I knew this day would come. It had to. Yet, here I am sitting amongst my packed up Sicilian kitchen trying to decide whether I’m happy or sad to be leaving. It will be good to go home. But I will sincerely miss this place.

whole wheat challah bread

I can’t point my finger to my favorite thing about it here. I don’t have a favorite food or favorite place, but I do have a favorite “feeling” that I get. And it happens every morning when Paul and I get breakfast.

whole wheat challah bread

Each morning we walk, or rather stagger, across the street to get a cappuccino and a pastry. My pastry of choice is usually a cartoccio and Paul enjoys an iris. Both are stuffed with sweet ricotta and chocolate chips and both have changed the way I think about pastry.

At home in Montreal I’m a smoothie girl. I have one for breakfast almost every day during the work week when I’m not having oatmeal, and that is just how it is. On the weekends Paul and I might cook eggs or french toast together, or we might make a fun brunch, but after living in Sicily, we’ve both decided that weekends need to be devoted to getting back into that Sicilian morning head space. A place with a fresh pastry, strong espresso, and most importantly, each other.

whole wheat challah bread

At home a pastry board awaits me, among a few ingredients shipped special from Sicily so that I can toy with some of my most loved treats I’ve had here. I can’t wait to experiment, fail a few times, and ultimately get the recipes perfected in my own cozy Montreal kitchen with the frosted winter windows, chipped tile, and aggressive yelling landlord.

whole wheat challah bread

Baking bread at home has got to be the best smell that was ever created. And so, here is a bread that does not need perfecting – it’s great the way it is. Pastry making is new to me, but bread? I’ve got it. So to begin my series of puffy doughs and gorgeous yeasty things, here is a recipe I’ve been making for a long time, only whole wheat.

whole wheat challah bread

whole wheat challah bread

The next time we chat I’ll be with family back in Canada. Wish me luck on this 15 hour flight! xx

Whole Wheat Challah Bread

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 1 challah loaf


  • 1/2 cup warm water (between 105 and 110Β°F)
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 pack) active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. To proof the yeast, place the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in the yeast. Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until a bubbly foam starts to form on the surface of the water.
  2. Add the flours, sugar, sea salt, whole eggs, egg yolk, and olive oil to the yeast and mix on low until combined. Add a little more oil if the dough doesn't come together. Turn speed to medium and knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough become mostly smooth, stretchy, and not sticky.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Place in a warm place, or in your oven with the light on to rise (about 1 hour). You want the dough to double in size.
  4. Press down on the dough to deflate and then cover, letting rise until doubled again (about 45 minutes).
  5. Pull off 1/3 of the dough (you can weigh this to be exact), set aside, and cover. Divide the remaining piece of dough into 3 equal balls.
  6. Roll each dough ball on a lightly floured surface until you have thin, round strip of doughs that are equal in length. Pinch one end of the dough strips together and begin to braid, pinching the end together when finished.
  7. Divide the smaller piece of reserved dough into 3 balls and roll and create a second braid.
  8. Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and lightly brush the top of the large braid. Set the smaller braid on top of the larger bread.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. Cover the dough with a clean dishcloth and place the pan in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush entire loaf with egg white and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bread looks nice and brown on top.
  11. Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Slice and enjoy!


Recipe adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Prep time includes allowing the dough to rise.


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32 Responses to Whole Wheat Challah Bread

  1. Safe travels! Glad you enjoyed your time (and the pastries) there! It sounds like such an incredible experience πŸ™‚

  2. Bon voyage, Katrina! This is seriously lovely bread.

  3. Safe travels! And such a beautiful challah – I’ve never thought making it with whole wheat. What a fantastic idea!

  4. I know exactly how you feel – it’s this torn feeling of sadness because you’re leaving a wonderful place but at the same time you’re happy to go back to the familiar. To me going back home felt almost like waking up from a dream! Safe travels and send an airplane the ther way to bring me some of this wonderful challah πŸ™‚

  5. Alana says:

    Believe it or not, challah is new to me (I was shocked when I learned you pronounce it HOLLAH!). This whole wheat version sounds lovely. Book marking this for a rainy day. Safe travels home. Can’t wait to see what comes next in your pastry series!

  6. I’m a smoothie girl also. My day isn’t complete without one. This bread is beautiful and safe travels home.

  7. Mmm the best breads I find are usually the easiest, humblest ones, this sounds perfect! I hope you have a great journey back πŸ™‚ All the best, and I’ll be looking forward to see what you have in store for the blog next πŸ˜€ Those Sicilian ingredients sound great! x

  8. wow, what a beautiful and calming bread. happy returns to Canada… it’s always exciting, and bittersweet, to come home after travelling. and thank you for introducing me to some delightful Sicilian pastries… I’ve never heard of an iris before!

  9. what a beautiful oaf of bread!

  10. Travel safely! This loaf of challah looks beautiful!

  11. Kathryn says:

    Have a safe trip back to Canada! I’ve loved following along with your Sicilian adventures and I look forward to seeing what comes out of your kitchen at home, inspired by all your travels.

  12. Have a great trip home! This challah looks amazing, and I love that it’s whole wheat. I agree, baking bread is most definitely the best smell ever, I think that’s the part I love most about making bread! I can’t wait to see these pastry recipes you come up with, that’s one of those things that I would love to experiment with too, but haven’t gotten to it yet!

    • katrina says:

      I’m really excited to start pastry baking. It’s going to be a total disaster at first, but I hope to get it eventually!!

  13. Nanny says:

    So happy you arrived safe and sound . See you on the 21st and you can try out the bread and pastry while your up ( hint , hint )

  14. Karishma says:

    Bon voyage! It must be a very bittersweet moment for you heading back. Can’t wait to see what sort of pastries you come up with πŸ™‚

    My boyfriend is Jewish, and his mom makes an amazing whole wheat challah. Yours looks just as delicious!

  15. i enjoyed reading your experience in Europe – thank you for sharing that πŸ™‚ I bet living Sicily is a bittersweet feeling but at the same time, you must be excited to come home…this challah looks very good, i have a soft spot for them and im in love with this whole wheat version. have you considered filling them with brown sugar and cinnamon?

  16. Katrina, wishing you safe travels back home. . what fun it has been “being” in Sicily with you and Paul. . I love that you guys decided to devote the weekends to that Sicilian morning head space. . . fresh pastry, strong espresso, and time with each other. so sweet and special!! Well, I know it’s bittersweet but happy for you that you will be home and back in your kitchen and with family again.

  17. Baking bread is so therapeutic. I’m in need of some therapy so I’ll be baking this tonight. I know when I traveled abroad it was equally as incredible as it was hard. I hope you have time to rest when you arrive home. Safe travels.

  18. CakeSpy says:

    holla for this challah!! It looks absolutely perfect!!!

  19. I thought my 6 hour flight to Vancouver was long. Good luck on your flight!
    I have always wanted to make challah bread. This looks SO good!

  20. Amanda says:

    This looks wonderful! Have a great trip πŸ™‚

  21. Ashley says:

    I can’t believe you’re already heading home! It seems like you were just leaving! Safe flight back!

    And this bread is just gorgeous!

  22. Wishing you lots of luck as you transition back to life in Canada! I’m glad that you have some Sicilian goodies waiting for you at home πŸ™‚ This challah looks so gorgeous–cozy and homey, the best parts of anything homemade!

  23. JulieD says:

    Your bread looks gorgeous!!

  24. Joanne says:

    I feel like a bit of a failure of an Italian since I’ve never even heard of these sweet treats! Shame on me. Challah, on the other hand, is an old favorite. Your loaf is crazy beautiful!

  25. cavoletto says:

    This challah looks beautiful! Hope you stuffed quite some Bronte pistachios in your suitcase! Have a safe flight back! πŸ™‚

  26. Sugar et al. says:

    What a beautiful loaf of bread! Hope you had a safe trip back home.

  27. Have a safe flight home! I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures in Italy and looking forward to your Italian inspired pastry posts in the future!!! This Challah is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s!!

  28. Sarah says:

    This is a beautiful beautiful bread! I love that it’s whole wheat too. Safe travels!

  29. cynthia says:

    Your time in Sicily just sounds so dreamy. So glad that you had a good trip — and oh my gosh, this challah!!! So, so beautiful, and I love that it’s whole wheat! I can also never get enough of how pretty the cloud-shaped slices are… that loaf is braided gorgeousness all the way!

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