Challah Mummy’s pesto sunflower Challah

Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 04:05

  • Makes: 1
  • Cooking Time: 25 mins
  • Course: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: East European


  • For the Challah:
  • 1.5 kilos of plain flour (approx)
  • 1.5 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 portion of fresh yeast (appro. 40g, otherwise 1 tbsp of active dried yeast)
  • 4-6 tbsp of caster sugar (plus one more tsp to mix in with the yeast)
  • 2 eggs (plus one more egg white for the egg wash)
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • Quarter cup of sunflower oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • For the pesto:
  • 2 good handfuls of fresh basil
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Dissolve the yeast and teaspoon of sugar in the lukewarm water. Once bubbles start to appear, add about a third of the flour, followed by the two eggs, the rest of the sugar, the salt and the oil.

2. Combine the mixture by hand, adding flour little by little until a big ball of dough is formed which isn’t too sticky (the whole 1.5 kilos may not be required). Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and knead the dough about for 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of flour if it gets too sticky again, before placing it in a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling film to rise for about an hour and a half or until it has doubled in size.

3. While the dough is rising, whizz up the pesto by mixing the fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan and seasoning in a hand blender.

4. Once the dough has risen, divide it into three roughly equal portions and roll each piece out round and flat (like a pizza base) using the rolling pin. Place the first dough circle on a sheet of baking paper and spoon out half of the pesto all over the dough. Place the second dough circle down on top of the first dough circle and then spoon out the remaining pesto all over it. Place the third dough circle on top of the second dough circle and put an upturned ordinary kitchen glass in the centre of the circle.

5. Using a sharp knife, cut from the edge of the glass outwards and right down through the dough to the outer edge of the circle in the positions of 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock around the circle. The dough should now be cut into four pieces but held together in the middle under the upturned kitchen glass. Now cut each of the four pieces in half (again from the edge of the glass outwards and down) and then divide those eight pieces in half again so that the dough is cut into 16 pieces but held together in the middle under the glass.

6. Then take the glass off and hold one of the 16 pieces before twisting it round on itself a couple of times and placing it back down on the baking paper. Repeat this twisting motion for each of the other 15 pieces of dough.

7. Finally, egg wash the dough using the egg white all over for a golden finish, sprinkle some sunflower seeds in the centre circle (where the glass had been) and bake at the bottom of the oven for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees.