Sourdough Challah - Yudane Method

by - January 18, 2021

Sourdough Challah (Yudane Method)

Sourdough Challah (Soft and Moist)

I have wanted to bake a Challah style Bread for a long time.  It took me a while because I was concerned that the bread may turn out dry (I have never had Challah before though, so I don't have any frame of reference). I was also not sure about how to braid.

I did a lot of research online and came out with my own recipe using the Yudane method.  The reason I incorporated Yudane method into this recipe is because bread using this method is soft and stays fresh longer compared with straight dough method. This is not the traditional way of making Challah as I understand there are certain ritual requirements associated with how it's made and consumed.

Yudane method is quite similar to Tangzhong (water-roux) method.  Both methods are scalding methods. For the Yudane method, boiling water is used to scald the flour instead of cooking over the fire. Please click here to see the differences between  Yudane vs Tangzhong Method. 

This non-traditional Sourdough Challah recipe has a texture that is firm, chewy, moist and soft.  However, it is not as soft and moist as the Sourdough white bread that I usually made because this Challah recipe uses less hydration.   

It is advisable to read the below general notes before starting baking.


For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.  This happen especially to Yudane dough method.   I noticed that it is harder to achieve a very thin window pane  with Yudane method dough. 

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. 

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.

A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.  It is advisable to feed your starter daily if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  

If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.

I used more levain (sourdough starter) in my soft bread recipe to get less sourness taste. This sounds weird right? More starter will make the dough rise faster and less time needed for the dough to digest and produce acids. The acids give the sourness taste. In resulting less acids produce and bread become less sour.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.

Recipe - Sourdough Challah (Yudane Method)

Yields:  One 5 Strands Braided Challah


100 bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
100g boiling water

Stiff Levain (50% hydration):
80g active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
80g Japan High Gluten Flour
20g water 

Main Dough:
280g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All yudane dough (above)
All stiff levain (above)
38g honey or brown sugar (I used honey)
7.5g (1 1/2 tsp) salt
105g eggs, whisked (about 2 large eggs)
15g water water 
50g vegetable oil (I used extra virgin coconut oil)

Egg Wash:  
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, whisked

1 baking tray lined with parchment paper.

  1. Yudane (Day 1 @ 10.00 am):
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I prepared in the morning and used in the evening.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Stiff Levain (Day 1 @ 6.00 pm)
    1. Mix all ingredients in a jar and cover.
    2. Let it ferment in room temperature (28C - 30C) until tripled.  This one took about 3.5 hours. It depends how strong is your starter and your temperature ambient.
  3. Main Dough (Day 1 @ 10.00 pm)
    1. Put all ingredients (except oil), including all the stiff levain and all yudane dough into a bowl of stand mixer.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for about 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  The dough is slightly dry compared with other soft bread dough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in coconut oil in 3 batches and knead until the coconut oil incorporate with the dough.  I used No.1 speed (KA) at the beginning and slowly change to No.2 - 3 speed (KA).  It took quite a while about 10 minutes for the oil to blend into the dough. Once the oil is well incorporated with the dough,  then continue kneading for another 4 - 6 minutes (approx.) or until reach window pane stage. I noticed that it is harder to achieve a very thin window pane  with Yudane method dough sometimes. It could be due to the gelatinization of its starch.  It is fine if your window pane is not very thin as long as you have kneaded the dough long enough. During the whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  4. 1st Proof (Day 1 @ 10.45 pm):
    1. Shape the dough into a ball and place back in the same bowl,  cover with cling film or the lid.  Let the dough retard in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours in the fridge.  I retarded for 12 hours.
  5. Shaping and 2nd Proofing (Day 2 @ 10.45 am)
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 5 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball.  Flatten with rolling pin. Roll each dough like a swiss roll into into a rope about 16.5" long. 
    2. Please watch the video how to braid 5 strands challah.
    3. Place 5 strands braided challah in a prepared baking tray. 
    4. Brush with egg wash.
    5. I made a mark with a pencil about 1.5 cm away from the original size of the dough on both sides.  Let it proof at a warm place until the dough rise double in size or when it reaches the pencil mark.   This one took approximately 4 hours at room temperature of 28C - 30C.
  6. Baking (Day 2 @ 4.00 pm):
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash again.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Rotate the tray half way if necessary for evenly baked.
    4. Remove challah from oven and let them cool on rack completely.

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  1. Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe. Hope you will like it.

      Happy baking :)

  2. Hi, the challah looks great. I really want to try this, but I have a question regarding the water quantity in the main dough. Is only 15 g, is this correct? Thank you

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe and your question. Yes it is about 15g. Because some water is used in yudane dough. However, you may need slightly more or less depend on the flour you used.

      Cheers and happy baking :)

  3. i really like your recipes, especially the sourdough ones! however, as i see pretty much all your recipes involved a stand mixer, is there any ways i can still make your recipes without one? :(

  4. hi! i really like your recipes, especially the sourdough ones! But i see that most of your recipes involved a stand mixer, which I don't have :( is there any ways I can still try your recipes without one?

    1. Hi, thanks for reading my recipes and visiting Bake with Paws. Yes, it is still possible with hand kneading for bread recipes. But this Challah recipe maybe a bit hard. You can watch some youtube tutorial using hand kneading. Unfortunately, I am not good with hand kneading.

      Cheers :)

  5. Hi! Thanks for the recipe. Your site is awesome. Regards from Spain.

    I have not found the mentioned video of how to braid the Challah. Where is it?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards, Eduardo.

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this recipe.

      The video is located below the 3rd image on the above post. You can see the title "How To Braid 5 Strands Challah"

      Can you please check again?

      Best regards,
      from Malaysia :)

  6. Hi, thanks! I confirm you that there is no video at all (nor player nor link). I have found in YouTube a video that looks the one you are direcing us:

    Is this one?

    Many Thanks. Eduardo.

    1. Hi, yes this is the my youtube. Very weird, I can see my end here.
      Sorry about this.

      Cheers and happy baking :)
      Stay safe...