Coffee Cake Challah Recipe

Yield: 2 large loaves

Coffee cake is one of my weakness foods, and I love an indulgent slice after fasting on Yom Kippur. This year I decided to combine two of my favorite things to bake into one beautiful and delicious treat: coffee cake challah. This makes 2 large loaves, so it is enough to serve for a large crowd or freeze one to save for later. If you freeze one, wait to add glaze until you defrost it and are ready to serve.


For the dough:

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1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur brand)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 large eggs

For the crumb topping and filling:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 1/2 sticks cold butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

1 cup chopped pecans

1 egg, beaten

For the glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons milk or almond milk


In a small bowl place yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 5-10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.

Add another 1 to 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last). Don’t add more flour then the dough needs – the less flour, the lighter the dough.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3 or 4 hours.

To make the crumb topping: Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl. Add cold butter or margarine and mix using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles crumbles. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After the challah is done rising, split the dough evenly in half. Divide each half into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a snake and then flatten. Sprinkle crumb topping inside, then pinch sides up to close. Gently roll again to seal in filling. Repeat with all pieces and then braid, forming into a circle and pinching together each end of the braid.

Repeat with second half of dough.

Place each challah on a parchment paper (or silpat) lined baking sheet.

Allow challah to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Brush on top of each challah. Top each challah with remaining crumb topping.

Bake for 25-26 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes.

Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk (or almond milk) in a small bowl. Drizzle on top of challah using small spoon.