Recipe for Multi-seeded Fennel-flavoured Challah, recipe by Joan Nathan, from The Recipe by Josh Emett and cookbook & Zabar’s favorite bread knife giveaway

Cookbook review by Tracey Zabar

Here is a delightful challah that will amaze your Friday night guests. It’s easy to make—you just have to be around to let the bread rise. How lucky we are to have our friend, Joan Nathan, teach us how to bake this treat. Our favorite marmalade and strawberry jams are the perfect accoutrement for a weekend French toast, made from the leftover challah—if there is any left over! The rest of the book is bursting with recipes for all kinds of food that will keep you cooking for a long time. Try the pizza, gingerbread, and carrot cakes. Our giveaway this week is a copy of The Recipe and Zabar's favorite bread knife.

Enter to win The Recipe and Zabar's favorite bread knife! Just send us an email at with the subject "The Recipe" and you'll be entered to win. The winner will be selected randomly on 9/26/19 and will be contacted by email. For an extra chance to win, refer a friend. (Note: The Recipe cookbook and Zabar’s 8" bread knife can be sent to the 50 United States and DC, age 18+ only.)

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Multi-seeded Fennel Flavoured Challah

Complexity moderate
Prep time 20 minutes, plus proofing time
Cook time 45 Minutes
Makes 2


1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp plus 1/2 cup (70 g) sugar
1/2 cup (80 ml) vegetable or rapeseed / canola oil
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds, divided
6 to 7 1/2 cups (750 to 940 g) unbleached all-purpose / plain flour, plus more as needed
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp roasted sesame seeds


In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) lukewarm water. Using the paddle attachment, stir the oil into the yeast mixture, then add 2 eggs, one at a time, the remaining sugar, the salt, and 2 teaspoons fennel seeds. Switch to the dough hook and gradually add 6 cups (750 g) flour, kneading for about 5 minutes and adding more flour as needed to make a slightly sticky, smooth and elastic dough.

Grease a large bowl, turn the dough into it and put the greased side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or refrigerate for a few hours overnight.

When the dough has almost doubled, punch it down, remove it to a lightly floured counter, knead it briefly until smooth, and divide it in half. Roll each piece into a cylinder about 27 in (70 cm) long, making sure there are no seams in the dough, and cut each into 3 pieces. Braid each loaf, and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet at least 4 in (10 cm) apart. You can also twist the loaves into a circle if you like; the dough is very malleable. 

Beat the remaining egg and egg yolk together and brush about half the mixture on the loaves, reserving the rest. Let the dough rise, uncovered, for another 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator. 

If dough has been refrigerated, bring it to room temperature. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and either combine in a small bowl or keep separate the remaining fennel seeds and the poppy and sesame seeds. Brush the loaves with egg again and sprinkle with seeds, making your own design. 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden and firm when tapped with a spatula. Cool on a rack.


Key element: Work on getting the proofing right, have a nice warm room or set your oven to proof if it has that feature.

Tip: Add enough flour so that it just comes away from the bowl.

Excerpted with permission from The Recipe (Rizzoli) by Josh Emett, photographs by Kieran E. Scott.


Tracey Zabar's Chocolate Chip Sweets: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes is available here.

A delectable collection of innovative chocolate chip recipes by world-renowned chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers

Tracey Zabar's One Sweet Cookie Cookbook is available here.

A delicious collection of cookie recipes from extraordinary chefs, pastry chefs, and bakers. A great gift sure to delight anyone who loves to bake.
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