha.. 😀 First time taking part in the Daring Bakers! Can’t wait for this month’s! It shall be spectacular!

  49. Sammie says:

    Thank you so much Marcellina! I can’t wait for next month’s challenge! Yours looked great too!

  50. Sammie says:

    Thanks Asmita!! You’re always so kind with your words!

  51. Sammie says:

    Thanks Lorraine!!

  52. Sammie says:

    Why, thank you very much Anula! I loved yours too! Will be leaving more comments in the future! 🙂

  53. Sammie says:

    Thank you Jenni for visiting my blog! I really loved your version too! 🙂

  54. Sammie says:

    haha.. Yup! Chocolate definitely goes with everything!

  55. Sammie says:

    Oh definitely Carol! I’ve been thinking of it!! Do share if you have any fabulous french toast recipe! 😀

  56. Sammie says:

    oooh! Thanks so much! i’m glad you liked it! Yeah! Pineapples are like a hidden fruit treasure! We don’t use it too much in baking but they sure are delicious!

  57. Sammie says:

    Thanks very much Bindiya! Yours looked fabulous too! Absolutely loved the topping!

  58. Sammie says:

    haha.. Thank you!! In Hawaii there’s a very famous chocolate known as Hawaiian Host which is usually filled with Macadamia nuts! So that’s why I got that inspiration. but unfortunately didn’t have the nuts! oh wells, next time! 🙂

  59. Sammie says:

    Thanks Tandy! Yeah! FRENCH toast would be so delicious!

  60. Sammie says:

    Thank you! I agree! Lisa’s idea was fabulous! I only wished my swirl was as gorgeous as hers! haha.. Yours looks so wonderful as well, and you managed to get some beautiful swirls out! Love it!

  61. Sammie says:

    Thanks Donna!!

  62. Sammie says:

    hehe.. yeah! You’re such a huge fan of pineapples Mr. Chu!

  63. Sammie says:

    Thanks Korena! Loved your gorgeous Challah too! Your braiding was so neat and perfect! Every strand in perfection! Will definitely be visiting your blog more!

  64. Sammie says:

    Thanks Sandra! haha.. Yeah! Mahalo was the second word I learned! So I figured it out early! lol. But I can see how the word can be easily misunderstood as “trash” since it was on every trash can! 😀

  65. Sammie says:

    Thank you Raymund! 🙂

  66. Sammie says:

    Thanks Tina! It was my first time in Hawaii and definitely won’t be my last! I really enjoyed my stay there! Everyone was so nice and friendly too!! 🙂 Thank you!

  67. Sammie says:

    For sure! Would really love to see your creations! This month’s gonna be awesome! 🙂

  68. Sammie says:

    Thank you!! Will be posting more stuff up soon!

  69. Sammie says:

    definitely! Those are such delicious flavours! Thanks!

  70. Sammie says:

    haha.. Thanks Courtney! Definitely room for improvement in the fillings though! I was sad that my swirls didn’t show up like how Lisa’s did but I think I knew where I went wrong. Oh wells! Practice makes perfect! 😀

  71. Sammie says:

    haha.. Thanks Jeanne! I think I’m Hawaiian at heart! I love all tropical flavours! 😀

  72. Sammie says:

    Thank you Amy!! Yeah! You should! The braiding was my favourite part! 🙂

  73. Sammie says:

    Thanks Carolyn!

  74. Sammie says:

    Thanks Norma!

  75. Wow, this bread look so good! Well done.

  76. Sammie says:

    haha.. yeah! Getting up early helps prolong the nice natural lighting for photography too! 😀

  77. Sammie says:

    Thank you so much!!

  78. Sammie says:

    haha.. thank you Heather! I think blogging about food is so much easier than about a trip! This post is taking me foreverrrrr! haha..

  79. Sammie says:

    Hi Yudith! Omgg… No worries!! I feel you!! I’m being MIA on my blog too!! 3 weeks without a post! Almost a record now! haha.. I hope all is going well with your home! I’m sure your challahs must taste delicious too! After all you’re quite the bread expert! hehe.. Well, see you soon at your bloggie! 😀

  80. Sammie says:

    Thanks Ruth!! Thanks for being such a wonderful host for the month! Your videos and recipes were great guides with perfect instructions! I had an absolutely amazing experience making the challah for my very first time! 🙂

  81. Sammie says:

    oh wow! So envious! You should definitely post up your mother-in-law’s recipe! You make it sound so delicious and tempting already!! 😀

  82. Vannessa Lee says:

    Challah look so yummy. I have nominate you for the beautiful blogger award, please pick it up from: http://vannessalee.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/beautiful-blogger-award/

  83. Sammie says:

    Thank you Vannessa! Very honoured to receive this award from you! 🙂

  84. Sammie says:

    Thank you Joanne! mmm.. After looking at this post again I have a craving to make more bread!

  85. Sammie says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog Anita! I hope you enjoy your stay here! 🙂

  86. Sammie says:

    Thanks Sally! I’m always happy when my bread turns out fluffy!! hehe..

  87. Sammie says:

    Ahh!! Yes I can imagine you’d visit Hawaii! Geographically it’s closer to Cali I guess! haha.. Plus there’s so much awesome Japanese food in Hawaii! I even thought of your blog as I was appreciating them! yummyy

  88. Sammie says:

    Yeah! Love braided breads!

  89. Sammie says:

    haha.. Thanks Juliana! Sorry for this late reply! 🙂

  90. Sammie says:

    Thanks Sonia!! I’m totally looking over all your bread recipes now and so tempted to just make ALL of them! hahaa.

  91. Freya says:

    Keep on working, great job!

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