Announcements, Recipe

fig, olive oil and sea salt challah

Last week, this little url turned six years old, though I am absolutely, unequivocally certain that the day I started typo-ing typing away here was a lifetime ago. I’d been married for almost a year. I was terrified to cook most things without a recipe. I kind of hated my day job (but loved my coworkers — still!). And this little guy — more on him next week — well, he wasn’t even a glimmer in our (still well-rested) eyes yet. While some things haven’t changed (for example, I have no idea what the buttons on my camera do, still), 801 recipes and over 151,000 comments later, I am fairly certain that what comes next is the last place I’d imagined this conversation going back then. And yet:

eggs, olive oil, honey, sea salt, yeast

Over the years, I have occasionally written about cooking too much of something and have invited you to come over and help us with the feast, because wouldn’t it be fun if we could all cram in my tiny kitchen together and hang out? I realize you’ve probably thought I was joking. Obviously, throwing a huge party in a kitchen that barely fits me and the toddler-mounted trike that’s always in there anyway would be a disaster. But the thing is, I wasn’t. I just didn’t let the logistical implausibility in any way diminish my insistence that, given the chance, I think we’d all get along famously.

dough hook, kneading away

Which brings me to The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Book Tour [Sorry, this date has long since passed!]: As it turns out, we can hang out and cook and chat, even if we can’t do it in my pathetically tiny kitchen. I am so excited about this part; I have joked more than once that it’s the entire reason I wrote a book. Plus, it’s important that you see before your own eyes what a complete and total normal person super-professional grown-up dork I am.

So, without further ado, let me direct you over to the Events & Book Tour Page, and then, I do hope you’ll hurry right back because this bread, it’s kind of a big deal.

perfectly risen
dividing the dough, like a mouth

There are recipes in the book that showed up in my head long before there was even a book proposal and others that I added when I realized that (gasp!) a cookbook deserved a beloved grilled cheese sandwich and that I totally forgot to tell you about this chocolate pie my mom used to make. I love both groups of recipes but I have a extra level of sentimentality attached to the first ones. This idea of a fig, olive oil, and sea salt challah came to me one day when my tiny (!) newborn Jacob had fallen asleep in my arms again and like all silly new mamas, I felt a little bummed because there was so much I’d hope to get done but I was now glued in place for a while. It lived in the back of my head through all those early sleepless nights and the flummoxed daytimes when I thought, “No way I am ever going to have time to cook again.” And about six months later, when I finally had the chance to make it happen, I sprung forth into the kitchen and, well, I’d like to tell you it was a home run. All of that pining had to amount to something, right?

rolling out into a big, flat misshape
fig paste inserted

The challah always tasted good, but there were logistical challenges across the board as tried to figure out how to insert figs into a challah without dotting the dough with unpleasant fig lumps or having such an elaborate assembly that nobody would ever bother with it. I even put it down for several months, concluding that not all premonitions that come to you while on human crib duty are meant to be. And then last year, I made you an Apple and Honey Challah and figuring the logistics of apple-ing up that challah is what finally made the fig version click for me. Finishing the challah from there was a cinch. Okay, I lied. It still took four more rounds. I began showing up at preschool drop-off with gigantic, still warm-from-the-oven challahs to dump on the other parents because I could no longer fit them in my kitchen.

woven challah beginningweaving the challah, 2weaving the challah, 3weaving the challah, 4weaving the challah, 5all tucked and ready to go

But, it had a happy ending. This may not be a challah our grandparents may recognize, it may even be a little risky to suggest that one would shirk tradition (often, round raisin challahs for the New Year) for something with a little imported sea salt, but I will go out on a limb for this challah. I think it’s worth it. And should any of it survive the evening meal, I want you to know that its leftovers make the finest French toast we’ve yet to have — especially good with a hint of orange zest, drizzle of warm honey and dollop of fresh ricotta on top.

fig, olive oil and sea salt challah
fig swirled challah, sliced
fig, olive oil and sea salt challah

Cookbook previews, previously: For those of you following along at home, this is a third preview from the cookbook. The first was the Cinnamon Toast French Toast. The second, for Leek-Vegetables with Lemon Cream appeared in a New York Times article a couple months ago (in the book, they’re leek fritters; in the newspaper, they have other vegetables too and are absolutely stunning). And this is the third. Now, I realize from the two previews on this site make it seem like the book is nothing but sweet stuff, but the split is more like 1/3-2/3, leaning towards the savory. The next preview will include one of my favorite fall dinner recipes.

One year ago: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Two years ago: Linguine with Tomato-Almond Pesto
Three years ago: Chocolate Pudding Pie
Four years ago: The Baked Brownie, Spiced Up
Five years ago: Lemon Layer Cake
Six years ago: Key Lime Tartlets and Romaine Pesto and Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes

Fig, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah

New note (2018): Feel free to use instant yeast here instead of active dry. Use the same amount and then skip the warm water step (room temperature is fine); it’s not necessary with instant yeast. I do find that the first rise can take longer, but after that, the rising times even out. Let me know how it goes for you if you use it.

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet — 1/4 ounce or 7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 to 116 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Fig Filling
  • 1 cup (5 1/2 ounces or 155 grams) stemmed and roughly chopped dried figs
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, or more as desired
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Few grinds black pepper
  • Egg wash
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse or flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

To make dough with a stand mixer: Whisk the yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into warm water, and let it stand for a few minutes, until foamy. In a large mixer bowl, combine the yeast mixture with remaining honey, 1/3 cup olive oil, and eggs. Add the salt and flour, and mix until dough begins to hold together. Switch to a dough hook, and run at low speed for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to an olive-oil coated bowl (or rest the dough briefly on the counter and oil your mixer bowl to use for rising, so that you’ll use fewer dishes), cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.

To make the dough by hand: Proof the yeast as directed above. Mix the wet ingredients with a whisk, then add the salt and flour. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together. Turn the mixture out onto a floured counter, and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, until a smooth and elastic dough is formed. Let rise as directed above.

Meanwhile, make fig paste: In a small saucepan, combine the figs, zest, water, juice, salt, and a few grinds of black peper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the figs are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and let cool to lukewarm. Process fig mixture in a food processor until it resembles a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Set aside to cool.

Insert figs: After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured counter and divide it in half. Roll the first half of the dough into a wide and totally imperfect rectangle (really, the shape doesn’t matter). Spread half the fig filling evenly over the dough, stopping short of the edge. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as wide as feels comfortable (I take mine to my max counter width, a pathetic three feet), and divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and fig filling.

Weave your challah: Arrange two ropes in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a tight tic-tac-toe board. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet. So, now you’ve got an eight-legged woven-headed octopus. Take the four legs that come from underneath the center and move the leg to their right — i.e., jumping it. Take the legs that were on the right and, again, jump each over the leg before, this time to the left. If you have extra length in your ropes, you can repeat these left-right jumps until you run out of rope. Tuck the corners or odd bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.

Transfer the dough to a parchment-cover heavy baking sheet, or, if you’ll be using a bread stone, a baker’s peel. Beat egg until smooth, and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour, but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375°F.

Bake your loaf: Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in middle of oven for 35 to 40 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed; if yours starts getting too dark too quickly, cover it with foil for the remainder of the baking time. The very best way to check for doneness is with an instant-read thermometer — the center of the loaf should be 195 degrees.

Cool loaf on a rack before serving. Or, well, good luck with that.

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815 comments on fig, olive oil and sea salt challah

    1. deb

      merry — Like all New Yorkers, I would be delighted to spend the winter months in Florida. :) The schedule could grow from here, so I’ll definitely keep everyone posted.

  1. Geralyn

    I’ve never been more sad that my husband made us move away from home sweet home (Napa) than I am right now. I would be first in line at that stop! Good luck and congratulations!

  2. Alice C.

    SO EXCITED! I am almost tempted to drive two hours to go to the Napa signing… and then still go to the SF one too. And that challah looks delicious, as always.

  3. Your challah is gorgeous, Deb! Such a beautiful work of art – I love the circular braiding method, I’m absolutely going to try this one out! I’m thrilled that you’ll be in Portland – Can’t wait to hear you talk in person about food and experience, what a treat!

    1. Eleanor

      Hi Deb! I loved this recipe when it first came out and have recently come back to it. But my last two attempts have totally failed. The dough is not becoming smooth and elastic in the first step and it all goes to sh*t from there. I tried first in a mixer and next by hand. Am I not mixing long enough??

        1. Eleanor

          Thanks for responding! Such a big fan of you and the blog!! It feels dense and almost dry and crumbly. Almost like pie crust or cookie dough (not that extreme, it’s still bread dough — just to give you an idea). Weird! Add moisture?

          1. Sarah

            Did you figure out what was wrong with your dough? Having the same problem and it is not rising either. Do not remember this being a problem for me last time I made it.

    1. deb

      Sara — I have no idea if there will be a UK or Europe tour, but, it wouldn’t be in this leg. It would fall under the jurisdiction of the book’s UK/Australian publishers, Square Peg. They are releasing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook in February, 2013. I will keep information about it on the book’s main information page, so stay tuned.

      Maria — Such a great question as they’re in season now. What you’re trying to get is a thick paste of figs. I am sure you can get that from fresh figs too, with some cooking down, adding sugar or flavorings as you wish.

  4. Ohmygoodness! Holla for the Challa!! I bet this is remarkable in a savory bread pudding as well, though I suspect thatonce made as french toast the next morning there will be no going back! Congratulationson the book tour, I am so looking forward to reading it myself!!!:)

    1. Sara Slish

      Has anyone experimented with fresh figs? I did this last year with fig preserves and it started out slimey and moist but was absolutely incredible when it came out of the oven. Couldn’t stop eating it.

  5. OMG I am so excited for your cookbook – I’ve already told my husband that it’s on my list for Hanukkah.

    Also I WILL be at the event in Beverly Hills – traffic on a Friday from Orange County? I may need a good audio book during the drive and a mighty martini after, but I will SO be there!

  6. A few things:

    1) If you get to do a Round 2 on the book tour would you please-oh-please lobby your publisher for a St. Louis stop? I would be there with bells on, I promise!

    2) If I am either a) lazy, or b) not experienced in the fresh-fig-selection department, could I swap fig preserves for the paste that your recipe includes? Perhaps I could pulse the preserves with the OJ, zest, salt, and pepper for a reasonable facsimile? Or would it be too sweet? Thoughts?

    3) I LOVED the apple challah from last year and if you’ve never eaten it alongside beer cheese soup (I think I used the recipe from the Wm-Sonoma site) then you’re missing out.

  7. Kaitlin

    Freaking out! I’m not just going to come and hang out and listen to you talk once, but twice. New York and Toronto. I’ll be like a groupie, except that I might bring you food. Do groupies do that?

  8. avis

    New Orleans is a lovely city that LOVES food. Wouldn’t you like to have an excuse to visit? I could bring beignets to the signing if that would help?

  9. Melissa

    Not going to lie, your cookbook coming out is one of the things I’ve looked forward to the most this year (and I had a baby in June, so that should kinda show you how warped my priorities are). Now I am totally nerding out that you’ll be in Texas!!

  10. Is there an ingredient missing? When you list fig paste ingredients, water isn’t on the list, but in the instructions about making fig paste, you say combine figs, zest, water, juice….but how much water?

    1. deb

      Lacey — Sorry, now fixed! It’s 1/2 cup of water with the figs. Fortunately, the error is *not* in the cookbook itself.

      Did I mention the book is right here next to me? Two arrived back from the printer. It’s kind of crazy. :)

      megj — Fig jam would be more sweet and thinner but if you don’t mind that, no reason not to use it instead.

  11. sarahjrslm

    So, I was seriously inspired this year to get a head start and have already made my Challah for Sunday night! But I might just have to try this one too…it will depend on how ambitious I feel…And if you are planning an Israel stop on your book tour, I would love to talk up all of my favorite food locations in this wonderful tiny country!

  12. megj

    This looks great! In fact, I think I’ll make it tomorrow night! Would substituting fig jam for the fig puree be too sweet? I have a fig and orange jam languishing in my refrigerator and this seems like the perfect use for it.

  13. Oh my, this challah looks gorgeous. My fig-loving husband would go crazy if I made this for him! I’m fortunately in the Chicago area, so I’ve put the date on the calendar already and am going to start arranging my schedule now!

  14. sharon

    Thank you so much for using grams & measuring cups… I never knew how much that would matter until I moved here to Barcelona. And why does it have to be a provincial holiday today… when i can’t go and buy any of these ingredients to start NOW…

    I can’t wait to try this!

  15. jenny

    not sure about my own travel schedule this fall, but I will either see you in NYC, or at the coolidge corner signing in boston. YES! as for this challah, oh wow. I can’t wait to get started. I see someone else asked a similar question to the one I’m about to, but since you haven’t responded yet, I don’t feel horrible about reiterating. I have a jar of trader joe’s fig butter in my cabinet, looking for a use. is it sacrilege to use something like this? do you think it would be too runny and/or the wrong flavor?

  16. Emily

    You’re coming to Houston! Oh man! How exciting!! (Thankfully the weather is quite pleasant during December) And a new challah recipe just in time for Rosh Hashanah. Now I have the perfect gift for my hosts. Thank you, Deb!

  17. Ann

    This is so exciting! I’ll keep my eye on the tour list and hope it expands to Minneapolis. Or maybe I’ll plan a trip around one of the stops!

  18. I would love to get a signed copy of your book! Its the only reason that I didn’t pre-order it.

    Your blog was one of the first ones that I started reading years ago and one of the reasons that I started my own blog.. which lead to my baking column in the Globe and Mail and so many other fun things. And through everything and all the wonderful blogs that I’ve found Smitten Kitchen still remains my very favorite.

    Trying to see if I can get over to Vancouver to the cooking demo stop!

  19. Adrianne

    This challah looks amazing! I was already planning on making the apple and honey challah again this weekend, but I may have to make this as well! I know there are many varieties of fig jams out there, but is jam not necessarily the right consistency if I might not have time to make the paste?

  20. There aren’t very many cookbooks I buy, because I am cheap and I always figure I can just check them out at the library and enjoy them for a while.
    But yours will be one I buy.
    And I will find a babysitter for my 4 kids, brave the LA traffic, and come see you in Beverly Hills and have you sign it, OK?
    Because I love your blog, I love your recipes, I love your writing voice and the stories you tell about food.
    I love the way you inspire me by your story of just plunging in and doing this thing you were kind of afraid to do.
    Also, if you were to look at my blog, you;d see I have lots and lots of posts where I’ve used your recipes.
    I owe you much more than buying a cookbook, but it’s a good place to start.
    Can’t wait to see you in November!
    Love from,

  21. Kristin

    Wow, what a beautiful loaf of bread. For some ridiculous reason, the only time I make chalah is for our local fair…where you have to enter the whole loaf. I really should make some I can actually eat. I wonder where I might find dried figs…or some worthy substitute.
    And book signing has been put on the calender. Yeah, for being in the morning. I might actually be able to make it!

  22. Shannon

    What a tease! Not only are neither of the “Chicago” locations actually in Chicago, they are each 45 min to an hour away! I’m so bummed! I saw the 1pm time first, and had even thought maybe I could take a couple hours off of work to swing by if it was in Chicago proper. I hope you do come and visit us in actual Chicago sometime soon. It’s a great city. I guess I’ll have to stick with waiting anxiously for my pre-ordered copy to arrive in the mail!

  23. I am shocked, SHOCKED! and deeply saddened that Syracuse is not included on the book tour. I kid, I kid. Well, not about the saddened part. At least I pre-ordered the book so it’ll arrive on my doorstep soon! So incredibly happy for you, Deb. Many congratulations. You’ve made my (and I”m sure countless other) kitchens a better place. Here’s to a blog that creates a lot of happiness!

  24. Damia

    Beautiful challah!! Definitely something I’d love to try!

    And I’m super excited for your book and so so sad that you’re not coming to STL! Argh! Why did we have to move away from Portland – home of all things I love and where all people visit?!!?

    Congrats on the book and your upcoming tour! :)

  25. Susan

    I love the swirls in this bread and am so glad you chose figs for the filling. It’s fig season here now and I think I’ll hunt down a fresh fig paste recipe to use. I’ve made both of your other challah breads and they were well received by my family.

    Santa Cruz or San Francisco..which to choose, which to choose! How lucky am I to even get a choice! Santa Cruz is 25 miles closer but a more treacherous drive over the hill at night from San Jose, so I’ll most likely brave the parking in SF! Yay..I’ll get to meet you in person…at last!

  26. I really enjoyed reading this beautiful post. Congratulations on the 6th year of blogging …. and your book, which I can’t wait to get my hands on! Looking forward to meeting you on November 12!
    This Challah looks divine! Have to try making it soon.

    1. deb

      savorysaltysweet — Thank you. I desperately wanted to make an animated gif of it because it looks so cool when you go through them quickly but the last time I made one, people freaking out about the distraction of a moving picture. Which I agree with. But still! :)

  27. Diana

    We have a fig tree (Adriatic) and make fig jam every year. One of the best things to do with fig jam is fig rolls, like cinnamon rolls but with fig jam instead. As long as you roll out the rectangle thin enough, the ratio of fig to bread is perfect. Top with a lemon glaze and it’s perfection. For serious. This recipe sounds really similar, and i will most certainly try this at some point.

  28. Sharon

    Please, oh please, consider adding Atlanta to your tour! We love to cook (and your recipes and photos) down here too! I can’t wait to get a copy of the book. I’ve never tackled Challah before but I’m not going to be with family this year for Rosh Hashanah so I might just have time to give it a try!

  29. mad

    Deb – mazel tov, shana tova, and thank you for yet another irresistible recipe. But why no Colorado stop on the tour? We here in the Rockies love us some smittenkitchen, too!

  30. I am so excited for your cookbook that I might die. I have already marked both Washington dates down in my planner. Also, this bread looks amazing. The braid photos are beyond gorgeous. I don’t even think I’ve ever had challah, but I may need to make this.

  31. I just started following you recently and your recipes are foolproof. Big fan. Will be making my first Challah for the new year. Will see you Nov. 5 too! Where are you eating in Portland. Lots of great choices…

  32. By November, I will be on my annual attempt to make the perfect cuccidatti. I plan on comparing your fig filling with the one I use for the cookies (which is delicious). Please expect me at one of the two Boston events with a cuccidatti version of the challah. It will be deliciousness!

  33. Katie

    So excited and congratulations, although dang, I know Minnesota gets cold, but no love for a Minneapolis stop?! We love you up here! We’re a foodie city! We’re so often overlooked :(

  34. lib

    hi Deb! this challah looks fantastic! just noticed a typo (or an extra word?) in this sentence: “Take the four legs that come from underneath the center and move the move the leg to their right — i.e., jumping it.”

    also, you say the best way to check for doneness is an instant-read thermometer, but for those of us without thermometers, what do you recommend?

    1. deb

      llb — Thanks, now fixed. Without a thermometer, the baking time should be accurate. Some people like to tap the bread underneath and listen for a hollow sound, but it can take a little practice to know exactly what you’re looking for. I think a long tester or skewer can be helpful. It should come out clean, of course, but also, you want to make sure there’s no doughy resistence in the middle. Were the tester to hit dough/an uncooked center, you’d probably feel that it was springy or tighter. A skewer going into a baked loaf of bread should go through fairly easily. The figs could throw this off if there’s an area where they are thicker, but between the hollow test and the skewer and the baking time, you should have a couple extra layers of insurance of doneness.

  35. Lovely and perfect timing. I just cooked down a bunch of figs and am thinking of adapting this to my zopf recipe – it may not be challah, but my swiss heritage won’t let me budge from making a zopf ;)

  36. Alexis

    I think “Meanwhile, make FIX paste” should be “Meanwhile, make FIG paste” (although when I attempt to make this – and I will, this weekend – I think the word “FIX” will come up quite often) ;) Thank you for all the amazing recipes!

  37. Your challah bread recipe has been my go-to recipe for challah for already quite some time. I follow it to the letter and it always comes out perfectly.
    Having said that I can’t really wait to try this variation. It looks delicious!

  38. I wish it wasn’t going to be 95 degrees out today because oh, do I want to make this! Don’t be surprised if I show up in all of your California stops. Because I live near LA and my sister in Santa Cruz has been wanting me to visit and if I’m already all the way up there I might as well hit Napa and San Fran.

  39. Sudeep

    Hi Deb, I’m curious–some recipes (including yours) use bread flour, which I like for the nice texture it gives. Do you know if bread flour is substitutable here? or should I quit rocking the boat and just stick to the all-purpose?

  40. liz

    I am actually free for the night you will be in Philly! Since the is the blog I recommend to all my friends when they want recipe ideas from me I hope I can get a group of them to come too!

  41. Iris

    This looks delicious Deb! And, I can hardly wait to see you in NY as well as SF. I think you meant to say “fig paste” instead of “fix paste.” I, too, use your best challah recipe, and I’ve also made the apple challah bread. Both are foolproof and delicious!

  42. Kate

    I’m so thrilled you’re coming to Portland. I’ve been a loyal reader for many years, have the book pre-ordered and am writing this on my calendar as we speak!

  43. Julia

    I have a bunch of dried apricots I’ve been trying to use up- any thoughts on this substitution/what other flavors would work with them?

  44. Amy TH

    Deb –
    I am SUPER excited you’re coming to DC!! And especially to see you working with the independent Politics and Prose instead of [insert name of chain here]. Can’t wait to meet you in person. I feel like we know each other already since we cook “together” so often… You didn’t know we could both fit into one of the tiniest kitchens in the world did you? Mazel tov!!

  45. Wow, I looked at your Tour schedule – that’s a lot of traveling you’ll be doing in the next couple of months. Are you coming to Arizona by any chance? We too, like Florida, have a really welcoming weather coming up. Your bread looks delicious. I’ve been making my own bread in the last 2 months, but I haven’t ventured out of bread machine yet.

  46. Deb, this looks magical, like I want to eat it everyday for the rest of my life magical. But I’ve never made bread before, which, truthfully, kinda scares me. But, maybe, just maybe, I’ll give it a shot. On a day off. When I can pour over every one of your details. CAN.NOT.WAIT.TO.SEE.YOU.IN.AUSTIN!!!!

  47. Liz

    Please, please, PRETTY PLEASE come to Madison, Ct! It’s home to one of the best independent bookstores around (R.J. Julia Booksellers) and I know you’ll have a big turnout – why, they might have to open up the high school auditorium to fit your fans. I’m not to lazy to go to Darien,CT, it’s just that it’s on my wedding anniversary!

    1. deb

      Requests for additional cities — Feel free to keep them coming. I am quite certain that my book tour planners extraordinaire (my publisher) are reading along. :)

      coleen — I have a note on the book tour page about this, but it’s at the bottom so I’ll copy it here: “* Occasionally, stores will require an in-store purchase for you to have your book signed. I will do my best to denote any of the stores where I know these policies exist with an asterisk. If you have any further questions, it will be best to contact the stores directly as they will be the most familiar with their policies.” I hope that makes it as easy as possible.

      Essentially, I know many of you preordered the book (thank you!) and will try my very best to give you a heads-up if a signing will be at a store that requires an in-store purchase to have you book signed. Definitely check back to the page as the event gets closer, and it never hurts to call the store directly to find out. Thanks!

  48. Oh! Wish of wishes that you would come to North Carolina! (Or south! Or Virginia! Or DC!) The challah bread looks divine (of course) and my head is reeling with the prospect of have your book in my hands oh so soon!

  49. Oh my goodness, Deb! I am SO excited that you are coming to Santa Cruz!! I rubbed my eyes and thought I read the city wrong :) I will be there and can’t wait to meet you.

  50. Jackie

    Another Vancouverite happy you’re coming here, and on my birthday too!!!!!

    Your challah looks beautiful – can’t wait to try it, although the braiding might do me in.

  51. This looks brilliant! I think I’m going to attempt it this weekend.

    This might sound like an odd question, but what are the dimensions of this bread? I’m wondering if it’d fit in my oven, on my baking stone (which is 9″ square).

  52. Éowyn

    I’ve always wondered about Challah braiding. I’m so glad you put a picture of it up. This as usual, sounds like a taste bud stunner!
    Alas, you don’t have Arizona on your list. No worries, I’ll hold out until your next book. Because I think you have enough great ideas that they just can not be contained in just this site and only one book. That, and I would LOVE to have you and your family for coffee in my small kitchen!! Good luck on the tour, I’m sure you are going to meet wonderful fans at every stop you make.

  53. Laura

    I have never commented on the site before but I feel compelled to let you know how excited I am to spend Veterans Day with you. WILD DOGS could not keep me away! (Although, that is probably not true, if anything could distract me… it would be dogs ;)

  54. Theresa M

    Seconding Gale’s comment: you have devoted followers in St. Louis! I would make the trip up to Chicago if you were there on the weekend! It’s a short drive and an even shorter flight from CHI to STL, and oh man we would love to have you. Just throwin it out there :)

  55. Rhonda

    Would you pretty pretty please come to Denver? (Or, lobby your publisher to come to Denver?) We have this wonderful indie book store called Tattered Cover! And mountains! Bit short on oxygen, but who needs that when we have great food?

  56. Theresa M

    Ooops, and should have thrown this into the comment above, but last fall’s Apple Honey Challah was incredible, excited to try this version!

  57. Nicole

    Deb – so glad to hear details of the tour, and that you’re coming [sort of] close to me. Any chance you can squeeze Victoria, BC in? If you flew from Portland to Victoria (3 hrs by plane), you could do an event in the morning then ferry in the afternoon to Vancouver for the evening event there.

    And then I won’t have to drag my two kids on the ferry to go to Vancouver and figure out babysitting in a different city! 8)

    We have LOTS of amazing restaurants and foodie stores here….And it’s pretty. Much nicer than Vancouver. I hope to see you in November though.

  58. I love using challah bread for french toast! I love figs and I’ve never thought about adding into the dough. Great idea! Thanks for showing the step by step pictures of braiding the bread. I’ve made challah bread before and it tasted great, but didn’t look as pretty as this, but it will now. Lol.

  59. Nicole

    Me again: last night I cooked the Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens, and the night before it was the zucchini/ham/basil/ricotta fritters. And your favourite brownies were made on the first day of school. It’s been a smitten couple of weeks!

    Thanks for all the great recipes. Happy anniversary.

  60. You are headed to 2 Bay Area spots… But I just moved to Africa… Any chance you will headed to Angola anytime soon?!?! Good thing I can get books sent here, I have been dying to own your book since you first announced it was coming… So excited!

  61. Coarse sea salt: any ideas for other uses for it? My husband mistakenly bought it from the bulk foods section of our local co-op (my fault, I asked for sea salt when I should have said “Real Salt,” aka salt with natural minerals and sans anti-caking agents, iodine, etc.). Anyway, I have about a cup or more of this very coarse sea salt. I think it’s intended to be used in a salt grinder, which I find rather ridiculous–like there’s any benefit in grinding your salt fresh as if it was pepper (there’s not, is there?), and yet, I can’t bring myself just to throw it out, as it’s not particularly cheap. Any suggestions?

  62. avis

    I am still pulling for Baton Rouge or New Orleans! I kind of hate Austin because EVERYONE goes to Austin and we never get anything :-(

    Except hurricanes. Does guilt work? Because those of us distraught by Isaac’s devastation would certainly enjoy a tasty distraction!

  63. laurie

    No Dallas?!?! You’re huge here! Please, pretty please, reconsider. The Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area is home to more than 6 million people(!) and is the largest metro area in the South. With sugar on top?

  64. Ariana

    Oh no! Your stops in the chicago suburbs stops don’t seem feasible via public transit from the city. I may have to rent a car. Us Chicago folks should get a car pool started! In other news, I have three new roommates who are also Jewish, so shabbat dinners finally seem practical. Thanks for the challah recipe, it will hopefully be put to good use!

  65. Caitlin

    A stop in Minneapolis/St. Paul, please? I’m so excited that you get to meet, cook with, and talk to many of your readers! I would love to be one of them!

  66. Caroline

    So happy to see you’re coming to DC! I’ll try to make it to the National Press Club event (Politics and Prose is just way too far out there!).

  67. Byn

    attn: toronto SK fans. i was just told by the cookbook store that there are currently only 40 spots available and they are going fast! $40, and that includes the cost of the book. (although she implied they might have to move to a bigger venue).

  68. We have a similar recipe here in Romania, and we call it colaci. It’s usually consumed during winter holidays and also, it’s traditionally served at funeral ceremonies, but their shape is a little different then: they are either round or they are cross shaped.

  69. Maggie

    I knew it was a long shot, but no listing for Albuquerque up there… I would have loved to thank you in person for all of the help you and your site are giving me on my wedding menu! This bread looks outstanding – I might use the method and tweak it a bit with some dried apricots and cherries instead of figs.

  70. Jackie

    You’re coming to Portland!! I literally sqealed when I read that. And you’re going to Powell’s, only the coolest book store in Portland. It’s a city of books and an absolute mecca if you are a reader, the cooking section is phenomenal.

    I’ve been a long time lurker and have been reading you since the smitten, I cannot wait to meet you! Please let me know if you would like some recommendations on what to eat or do here. Portland is pretty much amazing, I hope you’ll love it!

  71. Amy

    I’m adding myself to the list of people who would love for you to visit Atlanta! Nashville would work, too. I’m pretty much right between the two cities. Can’t wait for my preordered copy of your book to arrive. A birthday gift to myself!

  72. I am SO excited you are coming to Toronto. I just booked my ticket. The folks at the Cookbook Store are truly lovely and I hope you enjoy your time here – however brief.

  73. Pinkmin

    What a beautiful idea for a Rosh Hashana challah! I am looking forward to seeing this on my table! But Deb, I’m distraught that you’ll be in Toronto on a day I’m unavailable – we don’t go out on shabbat. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet you and get a signed copy of your next book. In honor of your visit to my city, I will likely make a meal almost entirely inspired by your recipes (as per usual). Congratulations and shana tova to you, your family, and all your readers who celebrate!

  74. Becca J

    This might be my first gushy comment on your site. I’m thrilled that you’re coming to Austin. I imagine that your publicist won’t allow it, but if you find yourself with an afternoon free, you’re welcome to come over here, let Jacob play with my 3-year old, and help yourself the freshly baked cookies that I’ll have out for you. Looking forward to the tour and the cookbook!

  75. I just wanted to say, I love it when I completely forget about your blog. Because when I remember about Smitten Kitchen, I get to look at all the beautiful posts that I’m behind on and I don’t have to wait for another post. Beautiful blog! Such a wonderful thing to see a woman cooking out of the joy she has for her family.


  76. OH MAN!!! :( This is one of those VERY rare times when I really hate that I live in Spain. Any chance of a European tour, Deb??? We have an extra room – free lodging! And we promise to take you out for all the wine and cheese you can handle!!!

  77. tariqata

    I’m so glad to see Toronto on the list of book tour stops! And excited enough that I’ve already reserved a space. Just in case … I know how many of my friends are Smitten Kitchen fans too. :)

  78. Wow! That combo – figs, sea salt, olive oil – makes me want to dance…or something. And that knot? My mind is still trying to figure that out. :D
    Judging from this recipe alone, that book of yours must be fabulous!

  79. Sequoia N.

    Will there be a limit on the number of people that will be allowed? I live about three hours away from both of your Chicago stops but I would be mighty disappointed to get up there and then not even be able to see you. Looking forward to it though, it’s definitely on my calendar!!

  80. Tamara

    Wow, your ropes for braiding are flawless. I actually made a batch of your apple and honey challah yesterday (omg it tastes amazing) as well as a batch of your raisin challah and my round braids were PITIFUL. I think I was so worried about overflouring that I underfloured and they were way, way too sticky. Some of the loaves look aaalmost right but most of them look more…rustic, shall we say. My measurements were probably not the best because I tripled the apple and honey recipe and doubled the raisin recipe… (about 10 lbs. of flour in all!) but I think in general my fear of overflouring has been holding me back. Just the idea that you were braiding these on what looks to be a clean counter and they weren’t sticking like mad means I am definitely doing something wrong.

  81. Rachel

    You’re coming to Vancouver, I can’t wait! I’m in baking school right now, hopefully I can bring you something I made. Also, I have to say that your challah recipe is totally better than the one we use at school.

  82. Lydia

    Oh, I am a long-time-reader, never-commenter who is suddenly UNBELIEVABLY excited to meet you. I already put it on my google calendar, in bright red, many months in advance, with no reservations about driving to Wheeling from my tiny apartment in Bucktown, Chicago. I just know it’s going to be so much fun!

  83. Mia

    I will pray to the cooking Gods, cherubim and seraphim that a book tour of New Zealand is announced. Hint: February is the hottest (therefore best) month.

  84. Fiona

    This looks glorious and here in Mexico the figs are just getting delicious! Since we’re allowed to suggest cities, can I suggest Mexico City?? Cos I just read that you’re arriving in vancouver TWO DAYS after I leave (there for a wedding) and I’m heartbroken I’m missing you!! You’ll have to give my friend Noa a hug (which I’ll expect her to pass on to me) when she comes to your cooking event. Have an incredible tour!

  85. Erika Rocio

    I’m so excited that you’re coming to HOUSTON!!!!! I might high five/hug you when I meet you (is that allowed?!)

    My boyfriend and I are drooling over this challah.

    Good job, gal!

  86. Sorry to do this via comment, but didn’t see a way to email you! I’m thrilled you’re coming to Houston, and am great friends with the owners over at Blue Willow Book Store (actually did a reading there for my own book!). If there’s anything I can do to help you with that stop when you come to our fair town, please feel free to email me. I’d love to help.

    Congratulations on everything!


  87. Kelly

    BOOK TOUR/COOKING DEMO!! I nearly jumped out my cubicle with glee! But Beverly Hills is on a Friday at 1pm? Guess I’ll sit back down in my cubicle. Tell me you’re coming back….on a weekend? after work hours?

  88. Rhonda

    Seriously Houston?????? North Texas, as in Frisco! Guess I will have to visit my sister Thanksgiving in Mass. It’s suppose to cool off this weekend, so yes, I will be making bread. Would have loved to see a gif of the braiding.

  89. Well, excited about the book! Sad that publishers seem to still believe that people in the South don’t read. I see the tour omits the entire south.

    But congrats on the book! Your blog is wonderful.

    1. deb

      Hi Nicole — I also am bummed that I can’t get everywhere on this tour, or on the initial leg of it. But I wouldn’t say that it’s because of any negative sentiment towards the South. The preliminary list of U.S. cities was in fact chosen by traffic reports — unsure of where to start, we tried to focus cities with the biggest site readership. It’s quite possible that more will be added, however, so stay tuned. I will of course announce any changes as they occur. And yes, I would love Atlanta/Raleigh/Charlotte to be among the additions. Oh and Miami. And Paris. And Sydney.. Okay, now I’m just pipe-dreaming…

      Karen — Thank you!

      Caitlin — I am hoping/trying to get through my fall cooking to-do list before I go (made much easier by the appearance of SQUASH at the market today! hello, fall!), so there’s not a lot of lag. There were so many lost weeks when I was writing the book, I’d feel terrible if there were more while I was out promoting it.

      Sequoia — I don’t think so, or none that I know of (I think the ones concerned about controlling the size of the event require tickets; all are noted) but it can’t hurt to check in with the venue before the event. I’ll share any information I’m privy to on the Book Tour page, of course.

      Kate — OMGBOTH. :) But, I’m actually flying to SF right after the event. Book tours, I am quickly learning, do not have leisure time built in.

  90. First, congratulations on your cookbook and your book tour. I too would write a cookbook just so I could go on tour and meet like-minded individuals!

    Second, this bread really does look like a dream. At my little farmers’ market bread company we’ve been making a fig, walnut and anise bread. And those figs, unless chopped up really fine, are always a nuisance in terms of gluten development and their distribution within the bread. How brilliant to add them to a challah in this way, though I think I might opt for butter over oil as I feel the figs would thrive on it! We don’t make challah or any other sweet breads (only rustic sourdoughs, really), but I am tempted to create a richer sourdough version! We’ll see what happens!

  91. terri

    I don’t suppose that you can add an extra date in SF, or come across the Bay and do a signing in Berkeley as well? I think I’m just going to miss you in SF–I don’t think I’ll have time to clear customs, even if my flight comes into SFO on time. so close! :(

  92. Ali

    YAY! See you in DC!!! So glad I recently moved to a big city :)

    And this challah looks absolutely great… twisted bread of any sort is a weakness of mine.

  93. christina

    hey! for us fresh-figgers, about how many whole figs do you estimate would give us the required 1 cup? i’ve been eyeing some beautiful local figs at the store but have never used them before! suggestions?

  94. Meg

    As a fan of the site since learning of our mutual affection for Ina Garten’s pecan squares, I can’t wait to meet you in my neighborhood at Omnivore Books! The fact that it’s scheduled on my birthday(!) liberates my fiancé from having to devise other celebratory activities. Lucky for both of us!

  95. Michael

    If you add a stop somewhere in Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, or Cleveland would be great), I’d love to come and meet you! If not, I’ll have to catch the TV broadcast, I suppose. :)

  96. wow, what a tour. you are certainly getting around.

    this recipe looks good. seeing you roll the filling into the dough gave me the idea to to a sweet version with cinnamon sugar rolled into it. My son would go wild for it, he loves cinnamon sugar and will try to put it on as much as i will let him (sadly for him it is not much!).

    looking forward to catching you on one of your tour stops, either philadelphia or nyc.

  97. Deb

    Oh man, I was all set to make apple cinnamon challah for Rosh Hashanah but now this looks so delicious, I might have to make it instead (or both!). Ahh, my favorite kind of dilemma :)

    I do have a challah baking question, though: Since Rosh Hashanah falls so close to Shabbat this year, I was thinking about making an extra big batch of dough on Friday, baking half of it into regular loaves for Friday night, and then gussying up the second half to make something more festive on Sunday. Could I leave the dough in the fridge for a couple of days and then bake it fresh on Sunday? I imagine refrigeration would slow down the rising process, but I’ve never tried to slow it down for that long… would this have a negative effect on the bread? I know I could prep the dough and freeze it ready-to-bake, but I’ve had mixed results with that. I’ve actually had better results baking the loaves and then freezing and reheating them, it’s not quite the same as freshly baked bread.

    Thanks so much and so excited for the book!

  98. jen

    I have to admit I’m kinda bummed that the Toronto event will be a ticketted event. It may be that the ticket price (which includes the book) is not a lot more than The Cookbook Store is selling the book for (have no idea since I can’t find your book on their site yet,) but I’ve already preordered the book for a specific price from Indigo, and even if I cancel it, and get a ticket and book from them, it’s looking like a lot more.

  99. Lyra

    I’ll see you in Seattle, Deb!

    Can I ask you to suggest to my husband that making homemade goldfish crackers is not a step into madness?

  100. Chelsea

    YOUR COMING TO HOUSTON!!! I will gladly put off studying for finals (last round of nursing school finals before that no-big-deal-do-not-panic-test otherwise known as the NCLEX) to come and see you!!

  101. Sabina

    I am so happy to see that you’re actually coming to Toronto! I’m going I book the day off work to make sure I don’t miss you. I can’t wait for the cookbook to arrive in the mail!

  102. Cathy

    So…I am supposing Baltimore is just too close to DC to get its own stop? That’s okay…always happy to hit the District for a great night of book signing/dinner out! If you need a place to stay there, my daughter and her three buddies could put you up. They graduated in June from…GW! That will take you back, no? I can’t wait to get your cookbook – it’s my go-to Christmas gift for the cooks in my life. (PS I’m a loyal reader but not a commenter, although you did provide me with a kick-ass menu for our Gourmet Group a few years ago…at that time you suggested old JCrew shirts covered w/ baby gak if we were going to dress in SK theme outfits!)

    1. deb

      Cathy — I remember that! Please tell me you didn’t… :)

      Lyra — I spent the afternoon making them too and I’m sorry, but it is. It is delicious, unequivocally superior-to-the-packaged-stuff delicious, but it’s madness, or so I tell myself every time I make them. I never learn. I do think that your husband, like mine was, will be convinced once he tries them.

  103. This challah sounds perfect. Fig, bread, and good salt. Can’t wait for the mailman to drop off my book, and oh how I wish you were stopping in Florida during your tour!

  104. Laura

    What would you say the shelf-life is on this? I’m thinking of making on Friday, and I’m not sure if it will still be good to serve by Tuesday evening. Any storage tips, either for the raw dough or the baked challah, would be appreciated!

    1. deb

      Laura — I would freeze it until Tuesday, after it has cooled.

      Deb — I have only left doughs in the fridge for a day, two tops. I’m only comfortable recommending a single day on this one, however, because it is all I tested. You’ll probably be okay to gussy it up on Sunday. This challah has extra moisture and richness from the figs, so it holds up especially well in the freezer once baked. Trust me, I had a freezer full of test rounds at one point.

      kelly — Saratoga in November? You would not have to ask me twice!

  105. Shelly

    This looks ah-mazing! So excited to try this over the weekend for Rosh Hashana :) I’m a little intimidated by the twisting technique. Think this will work ok as just a braid?

  106. Haley Y

    I agree with the previous Chicagoans who are disappointed that your stops aren’t actually in the city or even close. It would take me over two hours to get there via train… but it might be worth it. Maybe I’ll hook up with those looking to carpool!

  107. Meg

    And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I HATE living in Australia! I’d give anything to go to one your book signings, Deb! How about just a super quick stop over in Aus? Please?

  108. wendyr

    Ack! I got all excited when I saw you had a Vancouver date (TWO!) but it coincides with my meet-up with the husband in Chicago. Boo! Nonetheless, I am so excited for the book to come out. I have been reading your site for nearly as long as it has been around (nearly 6 years – I can remember it because it matches up to when we moved to Ireland and I became a temporary housewife…lots of creative dinners required..), and the husband and I always turn to your site when we are in need of a solid recipe. In fact, I just have to tell my husband it is a Smitten Kitchen recipe and he will try anything I throw at him…

  109. Suzanne

    You have to come to Dallas! Don’t make me go to Houston! I hate Houston! I guess I could go to Austin. Just come to Dallas!

    To people asking about freezing the challah, I have successfully (with other challah recipes) frozen both the dough and the baked loaf. If you freeze the dough, just let it sit on the counter at room temperature to fully defrost it (this may take as much as 4 or so hours) before you apply the eggwash and bake it. However, freezing the baked loaf works best for me, and I’ve frozen challah for weeks before. Just pop the frozen loaf in the oven on about 300 degrees for 30 minutes or so. It’s not quite as divine as fresh-baked (I’m a challah snob), but no one will notice the difference.

  110. M.C.

    I’m really excited for you! Now, the Southeast is distinctly inbetween D.C. and Texas. There’s a hole there…Atlanta? perhaps Asheville? Athens? even Nashville? …I’m just sayin’. (and I’m kidding too, but I am bummed I won’t get to see you:( )

  111. WifeToAnAmazingCook

    That last picture might just be the inspiration I need to give challah a try. The twisting has always put me off, but your recipes never disappoint, so off to get myself some figs!

    And as for your book tour, I’m sad that you won’t be north of Boston – the Montreal and Burlington, VT stops would be fun… come on, you know you want to. :) And for those of us not lucky enough to see you in person, is there a way to get a signed copy of your book? Other than all of us mailing them to you at home, of course!

  112. Shainy

    This looks amazing. Does the fig filling really come through in the flavor? What do you think about doubling (or tripling!) the filling, and making this into a fig-orange babka?

  113. Sally

    Oh, you’re going to love Bookshop Santa Cruz! A tip from other book-tour writers I’ve heard from: write down what city you are in tonight and keep the note on your bedside table; it’ll help in the morning. Wish I could get to Santa Cruz.

  114. Tracy

    Tragic! Tragic! Omitting Portland, Maine and a chance to lobster and blueberry up while on tour, plus eat a perfectly salty lunch at Duckfat. Sigh…

  115. Amy

    Please bring Jacob to Boston with you! I have been reading your blog since we were both pregnant, and my almost 3 year old and I need a playdate :)

  116. Suzanne

    Deb, I just had a genius thought. I will offer a bribe if you come to Dallas. I will bring you food to your signing. Something baked and yummy to welcome you to Big D. :)

  117. This just made my day! Both the Challah (stunning) and the great news that you’re coming to Omnivore, my most favorite bookstore. Ever. I can’t wait to meet you and get my mitts on that gorgeous book! Happy 6th birthday Smitten Kitchen. I raise a glass to you and celebrate the day I stumbled upon your blog and within hours was making Tomato and Corn Pie. You’ve made me fearless in the kitchen. Cheers! See you in San Francisco.

  118. Jennifer

    Super excited that you are making a stop in CT. A saw all those big cities and I was afraid you were going to be driving straight through from Boston back to the city. See you in November!

  119. Yay! You are in Philly for my birthday! (Ok, not exactly my birthday but close enough.) We have an awesome group of bloggers here if you aren’t just blitzing in and out…email me if you have time/interest in seeing who can meet at one of our favorite spots. Can’t wait to welcome you here! (and don’t judge the group by my blog! mine is more a hobby/record of what my kids actually eat, but others write stuff for real, I promise.)

  120. Caitlin

    not one, but TWO days in vancouver! fantastic. will definitely come say hello. you should plan a trip to granville island if you have down time in the city.

  121. Kris

    Awww! No Florida? Jacob would love Disney! Seriously, why aren’t there any stops in the South at all? We’re the most hardcore cooks in the country!

  122. Leslie

    I’m SO excited you’re coming to Portland!! I’ve never gone to a book signing, but I’m SO coming to yours..I’m even going to put it on my calendar :). Your’s is the only cooking blog I read religiously, and your cookbook will be the first I’ve ever bought for myself (I’ve inherited all my others from Gramma). I rely on several of your recipes…I actually used your quick fudge buttercream for a cake instead of the frosting recipe that went with the cake recipe I was using.

    Question about the book tour, I notice in some cities you’re doing a cooking demo, and in other’s it says special presentation..what’s the difference?

  123. Robin

    I love this site, and I can’t wait for your book. I thought I would have to drive up to San Francisco but you’re coming to my hometown! Now I get to support my lovely Bookshop Santa Cruz AND see Deb Perelman, all in one day. I just hope I can finagle a parent into buying me other cookbooks while we’re in there…

  124. Holly

    I need to properly thank you. (Which means, of course, that this comment isn’t it!) I needed to teach a lesson on forgiveness, and wanted to highlight some beautiful traditions from Jewish culture, and somehow ended up on your blog reading your original recipe for plain challah bread. (That was the beginning of my still-current-even-after-two-years love affair with your blog.) And I HAD to make it! Unfortunately, I think the youth remembered the bread and strawberry butter more than my lesson, but that recipe has singlehandedly made me an (UNDESERVED) legend. I get asked to contribute it for auctions, and so far it hasn’t sold for under $20 a loaf (one time, seriously, it sold for $32!!). I also get asked to teach how to make the bread on a regular basis, and tomorrow I will be teaching three little 8 and 9 year old girls how to make THE BREAD OF ALL BREADS. I stick faithfully to the recipe with only one addition, 1/2 tsp. of liquid soy lecithin (I buy it in the vitamin supplement section of my local health food store, and it makes additional bread leavening agents completely unnecessary). I think this bread would be fantastic without that, though, since I mainly add that to aid shelf life and two loaves of this bread have an average life of 4.75 minutes in a room of five girls (2.3 minutes in a room of five boys). I enjoy passing on a little bit of Jewish history while I teach the bread, and have to say that the new method of braiding–compared to the six strand braid–is soooooo much easier!! Now I don’t get lost in my narrative and screw up the braid! I wish wish wish I could come see you and get my copy of your cookbook that I am ordering signed. Thank you for your amazing palate and your tasty contributions to my kitchen!

  125. Leyla

    Ohhh im so excited. I love live demos!!! I HOPE TO SEE YOU IN NY. Btw I was wondering, do we order the book at williams n sonoma in order to go to the event or do we buy it at the store?

  126. Sara Joy

    Come to New Zealand! I’m pretty sure there are lots of people here who’d love to meet you. Though it may be overwhelming for him, you should bring little Jacob too! I’d happily put you up (I’m pretty sure my boyfriend would be stoked for us to accommodate someone who is to thank for so many of our delicious meals). Also, we have great coffee here (is that a reason to travel to another country? I think yes).

  127. Lauren

    Imagine my surprise at seeing Darien listed! To say i will be there with bells on is an understatement. I haven’t posted anything before, but have been avidly reading and cooking and admiring Jacob and your photos and sense of humor for a couple of years now. Cannot wait to hear your local family heckle you, as well as to have such a good excuse for a “night out.” Says a lot about the social life out here in the ‘burbs doesn’t it? Thank you for all the deliciousness you have provided to so many of our families.

  128. Michelle Naomi

    Wow. This looks amazing. I’ll have to try it out for Rosh Hashannah.

    Any chance you’ll be coming to Denver?! I am a HUGE fan and would love to meet you :)

  129. Adrianne

    I am so excited that you are coming to Portland! Your book is my go-to gift this fall/winter. Can’t wait to meet you and send you off with something from Portland. Hmm…coffee, whiskey, brandy, donuts, salami, chocolate…lots to choose from in our food-centric town!

    Other readers from Portland – let’s put our head’s together to make Deb well received!

  130. Sarah McLaughlin

    I’ll see you at Politics and Prose in November!

    Also, do you think this dough can be made in a Cuisinart food processor that has a dough setting and blade? I haven’t made the leap to a stand mixer yet but I don’t if I am up to 10 minutes hand kneading either.

  131. Bunny

    OMG how cool is the “From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” part??
    Although I will not be able to come to the book tour, I will be there in my heart :)

    And the challah! Just in time for Rosh Hashana! It looks de-lish.

  132. OMG, Deb this looks super delicious! I’ve never made challah before, since here in Italy it’s not very popular yet, but I’d love to try and make it soon and this variation looks perfect for Autumn thanks to the figs!
    And although I won’t be able to come to the book tour I want you to know that I am really happy for you and I would have loved to be able to participate!

    xo, Elisa

  133. The fig in the challah is SO PERFECT!! And you figured out the best way to infuse it into the bread without the lumps. Amazing execution, there. :) And congrats on the book tour; I for sure will be checking out if you’re ever in my neck of the woods!

  134. Mary

    OMG if you come to Australia that would be sooo awesome!! Congratulations on the book! The recipe looks yummy. I was wondering if it can be made with gluten free flour?

  135. paula brand

    HIP HIP AND HOORAY!!! i am soooooo excited to get to your L.A. book signing.
    can’t wait to meet you! really can’t wait to finally get your book. I’ve been a devoted
    long time follower and tried so many of your fantastic, yummie recipes.
    p.s. almost forgot… let your mother know i love her noodle kugle recipe!!!

  136. dancing gal

    So, I know it will sound childish, like in “pipe-dreaming-childish”, and I wouldn’t dare say it, even if I’ve already thought about it, but you said it first on comment #188, so, would you please come to Paris?? I mean, Paris does deserve a book tour stop, what with all the inspiration and everything, no? Plus, I don’t know about Parisians, but this Greek gal living in Paris would love to have you!

    On a more serious note, I’ve already said this, but I’m so excited for you, congratulations on the book and everything, and you know this “what comes next” which “is the last place” etc? Enjoy every last bit of it, ’cause you deserve it!

    And on an even more serious note, pretty pretty please??? :p


  137. Cricri

    Oh the beauty of the design! And thank you so for the grams and milliliters :) My french scale will appreciate it greatly as will my calculator :) Have a great book tour!

  138. Excellent news! I’ve already pre-ordered my book and now I’ve sent my aunt the details of the book tour as she is literally around the corner from the Seattle stop (I wish I’d gone in to that shop when I was home last, it looked amazing).

  139. Hey Deb! I have seen the advance copy of your cookbook and I loved it, as I knew I would! I even cooked a few things out of and wrote a blog on it for Blue Willow BOokshop in Houston. I am so excited for you, as I have been a fan of your blog for a long time. Anyway, I used to work at Blue Willow before I became the luckiest girl in the world and moved to Paris, which is awesome except that I am going to miss your visit to the bookstore, which is totally not awesome. I hope you love it- it’s such a special place. Good luck with the tour! I know you will rock it.

  140. Keisha

    Your Challah looks amazing! I LOVE your blog….I’m bummed the book tour isn’t coming to my city….but I still can’t wait to get the book! I’ll totally be there in spirit

  141. Michelle

    This looks amazing. I will have to try it for Rosh Hashanah. I am so excited you are coming to Boston! I tried to sign up for the Book Signing and Cooking Demo in Wellesley but the Miele sign up email site does not work. I will keep trying. The Booksmith is always a backup :).

  142. I live so far off the beaten path there is no way I can ask you to come to my city for a book tour! Lol. However, I did preorder your book and am really really looking forward to that!

    So, I tried to hit the hotlink for the picture of Jacob on your post here and there is none! I mean the hotlink is there, but it shows up as a type of error message. I thought you might like to know.

    SO glad to hear that you will be continuing your posting when you are on tour, because selfishly I was thinking it would be really really hard for you to cook when you are gone for so long! Hope you can send an occasional ig pix in, too. Loved the goldfish pic! Have a great time on your tour!!

  143. My, my, my. . . I honestly feel I’ve been on this journey with you; that’s when I’m not feeling it has been my journey. I have, indeed, lived this journey vicariously through you. Oh, and then there are the times I feel like your proud, proud mother (even though I’m not Jewish). As it says in Psalms, “Once I was young, and now I am old. .” (well, not that old, but still) and you have lived nearly the dream I have had my whole life. And I’m so very, very proud of you, my dear internet friend. Hope to see you in Philadelphia.

  144. Mary Beth

    Hi. Last weekend, I made your “Best Challah” with my 5-year old nephew. We had a lot of fun and turned out 2 surprisingly gigantic and absolutely gorgeous loaves of challah. Recipe was wonderful esp because the bread was not super sweet. One loaf gone almost immediately, enjoyed by 7 of us away for family weekend. The most surprising aspect of the recipe was the refrigerator rising, which we did.

    just finished reading this recipe–can’t wait to try it–just wondering why this one has 2 risings instead of 3 like the “best challah.”(curious). thanks

  145. Lynn

    CHICAGO…oh dear, your supposed “Chicago” stops are no where near Chicago really, they are FAR north suburbs impossible for this city girl to get to on a weekend or weeknight. Soooo disappointed you won’t be in the (second) city. How do those little northern suburbs rate to get you wirh no stop in Chicago at all? Challa looks amazing Deb. I will have it for breaking the fast. Can’t wait! Brilliant….

  146. You’re coming to Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston; we can’t wait! The staff is fighting over the advanced copy of your cookbook – EVERY recipe is a hit! My favorite right now is the kale salad with dried cherries – have it for lunch every day!

  147. KXJ

    Looks wonderful. Gale above asked if you could use fig preserves instead of making your own mixture – I didn’t see an answer. Can you use fig preserves?

  148. Colleen

    Any chance of adding another Los Angeles date? 1 p.m. on a weekday is no bueno for those of us with corporate jobs. In any event, I have never looked forward to any book release this much!

  149. Sarah

    Deb, this bread sounds wonderful! I’ve just moved and will have to add this to my list of things to make once the kitchen is in order, but on the plus side I’m now in Brookline, MA and am SO EXCITED that you’ll be here on your tour! It’s too bad you won’t be here on a Friday when I could bring you a challah turtle from the bakery I work at. (Just about as impressive as the lovely braid you used up top!)

  150. sabrina

    Oh I wish, I wish, I wish you were coming to my area! I live in NW ohio.. closest big city is Toledo.. But even Ann Arbor, Mi is close enough for me to drive!

  151. Sarahb1313

    It always has to be 2 loaves…. One to eat out of the oven and one to serve. It’s rough trying to get to French toast.

    I have used the Silver Palate recipe for years for my challah. But this recipe looks lovely!

    Looking forward to the book. Shana Tova!

  152. Brenda in Irving

    You must come to the Dallas area! Those other two places in Texas really don’t count. I know..I’ve been to both. You’ll hate the traffic in Austin and Houston stinks. The air is clear and it’s a chilly 90 degrees here! Have I convinced you yet?

  153. Amanda

    Was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon your interview in my latest copy of Imbibe and when I saw your picture an image of your little guy immediately flashed in my head! Can’t wait for the book!

  154. What? No appearances in Paris, France, food capital of the world (and where I live)? Ah well, I’ll just have to wait. Congrats on 6 wonderful years of fun, food, and great writing.

  155. Killian

    Deb, if you make it to NC, you’ve got a place to stay as well. I’d be honored!

    I just had to thank you for the individual photos of the challah weaving. I am a pretty intelligent woman, but I am incredibly visual. Simply reading your instructions, well written as they are, would’ve left me baffled, even with repeated attempts. But seeing it in photographs made me understand it in one shot.

    So, from a special education teacher, thank you for recognizing the fact that not everyone learns in the same manner!

  156. RobbieAnn

    Dearest Deb,
    I’m here heartbroken because the DEEP SOUTH is nowhere on your book tour. We here in Mississippi love you too. My Texas cousin is snickering(I’ll take care of her later!) because you’re going there and not here. Next time, tell the powers that be that cooks live in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida,Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina and we want to see you too!!

  157. Eleanor

    Book tours sound exhausting! Be sure and fortify yourself at local restaurants. That is why Montreal (close to NYC) makes so much sense! A foreign country on your doorstep! Upstate New Yorkers and Vermonters are Smitten enough to drive up to La Belle Province…

  158. Nan

    So happy you’re coming to Seattle! I have no idea where the Book Larder is but between now and November I’ll have the path memorized! I’m hoping you’ll have more than an hour or two in Seattle with nothing to do!!!

  159. Kim

    When, oh when, are people going to realize that the Mitten state is where it is at? We get left out of all these fun events!

    Re the challah bread…wow, can’t wait to try it. The bummer is I will need to print the pictures of the braiding process, because although I can bake like the best of them, crafts (and that is exactly what that braiding looks like) make me flustered!

  160. Brooke

    Deb – I am due with my first child a week before you come to Seattle, so I will likely miss your stop here. I have been reading since the very beginning on this site (and before!), and you are one of the few bloggers I would get off my tush and go to an event for. Congratulations on the book and I hope you have a great tour!!

  161. megan

    This looks amazing, and it will definitely be my first attempt at challah-making! I may have to see if I can get down to NYC for one of your signings…unless you intend to add any upstate (ahem-Syracuse) stops to your tour!

  162. Patricia

    I’m delighted to read how excited everyone is about the pending publication of the book and the upcoming tour. Although I’m fairly new to your blog, I do love it and all the creative recipes. Perhaps, the deep south can be included on the next round of book signings. The challah looks wonderful, and I do love figs. Blessings to you and your family for Rosh Hashanah.

  163. Ashley

    Congratulations on the 6th anniversary! I can’t wait for your book tour – I keep hoping that I’ll stumble into you on the streets of Manhattan some day, but I’ll be stalking you at Columbus Circle for sure.

  164. Tove

    Yay! Another Vancouverite excited to see you’re coming! There’s lots of great restaurants here, hopefully you’ll have time to check a few of them out.

  165. Congratulations on your book! Hopefully we can meet during your book tour stop in Boston. I redesigned my photography website and launched a blog earlier this year, and I’m constantly inspired by bloggers like you who grew your passion into a career.

  166. Sandy

    So excited you’re coming to Portland. My daughters turned me on to your blog some time ago, and it’s one of the week’s highlights. Powell’s in Portland is fabulous, and just across the street and mid block from Penzeys – one of your favorites, I know. See you in PDX.

  167. Trisha

    How about Princeton? It would be great to see you at Labyrinth books. I’d even buy a second copy. I’ll try the bread this weekend. I might slip some white whole wheat into it.

  168. Kelli

    Really excited about your book, but you basically aren’t going to a single Southern state (except for Texas, which really doesn’t count)! :( Your fans in Nashville are very disappointed.

  169. Erica Brooks

    Deb! I have an SK fan for years! I have never commented, but was compelled to after I checked your book tour locations and didn’t find ATLANTA!!

    Please come here!! My sister and I have both already pre-ordered your book!

  170. This is a gorgeous post all around and the photos of the braiding technique are especially wonderful! Thanks for giving us beautiful food imagery and cooking inspiration weekly :)

  171. Anna

    Come to Vermont on your tour! We have lots of foodies into locally grown and made foods and lots of lovely cheeses and beers and breads for you to buy–its not just maple syrup up here any more! Knowing how unlikely that is though, I will hope my work travels take me to one of these cities on the right day…

  172. Stevie Pierson

    Congratulations on your bookbook, your tour, and your absolutely joyful take on everything that has to do with food and friendship. And isn’t that really all there is?

  173. Xochi

    Oh. My. God. That bread looks DIVINE! Hooray for vacation days, cause now I know what I’m doing today! :) And congratulations on your book tour! I’m just curious… what are you going to do with your bouncing baby ball of adorable while you’re traveling for a month and a half?

  174. I´m so crazy for figs and bread baking this is a fantastic recipe and idea! I imagine the fig paste is great for a crumble bar also. It´s so great everything your blog made possible for you and also for us late bloomers. The other day I saw your italian pear chocolate cake being made on tv in spanish! I had made it a few times and thought it sounded familiar… maybe one day you´ll tour south america, jaja! Congratulations Deb

  175. Question for this amazing looking recipe: calls for “all purpose” flour. I always use Bread flour (usually King Arthur) when I bake challah (which is usually every week) Do you feel strongly about the type of flour?

    1. deb

      marcy — You can use bread flour, of course. I wanted to make sure people knew they didn’t have to go out and buy a special flour to make it.

      Xochi — I was waiting for this question! :) Wherever possible, I will bring Jacob and Alex with me. However, while my initial hope had been to take them everywhere, the reality is that there’s no way my 3 year-old is going to handle several flights a week, sleeping in hotels, not having homemade meals and missing his beloved preschool and daily routine very well. And my husband only has a little bit of vacation time left to use this year. So, there will be some trips that just include Alex (the West Coast, most likely, which includes 6 flights in 8 days, an impossibility for a 3 year old, ayee) and some where it will just be me and Jacob (and maybe my mom, to help with Toddler Management, heh).

      Susan — I put a little Early Kind Words, Press, and Other Tasteless Braggery on the bottom of the Book page. :) True story: The blurb from Eat Me Daily still makes me a little sniffly when I read it.

      Trisha — I’d love to! It’s quite close to where I grew up.

      Doug — Anything in Europe/UK/Australia would fall in with the UK edition, which will be out in February, 2013. No book tour is planned at this time, but I bet if there’s enough interest, they will consider it. (Which is my polite way of saying PLEASE MAKE THEM SEND ME TO PARIS AND ROME AND LONDON AND MELBOURNE… hee hee.)

      Fig preserves/Gale/KXJ — In comment #34, I mentioned my concern that fig jam/preserves would be thinner than the paste I use here, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just might get a little more lost in the bread dough. It might also be a touch sweeter. But again, I don’t see why it couldn’t potentially work.

  176. Kasey

    I’m so so soooo excited about your cookbook coming out. I think I came across your blog a little over five years ago and have been “smitten” ever since (right, you’ve never heard that one before… :D). Here’s hoping that Hawaii (specifically Oahu) gets added to your book tour as well!

  177. First i have to say again congrats on the book – i see you will be in Seattle, i promise i will come by and say hi and ask for your autograph :)

    Secondly this challah looks amazing! The braiding just is gorgeous!

  178. Stephanie

    I’m SO excited for the book!! I pre-ordered it and I’m already making a list of all the friends who’ll be getting it as a Christmas present.

    Also, as an aside to your publishers: ADD DALLAS TO THE TOUR! I’m going to try really hard to get to Austin or Houston, but please please please consider adding Dallas to the rotation!

  179. DoggedBaker

    I have been a fan for years and have been waiting with bated breath for your book tour dates. But wouldn’t you know, you’ll be coming to LA on my due date! So unless my baby arrives very early or very late I’ll have to find a surrogate to get me a signed cookbook!

  180. Judy

    Deb, your book looks gorgeous, and I hope that at some point your tour will lead you to Ohio. I live in Columbus, but would probably drive to Cinci or the Cleve if you landed in either of those spots.

    I am going to make this Challah this weekend, though I think I might try dates. I love dates, and look for opportunities to use them in things other than cookies and scones. I don’t know if anyone else has tried this, but it sounds yummy to me…

    1. deb

      Judy — I would LOVE to go to Ohio. I am sure my publishers are paying attention to all of these suggestions and will let me know if they think we should add more cities. … Re, dates: I agree! I was thinking they’d be great here too. Btw, there is an Almond-Date Breakfast Bar in the book that I think has your name all over it. :)

      debio — Oh no! The link is working for me. Can you try again? Maybe Flickr (my photo host) was down briefly when you checked.

      Leyla — You’ll definitely be able to buy it that day. If you buy it in advance online, I don’t think it would be a problem either.

      Leslie — Good catch! “Special presentation” is generic for “we haven’t figured it out yet.” :)

      Sally — That’s great! I fear I might need it. I’m also seriously, seriously afraid of having a conversation with someone about, say, toddler onesies (because I would, trust me) while signing their book and then I’d write, “Hope you like the onesie!” Like, it’s going to happen. Just a matter of when.

  181. Jessica

    Thank you so much for posting this beautiful recipe in time to try it (and/or the apple honey challah) for the holidays this year! Challah making was already on my agenda for this weekend, so it is perfect. I put the date on my calendar to come see you in Philadelphia, and am looking forward to it!

  182. Deb! Amazing job as usual. I’m pumped you’ll be in Vancouver but sad that I’ll have to work. I’m already contemplating whether it’s viable to take the day off to meet you down at Chapters. But Vancouver and Seattle in the same day!? Are your tour managers sadistic? That’s a long long LONG day! Or is it a typo? I’m exhausted already. I wish you the best of luck!

  183. Deb Allmeyer

    Another great reason to love Powell’s Books! I cannot wait to see you in person! So glad you’re hitting Portland, Oregon! I’ll have my book, a bit splotchy and used looking from all that cooking under my arm!

  184. pambeane

    If i was having a book signing (dream on!) I’d want a show of hands for each event so when I wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night fearing “What if nobody comes!?!” I’d have proof that I wouldn’t be all alone. So my hand is raised for the Napa event. You’ll be amongst friends, dear Deb. Can’t wait!

  185. carla

    What Deb? No visit to your german readers?Can we bribe you with some Apple Strudel or Kugel (German: Gugel)?? Also: germany has many great yeast-based sweets!! :)

  186. Kari

    I’m so excited you’re coming to HOUSTON! Only problem is that my baby is due 8 days before the event…if I’m not in labor, I’ll be there. :)

  187. debbie

    I will be in SF when you are there!! It is to celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday but since he is the beneficiary of your recipes I am sure he will be happy to oblige me with a visit to see you. I pre-purchased the iBook version so I can’t get a signature but it would be great to meet you.

  188. Emily

    I am RIDICULOUSLY excited that you’re coming to Portland! (My boyfriend reports that I squealed with anticipation). So thrilled to finally meet you!

  189. Gail

    If your tour “grows from here” as you inkle it could, please consider the Mall of America in Minneapolis! I know it’s not even close to being FL in winter, but still, a totally fantastic place to visit on a book tour! And we have a large metro area that includes both Minneapolis AND St. Paul!
    Also, this bread looks like a piece of art – amazing!

  190. Amy

    I can’t wait to get the book….even if you’re not coming anywhere near florida. (sigh)
    I was thinking that I was going to make a pumpkin challah again this year, but now that I’ve seen this, I think I need to get out and find some dried figs and get to work on this.
    Maybe I’ll do both…my family loves challah.

  191. Nitnelion

    I see you already have a number of pleas for a book-tour stop in Arizona, but I’m going to add my voice to the chorus as well. Please, please, please come to Phoenix (or even Tucson)! We’d love to see you.

  192. Lacey

    Girl, I love you and cannot believe you left out the ENTIRE South East?! I’m not going to quit reading but I am going to pout…
    Congrats on the book tour!

  193. jwg

    Why not make a little vacation out of it and do a signing on LI. I Know there’s a good bookstore in Westhampton. Anyhow, I am both motorically and perceptually challenged and there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell I could do that braid. The instructions alone give me a headache. Can I just divide the dough in three pieces and do a simple braid?

  194. jennfer

    Yay, oh, yay!!!! You’re coming to Austin! I want to be so pushy and tell you all the great food places to visit and offer to buy you a drink, but I’ll control myself and just say, I’ll be there front and center !

  195. Alyssa

    Hey Deb,
    Longtime reader, first time commenter… Just wanted to say I’m super excited about the cookbook and your tour! I’d like to throw a word out there for Pittsburgh also! I can recommended some awesome places to eat. ;-) If you don’t make it to Pittsburgh this time around, I’ll do my best to see you somewhere else!

  196. Brittany

    Can I beg and plead to PLEASE COME TO NEW ORLEANS on your book tour?!

    I am from Philadelphia, but am working down here until the New Year and will not be able to travel back. NOLA is the biggest foodie city I’ve met, your book would go over amazingly!

    P.S. Challah looks amazing, the perfect challenge!

  197. JanetP

    I am a dork. I read through your book tour list and started getting so nervous on your behalf! Also, “this little url turned six years old” — my immediate thought was, “Jacob’s how old?!” Clearly the excitement is addling my brain.

  198. Well, I can see I’m just going to have to plan a road trip to one of these from Alabama! Maybe my other SK-obsessed friends will join me! I’m going to be in the L.A. area for a wedding but leave literally just a couple of days before your stop there.

  199. Six years?! I am NOT that old. Not possible. I loved your apple challah and figs are my favorite … can’t wait to try this one. Those slices look incredible. And so glad to see you’ll be in CA!! (Are you bringing your Jacob? Because I think he and my Jacob would get along famously ;) )

  200. Xochi

    This challah is fantastic! I made it today, utterly messed up the presentation, but it was all good because the bread and fig spread tasted incredible! Thanks so much for this recipe. :)

  201. Bobbie

    Wow! 365 comments! Yummy challah Deb. I’m looking forward to seeing you in Portland. We should meet: hope you and Alex like beer, we have a brewery. Shana Tova!

  202. Kathryn

    You’re coming to Santa Cruz! I can’t believe it! If you make it down to Monterey I’ll totally babysit and give you awesome restaurant recommendations.

  203. Ruth

    You’re coming to Canada! And even pretty close to me! (I’m in Victoria). Your blog has been my biggest addiction, after tea, the last couple of years. The day I don’t pop on for some inspiration and humour in the midst of studying is rare indeed. I’m really sorry to miss you, but classes are classes. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to meet you!

  204. Jill

    But? But? But…what about DENVER?!? We’re in the middle, we’ve got beautiful scenery, we’ve got a big airport that connects with lots of other airports–it would be so easy to just drop in for a bit! If your publishers can’t find a bookstore, you can hold the signing in my kitchen. So it’s settled then? A stop in Denver? Pretty please with homemade Oreos on top?

  205. Jacque-Lyne Johnson

    Very excited (and surprised) to see Vancouver on your book tour. I will see you at Books to Cooks in November! So nice of you to cross the continent all the way over here :). Love your posts and amazing recipes, can’t wait for the book.

  206. Melissa

    Deb! First time commenter–came to find a strata recipe though I have no business staying up late to prepare breakfast for tomorrow–got distracted by the amazing challah (just in time for the holidays! but it looks intimidating!)–and finally, I feel compelled to express (my own neurotic) concern that you are not giving yourself enough time to get from SF to Santa Cruz!

    Something to consider. It usually takes between 1-2 hours, the latter only if traffic is bad, which it usually isn’t at that time on a Sunday. BUT, who needs the stress of rushing? Enjoy Northern California, is all I’m saying. Don’t rush. I hope to attend one of the events! All the best on the book and Shana Tovah!

  207. Spanky

    *crying* I can’t go to those launches!
    Will you come to my kitchen in Sydney Australia? There’s probably room for the trike as well…

  208. Dubai Anna

    Honestly – who gets 372 comments on a single blog post? In this market of many hundreds and thousands of food bloggers? It doesn’t surprise me that people love your blog, but those numbers are GOOD, girl!

    And sigh, guess I didn’t expect Dubai, UAE to be on the list – make sure they send some books our way though.

  209. A true work of art… if I manage to work up enough courage, I will definitely try this… I am dreaming of that french toast. Oh, and by the way, congratulations, you have really come a long (and much deserved) way! I have been there for a good deal of the way, long before starting my only little blog.

  210. magnolia pulaski`

    BTW – Lake Zurich and Wheeling are not (even close to) Chicago. So you’ll be flying into O’Hare, but you are not coming to Chicago.

  211. Rumi

    Hi Deb…Long time lurker, first time commenter…. Please try and make it to Australia (Melbourne to be precise!!) Would LOVE to come meet you!! You do have fans down under you know, don’t ignore this hemisphere! Plus, the coffee and chocolates are amazing :-P
    Question, I want to pre-order the book, but was wondering how much content is relevant for vegetarians? Also, if the recipes are adaptable that’s cool too… Maybe an approximate idea?

  212. Ann

    First let me say that IMHO your blog is hands down the best food blog out there. I too have a tiny little kitchen, but love to cook so when I saw your blog I knew it was exactly what I was looking for! I haven’t been reading it for very long, but have already made a number of the recipes and have loved every single one. That’s why I’m so very disappointed that you aren’t bringing your book tour to the southern states! I had thought surely you would at least come here to Atlanta! Ah well, I’ll just have to content myself with reading your blog – and whipping up another batch of those yummy parmesean crackers; they’ve become a staple in my kitchen.

  213. Judi

    Yay! You’re coming to Toronto! Since it’s a ticketed event here, and the price includes a copy of your book, I’ve cancelled my pre-order with Amazon. My sons, who introduced me to the outstanding Smitten Kitchen will be coming too. Your announcement had the store’s phone ringing off the hook and I had to keep redialing, but I got those tickets! See you in November!

  214. Amanda

    Deb – I rarely comment but am a loyal reader and I send everyone I know to your site. I would come to your tiny kitchen anytime!! I am going to try to make it to the Columbus Circle appearance. My 10-month-old twins are the only possible snag (have to make sure my husband is free that night). Speaking of babies – do you take Jacob to Pediatric Associates? I thought I saw him there about a month ago but I had my hands full and when I turned my head for a moment he was gone. If it wasn’t him, then some other little boy has his absurdly cute hair!

  215. Jocelyn

    I can’t believe it’s been 6 years either, I remember pictures of you pregnant! Time sure flies!! I’m so excited for you to come to Toronto :) Only for one day though? How will you try the range of multicultural offerings we have? Congratulations on EVERYTHING :) :)

  216. Nikki

    I cannot wait for your cokbook. Seriously! I have already pre-ordered it but I might have to come see you on your book tour, so I will give the pre-ordered copy to my sister as a gift. Thanks for brining all that deliciousness into my kitchen!

  217. Mary Jo Cline

    I have been reading your blog for a long time, but have never commented. I love your blog. Had to wish you a safe, happy, adventure-filled book tour. Come to Indiana, please.

  218. shoshana

    Hey Deb –

    Thanks so much for the challa recipe. I have some fig butter from TJ’s in my fridge that I’m going to try using instead of making the paste you describe. It is very thick (hence butter, not jam or paste) so I think it will work. There is no added sugar either. I have to admit bread making is a little daunting to me but hopefully it will come out right. Will probably try to make this Saturday and bake it off Sunday….I think you mentioned the bread would be OK for a day in the fridge.

    PLEASE COME TO MIAMI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am from Oakland, and it would be great if you visited the East Bay in addition to SF. BUT more importantly, COME TO FLOR-EE-DAH!!!!

  219. CarolJ

    Chiming in on the Chicago sites – it’s interesting to me that the publisher picked two villages north of the city, rather than a location actually in Chicago. I wonder if the idea was to capture both Chicagoans and us fans in the Madison/Milwaukee area. However, for me, living near Madison, it’s definitely easier to get to Chicago (by car or bus) than to Lake Zurich (Hwy 12 nightmare) or Wheeling. And thinking of those living in Chicago, I’m puzzled that they’d choose a suburb not on Metra.

  220. Shannon

    Alas! No love for the south-east–I checked for stops in Georgia, NC, SC, and TN, but nothin’ doing. I shall have to be content to buy the book :)

  221. Hanananah

    I found a typo on your book tour page!! No where does it say the time and location for you Minneapolis/St. Paul stop. I’d like to know where I need to show up. =]

  222. Cynthia

    Hooray, I just bought my tickets for the Toronto date! I’m a long time reader and this is my first comment. I just want to say that I’m so happy for you to have a book and I’m thrilled to meet you.

    Small note: the phone number for the Cookbook store in Toronto ends with 2665, not 2655 as listed on your site.

  223. Darcie

    Deb, I’ve been reading your blog for several years but rarely comment. But I just had to say how excited I was to see your article in MS Living. I can’t wait to get my hands on your book! I wish you all the best as you juggle everything!

  224. This looks beyond amazing! And, I needed a challah recipe for my newly married, newly converted friend who better be having me over for Friday night dinner soon.

  225. jeff

    See you in Toronto! Amusingly, when I registered yesterday, the woman on the phone said “oh my God, you’re a guy!”. Yes, some dudes are excited about your cookbook too! ;-)

  226. I want you to know, I have a serious bread phobia. I seem to always run into some hiccup along the proofing and baking process. But I am slowly starting to be more adventurous in my baking. Thank you so much for this beautiful and inspiring recipe! I just successfully baked this about two minutes ago. It is cooling and my house smells amazing! Thank you so much for all your beautiful posts. I look forward to sharing this recipe with my readers and meeting you at the book tour!

  227. 6 years of amazing recipes AND a booktour! Big things are happening for you, Deb and you definitely deserve it! I can’t wait to get ahold of your cookbook and make my way through all the recipes. Your challah looks amazing, as your baked goods always do! I’ve never made challah and know that when I eventually do, your recipe and how-to will make the new-to-me-experience so much easier! Thanks for 6 years of awesomeness!

  228. Mel

    Congrats!! Can’t wait for the cookbook.
    Boston is so close to Cape Cod… and the Cape is beautiful… your publishers should set up a signing on our pretty spit of sand!! The book tour is about places you want to visit, right?? …. uh, of course not! :)

  229. Ah! This is like the bread of my dreams. It’s like you went into my head and pulled out the best idea I’d never even managed to come up with yet. I’m in love! Also, you really should add Minneapolis (Minnesota) to your book tour. Really. Pleeeeeeeease?

  230. Anita

    Hi Deb! Super congrats on the book! Quick question about pre-orders. I pre-ordered 3 copies on Amazon back in May but Amazon is still showing that the book won’t ship until Nov3-5. Is that a mistake on their part? I’d like to have the book as soon as possible (and I’m giving it as a gift to my mom and sister)… not sure if I should cancel the Amazon order and just buy it in the store. Any information you can provide would be very helpful!
    Thanks and congrats again!

  231. Randi

    Congrats, Deb! I would love to figure out a gluten-free version of this. DEB’S PUBLISHERS- Wheeling, IL is extremely far for anyone living in Chicago to get to in rush-hour traffic. Regardless of the miles because of the traffic density. From just below the loop, it would be 2 hours to get that far north in rush hour to arrive for the signing. Add 30-45 minutes longer if it’s raining that night. Really, really disappointed you didn’t select a Chicago location. Any working professional in Chicago would have alot of difficulty getting to Wheeling without taking several hours off of work.

  232. Amy

    I also wish you were coming to a Chicago bookstore, such as Women and Children First, which has a wonderful reading/signing space and a great online following. With all the foodies in the city, I’m sure you’d receive a wonderful welcome. Wheeling is not remotely part of Chicago–it’s even too far away to be considered a Chicago suburb.

    But I’m thrilled to try the recipe this weekend–if I can still find figs! I promised my Rosh Hashonah hostess a plain challah–now I can bring a sweet one as well. Thank you!

  233. Jit Lee

    @ #395 Emily –
    Wellesley Books in MA will be setting up their events page and ticketing facility next week; I guess many people have been calling, and they were actually thinking about moving to a larger venue :)

  234. JennaKay

    This looks beautiful (but entirely too complicated for an amateur such as myself)! I pre-ordered your book the day you announced it was available for pre-order. I SO cannot wait!!!

  235. bethtanya

    Deb, I love hearing about the book tour AND the challah. I am wondering if you make future posts about the tour whether you could perhaps do them separate from a recipe post as it makes it hard to sort through for recipe comments.
    Thanks, and Happy New Year:)

  236. Lisa

    this amateur/experimenter gained confidence in the kitchen after trying out one recipe after another from the Smitten Kitchen. I am so happy that there will be a book tour and I cant wait to greet you in person at the Beverly Hills Sonoma. As a someone who moved recently from Canada to the OC, I have yet to venture out and experience LA traffic. But I will be there Nov 2nd. Can’t wait, it will be first time attending any kind of book signing.

  237. Congrats on 6 years! And Washington DC isn’t too far from Virginia Beach (only like 3 hours), so that could actually be a doable trip. So excited for the book and thanks for sharing another preview recipe – this challah looks incredible and I love the way you braided the loaf together. Amazing… I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thanks for always inspiring me with your creations…

    1. deb

      Hi Samantha — You might like my apple and honey challah from last year.

      Chicago — We hear your concerns about the distance and are looking into adding another event at a downtown store. I will keep you posted. And definitely keep checking back on the Book Tour page. As I mentioned at the top, it’s very much a work in progress. What is scheduled will stay, but more events are likely to be added. :)

      Anita — Hm, that’s weird. is telling you that? Let me ask around and I’ll get back to you with a response.

      Amanda — Ha! I do. I think I took him in to have his little meatloaf feet looked at. They were fine. :) Bring your twins! My elders will march them right up to the front and be all, “Aren’t these cute? Don’t you want another?!”

  238. Laura

    “Sign my book?” was an ad in my high school yearbook years back. But how do I get you to sign this wonderful cookbook I have to purchase from webshop since I can’t wait the European version to come out. Paris and Rome and other cities of your European tour-to-be are quite far away from Arctic Circle and Rovaniemi… Thanks for all these wonderful recepies and gorgeous pictures!

  239. Oh, Deb, I’m so glad that you’re coming to Toronto! I’ve been an admirer of your blog for a long time (you were a big influence on my starting my own blog), even though this is my first-ever comment. I’d love to get to meet you.

  240. Meg B

    Deb this looks amazing!! And the book tour is awesome – please, please consider coming to DENVER and bring some challah with you! We’d love to have you!!

  241. Thank you for posting the braided crown challah technique and photos! I used my own recipe and found your technique very easy to follow. Now I am ready to bake for Rosh Hashanah on Sunday.

    I posted a link to your recipe and gave credit on my site, Dancing With Cancer: Living With Mets, The New Normal.

    1. deb

      Whee! Okay, it was a busy two days (more about why on Monday) but I am finally caught up on comments. First, THANK YOU. Your response to the book tour announcement has been wonderful. It has made my week. It has made me wish the book were out today!

      Second, I know I said this earlier, but please understand, I never said, “Ick! I don’t want to go to Miami/Denver/St. Louis/Minneapolis/Charlotte/Atlanta/Pittsburgh/SLC!” I would in fact love to go all of those places. My publishers planned the book tour and they really are trying to get me as many places as they can in the all-too-brief period between Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some places got unfortunately overlooked in the first draft. Fortunately, it’s not the end of the story. We’re adding events all of the time, so keep checking back (and of course, speaking up. They’re listening!) for changes on the Book Tour page.

  242. celesul

    Mmm. I’m going to have to make this for Rosh Hashanah. It looks super tasty! And you seem to have pretty clear braiding instructions, which is good, because I’ve only ever done the stand 3 or 6 strand braids.

    Also, please, please, please come to Ohio! I have to vouch for my hometown of Cleveland being awesome and cool, and being a frugal foodie’s dream (even though we are the butt of every joke). Also, Pittsburgh and Columbus are each only about 2 hours away, so it could draw some of them. So, another vote for Ohio!

  243. Sabrina

    SOOO looking forward to you coming to Santa Cruz! I shall drive over the mountain to get your cookbook signed! Awesome news for this bookseller!!

  244. This was delicious! I made fig and walnut bagels a few weeks ago and I loved the flavor combination so I added 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts to the puree. Great for breakfast with some solid honey smeared on it. Thanks for the recipe!

  245. Megan

    Another vote for Dallas/Ft Worth!! I don’t have anything against Houston or Austin, they’re just too far for me to travel for a book tour. But other commenters are right, you’re popular around here!!

  246. KathyS

    I tried this recipe last night. My dough came out much heavier than what is shown in the photo. My fig paste was very thick and hard to spread. That being said, the bread turned out fabulous! I will try it again–this was my first time making Challah, so I may have some things to learn about the dough and how it should be. My 23-year old son is a faithful reader of this blog and passed this on to me. Thanks for a great recipe! I can’t wait to try some of the very nice-sounding variations.

  247. Shannon

    What? No North Carolina? :) I guess we don’t match up to the big cities, but boy I’d love to see you come to central NC!


  248. Cathy

    While you’re in LA, why don’t you do a reading/signing at Small World Books in Venice? Or really anywhere after work hours (Book Soup?)– I can’t come in the middle of the day on a Friday… but I’d love to come after work one day…

  249. Not going to lie, your cookbook coming out is one of the things I’ve looked forward to the most this year (and I had a baby in June, so that should kinda show you how warped my priorities are). Now I am totally nerding out that you’ll be in Texas!! This looks fantastic!! I’m headed to a Rosh Hashanah gathering on Sunday, maybe I will make the challah from scratch. Fig is a great idea… I wonder how tiny apple slices would do in here?? Challah and apples and honey in one…

  250. Judy

    Hi Deb,
    I did it. My technique will need improvement (I didn’t get the dough rolled out quite thin enough), and with dates I think the 1/2 cup of water in addition to juice may be too much liquid. It’s not pretty, but OH! This is so good with dates. Lovely slathered with butter. The sweet of the dates with the salt bursting out of no where…. Ahh! Thanks for this (and for so many other great recipes that you’ve added to my canon)! Mmmm.

  251. Robyn Wells

    I can’t wait to see you at Politics and Prose in November. I am waiting for my challah to rise and I pray it looks and tastes as good as yours.

  252. Jack

    Wow, there are so many comments. I hope you manage to see this one.

    I’m tempted to try to make this, but with some sort of blueberry filling (since I have so many blueberries). Think that would work?

    My other thought was to use cinnamon.

  253. I came here via Pinterest and a creme brulee french toast recipe. Loved your “voice”, not to mention the recipe (this is on my to-do list to make) and this is the second post I land on. You wrote a cookbook! Will add your blog to my reader and check out more of your recipes… congrats on the book!

  254. Madeline

    Sorry to add yet another city to your list, but the original Spice House (the people who started Penzey’s) is near Milwaukee, and a real trip. It’s a tiny house with giant glass jars and overwhelming aromas. And if you’re there at the right time, you might get a little vanilla sugar in your hand.

  255. bmorecatlover

    Long time follower and baker of SK recipes for birthdays. Have already recruited three friends to come to the DC event at Politics & Prose. But, would you consider a stop in Baltimore? Maybe we could arrange an event at the Village Learning Place, a great old Victorian building that was a library branch. You’d love the venue and the community would love you too. I’ll buy you dinner (and a book, if I don’t already have one by then). Val

  256. Deb – lovely challah. And I’m so excited that you are coming to Vancouver for 2 signings – I’ve have to figure out which one I can get to. Like Alisha I’m thinking you will have a long day with both Vancouver and Seattle in one day but Book Larder is so lovely. Can’t wait!

  257. You are really coming to Philly? I am so thrilled! I am putting your visit to Philly on my iphone.
    Thank you for all great recipes!
    I can’t believe I might actually meet you.
    I am a Smitten kitchen groupee and silent fan for a long time!!!

  258. Avril

    Deb – You really do rock! I made your wonderful challah for Shabbat – couldn’t wait for Rosh Hashana. I will be making another one tomorrow! I used fresh figs and added a few dates in the fig mix. It was amazing – and looked just gorgeous on the table. Thanks so much for this and so much more good eating. (The baked orzo and eggplant – also fantastic).

  259. David S

    Thanks for this…Figs…olive oil…two things I can’t live without! How far in advance can I make the fig filling? Night before? Can I freeze it? Thanks much. Shana Tovah

    1. deb

      David S. — You can actually make the fig filling almost a week in advance. A few days is better, but since it is from dried and quite preserved fruits, it keeps well in the fridge.

      Charlie — No reason not to halve it. It will definitely bake faster.

      Jack — I am sure other fillings could work.

  260. Julie

    Hi Deb-
    Shanah tovah! Thanks for the seasonal and festive recipe.
    A big follower here with 4 young kids, I recently moved from San Francisco (Yay–you are coming there!) to the “east bay”, ie Berkeley/Oakland area–only 10 miles east. One thing that made the move easier for me was that the food culture in the east bay is even better than it is in SF. (i’m sure you’ve heard of a gal called Alice Waters….?) I see you are in SF, so why did your publisher not have you also visit Berkeley–just a thought for them (and you) going forward.
    Also, for your trip, if you are bringing your sweet Jacob, there are TONS of SF readers who can give you advice about what to do with your little one here. If you have questions, let us know!
    Good luck with your book tour. I hope to make it there, but with 4 littles, can’t say for sure!

  261. Anne

    Well, I was hoping for Detroit (I’m in Ann Arbor), but looks like no luck. If either the Chicago or Toronto events were on the weekend I could make it, but there’s just no way to make a 5 hour (10 roundtrip) drive on a weekday. Have a wonderful tour, though! I’m looking forward to the book.

  262. tina

    This challah is amazing! I made it as a tribute to my dad (who passed away in January)… his challah was the best I’ve ever tasted. His was more traditional, but he would have loved the fig paste and the olive oil. I can hear his voice telling me not to eat the whole loaf by myself. This is going to become a tradition in our house for sure. Oh, and can’t wait for the whole cookbook!!!

  263. Lauren

    YAY! You’re coming to Austin! Book People is right across the street from the flagship 80k sq ft Whole Foods store. Hopefully you can visit it, it really is phenomenal (disclaimer- I work for WFM). But if you eat nothing else during your time in Austin, go to Franklin BBQ. It’s amazing, and quite famous. Bon Appetit called it the best BBQ in America, and that was actually underselling it.

  264. anaheeta

    Just made this gorgeous looking bread…so proud and grateful! All the best for your tour…dare i ask if you can wing it to India anytime soon??!!!

  265. Esther

    The Challah is wonderful!! I was a little scared making it. I’ve never made anything like this before. But, it turned out [almost] perfect!! I was so pleased with myself after actually managing to braid it correctly that I let out a little squeal of hysterical delight! Lol It went down very well with my dinner guests. Everyone was amazed at how it looked and it was delicious! I had a little left over which I did use to make french toast. I can confirm that it really does make the best french toast EVER! Especially with the ricotta (your recipe) and honey. I may even make the Challah on Christmas Eve, just so I can make french toast with it on Christmas morning….it is THAT GOOD! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I really hope Cincinnati is added to your book tour. I know a lot of people (including myself of course) would be very excited to see you there!!

  266. Sarah

    Hi, saw this and loved it, and – sorry this is so wrong in so many ways, but so perfect – having made pork rillettes friday night, which were a little over salty – this has proved to be an amazing partner, not least to half a dozen of my daughters 20ish friends, who I swear ride by my house just in case it smells good – and this smelt heavenly. Thank you – and please head over to the UK!

  267. Dahlia

    Just made this for Rosh Hashanah! As if it wasn’t decadent enough to begin with, I spread a little goat cheese on top of the fig paste before rolling and sprinkled some thyme, in addition to the sea salt, over the egg wash. It smelled so good I can’t wait to eat it!!!
    I’ve never seen this method of round braiding and it came out so perfectly that I’m going to steal this for every round challah in the future-thanks, as always, Deb!

  268. Shelly

    Made this yesterday and it’s delicious and beautiful. Transferring the assembled challah to a pan is a bit challenging so I suggest trying to weave the challah on the parchment-covered pan you’re baking it on. My husband has already requested French toast with the leftovers… :)

  269. Amy

    Portland, Maine loves you too. Would be a quick trip up from Boston (2 hours door-to-door). I am making your apples and honey challah as we speak which I made last year — huge success. But can’t wait to try this intriguing recipe next time I make challah. Congrats on the book tour.

  270. Amy

    Made this today, and while it is not my most beautiful challah (The figs did some escaping from the bread) It smells delicious, and I can’t wait to taste it tonight.
    You should come to St. Petersburg or Tampa, FL….this winter. I’ve also got children to entertain Jacob! I can’t wait for my book to arrive!

  271. Katy

    This is my first comment on your blog, though I’ve been following it for years. I made a version of this last night — used your fig filling in my favorite (and traditional) challah recipe and we absolutely loved it. What a wonderful idea for challah!

  272. jill

    The Chicago stop is soooooo far away from Chicago. Please consider coming to Chicago proper. I will be happy to hold a signing party for you at my house near Wrigley field, this is a sincere offer.

  273. Becki

    Oh, I am so happy you are coming to Portland, Deb! I am looking forward to meeting you. Yours was the first food blog I followed, and I have made many of your recipes. I love the story that goes with every recipe and how much of your life you share with us. And the recipes come together just as you describe. I can’t count how many times I have made the caramel crack(ers). I roasted tomatoes today and we finished the baked orzo and eggplant for lunch.

    I made this challah today and I am so pleased with It!! My yeast breads are generally heavy small lumps. This challah is so tall and bronzed, I can hardly wait to slice into it! Thanks for the great instructions and the pictures of the weaving technique–they made a huge difference.

  274. Deb I just made my first challah from this recipe. It’s gorgeous! It’s a teensy bit overcooked and the fig is not as beautifully layered as yours, but for a first go, I’m very happy. Thank you.

    And if you come to the UK, I’ll be there (although a bit annoyed that I had your book on order and amazon has cancelled the order – guess it’s because it’s a different publisher?).

  275. Erin

    I can’t believe you started off being afraid to cook without a recipe! It’s such a testament to how far you’ve come in your cooking talent. The pictures in this post are beautifully done–fantastically displayed tutorials and finished product pictures make me want to try this recipe out even more! Plus, this challah sounds ridiculously good as french toast. Great idea!

  276. Mten

    I don’t know whether I’m doing something wrong, but my initial dough does not look nearly as moist and smooth as yours does in the dough hook photo (mine is dry and crumbly). One batch I added an extra egg to after seeing how dry it was, the other batch I added extra oil to–not sure how they’ll turn out yet. Did I miss something?

  277. This challah looks awesome, but I have to admit the weaving pattern seems pretty intricate/intimidating! The dollop of fresh ricotta sold me, though. This will be my first attempt at challah–I hadn’t even heard of it (I know, gasp) until I moved to Boston. I guess it’s immature, but I still say “Ain’t no challah back girl” in my head every time I eat it/think of it/see a sign for it. So glad you’re coming to Coolidge Corner–hope I can make it!

  278. Judith

    Shana Tova, Deb! I made the challah today with my daughters, aged 5.5 and nearly 8. They helped with almost every step. I showed them the beautiful pictures and got them interested; my older girl read the recipe to me, and I used the braiding part as a teachable moment for them: The braid of the challah represents the interconnectedness of all beings. We’re not afraid of multi-syllabic words. I’m not sure if that’s actually what a braided challah symbolizes, but it’s a good metaphor nonetheless. The challah turned out so well. I’m sad that I’m going to miss your Toronto Cookbook Store stop (I’ll be out of town), but glad I can tell you here how much my family and friends enjoy the fruits of your (our) labour! Hugs from Canada!

  279. Rachel

    I err… 10th the Dallas part of the tour! We love you here – and then I can tell my friends that I met the person who came up with the Roasted Buttermilk Chicken recipe. It’s a total hit; I have some soaking in the fridge right now, in fact. :)

  280. Jessica

    I’m sad that you’re not coming to Portland. I’d love to see you here! We’ve got Powell’s, the largest independent book store in the world!

    I love your blog and have been introduced to so many recipes I wouldn’t have previously found.

  281. Jane

    Deb’s publishers please please please send her (and Jacob and Alex) to Australia. Sydney/Melbourne or Brisbane all work for me, I will travel! :)

  282. Sara

    Just chiming in to request a book tour stop in Portland, Maine if ever the schedule allows! I know many mamas here who read your blog religiously who would love to meet you, and I bet you’d love our city’s award-winning restaurants and delicious, locally-produced ingredients, too… win-win, right?! :)

    Good luck on the tour!!!

  283. Sara

    PS- if you do have interest in the Portland, ME market, please consider Longfellow Books ( or LeRoux Kitchen (… both are wonderful little shops in our Old Port district with loyal followers!

  284. Stacey

    Deb, I made this challah yesterday – it was my very first time making challah, so thank you for the inspiration! Mine came out fairly dense. As this is my first challah-making experience, I wondered if you could tell me if this was the intent of the recipe or if perhaps I did something wrong (ie. knead the dough too much, etc.). Thank you!

    1. deb

      Stacey — Oh no! It shouldn’t be dense but it’s hard for me to say from here what went wrong. Maybe it needed to rise more? Did you feel like it was doubling in the correct time? It’s hard to knead the dough too much by hand but it is possible with a machine — though not terribly likely if you follow the times suggested here.

  285. Amy

    507 comments – WOW. Okay I didn’t read them all, but wanted to put a plug in for San Diego if it isn’t already mentioned. You have a huge fan base here as well. I shared your ricotta recipe with some friends, who shared it with other friends and well here we are! And it’s usually a race to see who makes your latest recipe first, but I have to say – this one may be my undoing.

  286. annieD

    Just chiming in with my friendly plea to come to Chicago! Someone above mentioned Women & Children First, and it really is an *awesome* bookstore if it’s doable. Deb’s Publisher, please make it (or something) happen! :)

  287. Dominika

    Made the Fig Challah….and it was fantastic. I followed the directions exactly. The fig paste is DELICIOUS, and your directions were easy to follow. I always let my dough rise longer than directions tell me to (I guess we keep it pretty cold in the house). I baked mine for 40 min – any less than that would’ve been underdone.

    The flavor of this Challah is just barely sweet. It’s not nearly as sweet as, say, cinnamon rolls or a chocolate babka, or other sweet breakfast doughs. The fig paste is barely scented with orange, and just sweet enough to make it worthy of dessert (slathered with good butter for course, and maybe a drizzle of honey). I liked it best on day one (as with most breads). Will DEFINITELY be making this again, and again.

  288. Marlana

    Delicious, thank you! I was looking for a new challah for the holiday and this fit the bill. The dough was a snap to work with, and the fig/sea salt combo is fantastic. This will definitely be a go to challah recipe for me.

  289. Anna

    This looks fantastic! Also, wanted to say congrats — I’ve been seeing your name everywhere, from the back page of Martha Stewart Living, to your recipe for Red Wine Velvet Cake in… Real Simple (I think). Oct. 30th cannot get here soon enough, and I’m looking forward to getting your signature when you visit Seattle.

  290. Fran

    I had a strong resistance to this when I suggested it to my family (because they are all crazy). But I substituted apple butter with wonderful results. It was a great recipe and I loved your braiding method.

  291. Heidi

    Woo-hoo Portland! Can’t wait. I so want my book to say “Hope you like the onesie!” Totally something I would do. I can’t talk and write at the same time.

  292. Paul

    Hi Deb,

    This looks amazing. I can hardly wait to find time to try it as I love challah. I have a question: can you please come to Minneapolis? We are the land of 10,000 lakes, but I would call us the land of home cooks and bakers. We would love it if you could come. I read your blog religiously and have enjoyed many of the recipes, and would be first in line to have you sign my book.

  293. Lynn

    Thank you Deb for this really special unique challa. I will need to practice my braiding technique (my husband thought the finished loaf looked like a turkey!)but we loved the bread (as well as the French toast, oh yum!). I have never made, eaten or seen any challa like this. It is not nearly as difficult to make as one would guess, very very impressive but surprisingly easy to put together. After braiding I wrapped and refrigerated it overnight, then the next morning, I let it sit out covered with a cotton dish-towel 2 hours before baking. Perfect rise, and so nice to be able to make-ahead. Many thanks and a sweet happy new year to you and your family.

  294. yvonne

    i made this on sunday for my jewish bf and it was DIVINE. it was my first challah, i didn’t have a mixing machine, so i kneaded by hand, and still it was so easy and came out perfectly bronzed from the oven. the only thing i had a little trouble with was stretching the logs before braiding. mine kept springing back to their rolled out size! so my challah had fewer and thicker braids, but was still beautiful when it came out. i think next time i will try rolling out the dough to the length i want the ropes to be, so i can skip the stretching part. the only other change i made was instead of fig paste, i spread apple butter inside. my bf said it was the best challah he had ever tasted. THANK YOU! and can’t wait for your book launch in nyc! i’m a fellow manhattanite, and your blog has given me confidence that amazing food can come from even the tiniest of kitchens.

  295. byLorili

    Yippee!! I’m putting Santa Cruz on my calendar. Altho, I’m going to say, I’m a bit nervous about you making it at 7:00, as it takes about 2 hours of fanatic driving to get from San Fran to Santa Cruz. And if you take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1), you’ll be sad you don’t have time to pause.

    Waiting anxiously for my pre-order!

    1. deb

      byLorilli — I am glad you can make it — and nervous for myself too! They assure me that there will be time, that Omnivore events only run an hour. Cross your fingers?

      Anita — Can you send a screenshot? thesmitten/gmail. Thank you.

  296. Anita

    Hi Deb! Any word back on the November shipping date issue? If it’s helpful, I can email you a screenshot of what’s showing up under the ‘My Account’ tab. I’m guessing this is a wider issue than just me, but if not, I will cancel and buy a copy when I come out for your DC tour dates! Thanks!

  297. christina

    i love, love, love everything you ever make. i am new to making breads, and when i saw this i thought “challenge accepted!!” i made it this weekend for my husband’s birthday and was so proud of how to looked and how it came out – thank you so much! french toast with the leftovers tomorrow, he can’t wait!

  298. christina

    ps: i’m in the group that’s sad that you won’t be near me, but so so so excited for you and i can’t wait to get my preorder as well!

  299. Gavin

    We would LOVE to see you in London… so tell your publisher the demand is there and it s a great foodie city to inspire you for the next one!!

  300. Laura

    I knew your book tour wouldn’t be coming to Laos in South East Asia where I’m currently living, but I was very excited to see that you’ll be visiting my parents’ public library in the Chicago suburbs. They are planning to attend and have strict instructions to buy your book for me and get it signed. Even though I didn’t use this recipe for my Rosh Hashanah challah, I used your circular braiding technique and it came out beautifully. When making your mom’s apple cake recipe on Sunday I was thinking how good it would taste with other fruit, so tonight I’m going to try a mango version.

  301. Amy

    Wish I could post the picture of my (your) challah. It was glorious. Our guests included someone from the French Pastry School here in Chicago– and she loved it!

    I didn’t notice that you said “dried” figs until I was in the process, so I used fresh figs plus some dates. Yum. My first dough didn’t rise (I think it was the yeast temp), but the second was perfect. For the reader intimidated by the braiding–this was the easiest braid I’ve ever done!

    Deb–Would your publisher think outside the box? It seems so limiting just to have a signing at a book store. This is huge foodie town, with lots of food related opportunities here. For instance, On Sept. 28-30, we have Chicago Gourmet in Millenium Park (, with food, wine, demos, book signings, etc. Or…the One of A Kind Show is Dec. 6-9. Thousands of people come each day, and there’s a fancy food section. It’s held in the Merchandise Mart, which also happens to hold The Chopping Block, a gourmet retail store and cooking school. Passers-by can look in the windows and envy those cooking!

  302. Carol

    I baked this challah for Rosh Hashanah. I had never made challah before. It was absolutely fabulous and looked gorgeous. I did need to add additional liquid (used about 1/2 cup more oj) to the dried figs as I simmered them for about 30 min. until they were tender. Perhaps mine were more coarsely chopped. I was challenged by the weaving process. However my boyfriend, who never bakes, saved the day. It made sense to him and he did it very easily. Thank you for the recipe. This will definitely become a Rosh Hashanah tradition.

  303. Carrie

    I have never posted anything on a blog before, with that being said I made your challah bread yesterday. You. Are. Awesome. It is amazing. Problem is I could eat it all in one day. Wondering if it freezes well? May have to make another to find out because this one is just about gone!

  304. MameM

    Deb! Congrats on the tour. I live here in Dallas and I am so bummed you won’t be adding that to your Texas tour :o( Also, I can pretty much PROMISE your editors you will have a huge showing in either SLC or Denver. I know so many people there that LOVE you, and both cities that have a GREAT local “foodie” network.

    On another note, I grew up in So. Flo. and my school was 90% Jewish. When I moved to So. Cal. for high school, I was in culture shock with no menorah’s in the grocery stores! Challah is something I miss from that culture. I am new to baking ‘yeast’ breads and Challah always seems so intimidating. I have decided I WILL bake one of these options. Thanks for making it always seem so “do-able”!

  305. Anne

    Just so you know, I am one of those people you make fun of–oh, you know–I pin photos of my baking projects on Pinterest! But that’s OK; I give you permission to make fun of me all you want as long as you keep recipes like this one coming! This challah was the best I have ever eaten, much less the best I have ever baked.

  306. Ji Soo

    Is 2 1/4 teaspoons the correct amount of yeast? I made it with this amount and my bread did not rise at all! Perhaps my yeast is bad?

    Your recipe for ‘best challah’ has 1 1/2 TABLESPOONS of yeast for 8 1/2 C flour. This seems to be quite a different ratio compared to this recipe. But your recipe for ‘apple and honey challah bread’ calls for 2 1/4 tsp like this one. I’m a bit confused. HELP!

  307. Maya

    I made this challa for Rosh Hashana dinner and it was literally GONE in 60 seconds. I LOVE YOU! I’m so sad to be missing your tour date in Los Angeles :(

  308. Sarah

    Deb, please come to Montreal! Its such a food oriented city, and we would love to have you. I know a lot of people who would be ecstatic and I even have the perfect venue. I know its a long shot, but I would be remiss if I didn’t try :)

  309. KatieO

    Just enjoyed making this beautiful bread. I gathered the ingredients for two, knowing I would bake another the next day. Congratulations and thank you for this deliciousness!

  310. Regan

    I am a faithful follower of your site and will definitely be purchasing a book. I may even get it signed as you are scheduled for Austin. Today alone, I churned out your favorite chocolate chip cookies, chocolate toffee cookies, and blueberry crumble bars for care packages. I had a slightly off-topic question. Who manufactures those adorable glass ramekins pictured above or what store carries them? Thanks

  311. Bonny Davidson

    Will it seem like I’m stalking you if I come to all of your Chicago events? I promise to bring different friends to each one.

    Another Chicago location suggestion: I’d love to see you demo and sign at Green City Market in Chicago. It’s our premier farmer’s market and the one that Alice Waters calls “the best sustainable market in the country.” (She’s just one of the cookbook authors who has done signings there.) By November, Green City Market, which is located on the near north side of Chicago, much more downtown than Lincoln Square, will be held indoors on Saturday mornings. So, excellent day of the week for anyone coming from another locale, an excellent location for public transit commuters, and an excellent opportunity for you—a foodie trifecta of sorts. You can find out more about the market at

    P.S. For our Yom Kippur break fast, I’m making your challah, my husband is making your fresh ricotta, and as you suggested we’re going to drizzle it with honey (local, of course).

  312. Stacey

    Deb – regarding my slightly-dense challah – now that you mention it, I didn’t think the dough doubled in size during the time allotted, but as a novice bread maker I wasn’t sure if i should let it keep rising or not so I opted for not. I also used instant yeast… would that make a difference? THanks!

    1. deb

      Stacey — Instant yeast could absolutely be the culprit; it is not the same as Active Dry. Instant yeast, despite its confusing name, actually works much more slowly than active dry yeast. The term “instant” refers to the fact that you can throw it right into your dough; it doesn’t need to be proofed first in a warm liquid. It was designed for use with bread machines, that often run in longer cycles so can do slower rises.

      Regan — Thank you. The ramekins are actually little Duralex drinking glasses.

      Em — It’s pretty dense but very moist.

  313. Beanwean

    Ahem. The Book Larder is a fabulous *little* space, but I was really hoping you’d be somewhere much larger, like Third Place Books, so more than a handful of people could see you. Plus, there’s no parking in Fremont.

  314. Emily Reel

    Please come down to Charlotte, NC! Congratulations on the book. It looks beautiful…can’t wait to get mine, and gift one to my sister too. You deserve all the best. Your blog has inspired and motivated me to cook more and try different things I never would have thought I liked before. Thank you!

  315. Sonja

    This Challah was amazing!! I made it for Rosh Hashanah and am now making this challah for my cousin’s bat mitzvah next weekend. Question: do you think I can make other fillings from other dried fruits? Apples? Cherries? would you do the same proportions?

  316. Nan

    I am thrilled that you will be at the Cookbook Store in Toronto. It is a lovely, small space and so friendly! I hope you enjoy your visits to Toronto and Vancouver. You should see if you can fit Ottawa and Montreal in as well.

  317. Angela

    I cheated and used my bread maker on dough cycle to make the dough, but unlike the normal directions where you put the yeast in last, it didn’t work. I mixed the yeast and water as you suggested and then added it to the wet ingredients and followed with dry, turned it on and 1.5 hours later, beautiful dough that turned into a beautiful challah. I can’t wait to eat it, but it just came out of the oven. I looks just like the picture. Thank you for sharing this. P.S. I also made the orzo, eggplant and mozzarella…OMG…delicious.

  318. Karen

    Hi, Deb — I’m a longtime reader and I was relieved to see that Powell’s in Portland is among your list of tour stops. If you are going to do a demonstration, I vote for a repeat of Project Wedding Cake! ;-) Whenever I consider taking on some daunting (but usually exciting cooking challenge) I immediately think of what you went through during that amazing effort. I’m pretty sure I could produce such a thing as well but my big worry would be whether I could survive the stress and anxiety of taking on something of such significance.

    I’m so pleased with the success you’ve achieved through the pursuit of your passion and that you’ve been able to abandon your more conventional office job. During the early days of your blog I always felt a bit sad that you were toiling away at something rather mundane in comparison to what you were obviously capable of doing. And the fact that you are able to spend so much time at home with your sweet little Jacob is just icing on the wonderful cake of life.

    Many kudos to you, Deb!


    1. deb

      Karen — You made me sniffly. I always remember how unhappy I was, because I was never doing work I loved. I’ve gotten very lucky since! Project Wedding Cake — ha! If only I could stay the full week it would require in Portland!

      Angela — Yeah, it probably didn’t work because bread machines use Instant or Rapid-Rise Yeast, which does not need to be proofed so can be tossed in with the rest of the ingredients. I don’t use it as often in recipes because I find that it takes longer to make things rise (most people using bread machines expect things to take a few hours so ease — not having to pre-proof — is placed at a premium over speed).

      Sonja — I am sure other fruits would work. When baking with dried fruit, I recommend plumping it first in a warm liquid so it doesn’t plump itself from the moisture in the bread, leaving the bread more dry.

  319. Shelly

    Wow, I remember way back before Jacob, I remember your “hidden” announcement and the months leading up to his birth, and now you’re doing book tours. I’m so impressed and so happy this has worked out for you!

  320. laura

    longtime follower and YAY!! congratulations on the book tour! here’s to hoping you pass through the midwest (st.louis to be more exact)!

  321. Antonella

    As always, I am so excited to try the recipes you post! This is my first time making challah and I have quite a few fig leaks and my braid arms were short and stubby. I think I probably need to roll the rectangle out bigger….what thickness am I looking for at this step? Thank you! And ps: your blog always bring such and excitement and happiness to my day : )

    1. deb

      Hi Antonella — You’re trying to make the log as wide as you can on your counter, or if your counter is really big, as wide as feels comfortable (i.e. maybe arm width). Half of that should give you a good length for each rope. If it didn’t this time, go a little wider next time.

  322. Serena

    My boyfriend wandered into the kitchen while my loaf was on its second rise, took one look at it, actually stepped back, and stammered “You MADE that?!” Slam dunk!

  323. Sonja

    I am making 14 Challahs for my cousin’s daughter’s bat mitzvah this Saturday so I tried some other dried fruits combinations – your dough makes some beautiful loafs!!!! Using only dried fruits as you suggested, I made sour cherry/orange (zest), Apricot/ Date, and Apple/cinnamon. I hope everyone asks me where I got the recipe so I can point them to your blog!!!!

  324. anita

    I’ve made this bread twice now, never having made bread before. I’m not sure if it’s the type of yeast i used, but the first time I only waited an hour for it to rise, as opposed to waiting for the bread to double in size. As a result, it was a little dense. The second time, I waited more like two hours and the dough truly doubled, and the resulting bread was much more light. Thanks for the inspiration.

  325. anita

    I did have a little trouble stretching to dough, though, as it was very elastic. I maybe got to two feet, maybe two and a half. Definitely not three. Still turned out beautifully, but wasn’t quite as woven as yours.

  326. Brooklyn

    Wow. This came out excellent. Another amazing recipe from you! I will make this every year. Thanks for posting it. Looking forward to the book!

  327. Lemon Daquise

    My second edition of your challah is in its first-rise stage:) First one was superb and I was inspired to use up a fig/pistachio “compote/jam” I preserved when the figs were sliding off my parents tree in August. Today I am making the challah with a low sugar plum jam (yes the plums also fresh-shaken off a friend’s tree:)). Thank you for inventing such a fabulous use for jams. Am going to try blueberry jelly next time. I am optimistic that any spreadable fruit perserve will work.

  328. Molly

    Hi Deb! This is my first time commenting, but I’ve been reading for a while and am always inspired/excited to try everything you post. I made this challah for my family’s yom kippur break fast yesterday and it was a huge hit. I had a thought though, when I read a comment or two above about the dough being too dry/too sticky: I tried adding the flour a cup (or less) at a time instead of all at once and didn’t end up using the last 1/4 cup or so. Different flours definitely absorb different amounts of water! This method might work better for those who had trouble with the moisture content of their dough.

    Also, my sister and I are very excited for your Philadelphia stop! Congratulations on the book!

  329. Alix

    I had the same problem anita did! Just made it, and only let dough rise an hour, and it came out rather dense – but delicious. The fig paste is excellent. Will give it a bit more rising time next time – and there will be a next time. Oh btw pulled it from the oven an hour ago and 3/4 loaf gone. I used Fleishermann’s Rapid Rise yeast.

  330. Jori

    Thought this might be a little too adventurous for my meat-and-potatoes-and-raisin-challah family at Rosh Hashanah, so I made your apple-and-honey challah on RH… huge hit! Then, returned home itching to make this one. O.M.G. Made it for Yom Kippur break fast (alongside your roasted tomato soup with broiled cheddar lids)… just the hubby and I. So, so incredible! I think you’ve spoiled me forever for lesser challahs :) Can’t wait for your Philadelphia stop. Thanks as always for the awesomeness!

  331. Jenn

    enhorabuena!! congratulations!!

    i can not wait until your book is released! i found your food blog about 3 years ago while i was living abroad and missing home… your brownie recipes not only eased the homesickness but made me very popular with co-workers :)

    nothing would make me happier than to be at one of the Chicago-area book signings, but i’ll also keep my fingers crossed for Kansas City to make the winter/spring 2013 tour!

    thanks for all of the beautiful fotos, delicious recipes and wonderful stories <3

  332. Christina

    My roommate and I LOVED this. It was gone within a day. I look forward to seeing you in Boston.
    Thanks for sharing your gift!

  333. Constance

    Directions say: Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as WIDE as feels comfortable (I take mine to my max counter width, a pathetic three feet), and divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and fig filling. [emphasis mine]

    I just can’t envision this meaning anything other than that I’m supposed to stretch the log to increase its length, not its width. Correct?

  334. Hi Deb, I’m really not trying to plug myself for an advertisement but as someone who loves to make bread, you HAVE TO know about this Hokkaido milk toast I recently discovered!! It’s the most dreamy, moist, stringy and chewy toast you’ll ever have! better than loaf of white bread or brioche in my opinion. Not gonna insert a link but it’s on the blog.

  335. Liz

    I made this specifically for making french toast. Substituted the fig filling for some jarred fig/balsamic spread I had on hand. Turned out great and made for the tastiest breakfast this weekend. Thanks for the recipe!

  336. Cy

    Question and compliment! :-)

    Dear Deb, this was the first bread I made in my life and it turned out AWESOME, like every one of your recipes that I’ve ever tried! I was sooooo proud! I LOVE your page! I’ve seen some people asking about other fillings for this bread, and I see it’s OK to try something different from the figs, but I have no idea of what would yield equal sweetness and texture, and no idea on how to make a different filling. I’m an amateur in the kitchen, but would love to try other versions of this bread, I just love to eat it by ripping the layers apart!
    Do you have any tips on how to choose and make another filling??
    Thank you so much!

  337. Sarah

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since I first saw it. I was at a friend’s kitchen and had the chance to cook challah but had to work with what was available. Being inspired by you, I infused the dough with cardamom, fennel seeds, and anise seeds, and rolled the dough with strawberry jam inside. Then I dusted the top with the same spices and an egg wash. The whole fig, olive oil, sea salt thing definitely needs to be done, but I thought my makeshift creation was quite tasty. Thanks for the inspiration!

  338. Antonya

    Well, if you ever have time, it would be great to see you in Santa Fe! Though high altitude baking is a different beast. Debating making either the challah bread or pumpkin cinnamon rolls today. Decisions, decisions….

  339. Cy

    hummmm, you are SO right!! Thank you so much for your answer!! I also saw a recipe using Poppy Seeds, honey and Cinnamon! I wanna try all of them! Have a wonderful weekend, honey! :-D

  340. This is sooooo good. It’s depraved! You have to roll the dough pretty thin. I also tried this with a filling of sweetened onions, fried just until soft, added some poppy seeds (kind of wht is on top of bialys, and put poppy seeds on top. Another personality, but really, really good! Thanks for a great recipe!

  341. Marilyn

    Hi Deb – I know you are super busy with a new book and a book tour (congratulations, by the way! I’ve got my e-book copy and can’t wait to explore a real life version when I get it for Christmas!), but I just had to share what I just made with you.

    I have a friend who is allergic to dairy (the poor thing) and I was thinking about how delicious this fig, olive oil and sea salt challah is and how it is dairy free and then started thinking of all the other things I could swirl into challah… and decided to try a cinnamon sugar and maple challah so my dairy-free friend could have ‘cinnamon rolls’. I swapped the honey with pure maple syrup and used 1/4 muscovado sugar, 1/2 cup normal brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon for the filling. Divided the dough into four so I could seal all the cinnamon sugar goodness into each part of the braid (some still leaked out) and baked it as normal… and oh my goodness. It is amazing. And my friend is over the moon. All thanks to your challah recipe. Brilliant. Much love from the other side of the world.

  342. Kelly Diffily

    I have a lot of questions/thoughts. First, I can’t wait for your Philadelphia stop.

    Second, I *think* I’m going to take this on for Thanksgiving. I’m basically a bread novice, aside from your pizza dough, which I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with. Do you think a novice can handle this beauty? (FYI, a non-novice breadmaking friend made this for a dinner party and it was FAN-tastic!)

    Third, why AP flour (vs. bread flour)? (I’m confused re: bread flour)

    Fourth, assuming I do make it for thanksgiving, we are traveling to the in-laws, so I’d like to pre-prep as much as possible a day or two ahead of time, and bake it fresh at their place. Could I assemble the whole thing a day ahead of time and refrigerate? (If so, would I do the 2nd hour rise after I take it out of the fridge/before baking? Or would I get a slow 2nd rise in the fridge?) Could I assemble and freeze (if so, I assume I would have to defrost and THEN allow for 2nd hour rise?)?

  343. Gail

    When I brought this in for Thankgiving dinner yesterday someone looked at it and said “Is that the Fig Challah? That’s why I’m here.” It was met with rave reviews once we started eating it too! Definitely making this again (I need to get better at the braiding).

  344. My dad had never had Challah before and after I made this he ate half the loaf. I feel like that sentiment is enough; it’s his way of gastronomically giving you a high 5. My boyfriend’s Jewish family loves me almost more than their own children soley based on my Challah, rugelach and their over-all previously-dessert-deprived existence.

  345. Kate from JH

    Dear Deb,

    I am new to you and your cookbook, which is LOVELY, and I am a novice baker in my free time. I also live at elevation (6,200 ft) which I find challenging sometimes (well, really all the time!). I did not have the fortune of being raised with a family that valued baking or cooking, and would maybe never have thought myself worthy of trying if it hadn’t been for my stepmother. We never got along very well but we were always able to bond over food programs such as Jacque and Julia, Barefoot Contessa, Everyday Italian, etc. She got me initially excited about food and continues to instill confidence in my growing practice. I have never tried something as “advanced” as this recipe, mostly because I find baking breads to be the most daunting in general, though having a stand mixer alleviates this fear a bit :) A couple questions re: this challah recipe, which I made last night and really liked!. I, too, share an obsessive quality in following a recipe, and so. . here goes nothing:

    1) I love challah breads for their richness. . but wondering if I could up the “richness factor” a bit, so it tastes more like an “eggy” challah? Would this be achieved by adding a 3rd egg, or an egg yolk??

    2) I could not find flaked sea salt in the grocery store :(, so instead I bought coarse sea salt. . what is your reasoning for flaked? Is it the weight of the salt? When i took my first bite of this bread, the first thing I tasted was salt. So I did brush a few of the salt granules off the finished product. Which is GORGEOUS by the way.

    3) As a novice baker, what happens to the dough if kneaded for 5 minutes vs. 8? My co-worker laughed AT me when I read that part of the recipe instructions and said, “knead for 5 to 8 minutes?!?! That is a large time difference there!” . . yes, I am a total precision nut. :) I decided on 7 minutes, and while I don’t find the bread to be dense, I am curious if kneading it for a shorter or longer period would affect how airy/light the end result will be? And in this vein, does the length of time the yeast is left to ferment affect the amount/size of bubbles present in the bread?

    4) When you said to add S&P to the fig mixture to taste, I (unsurprisingly) went a touch too heavy with the salt. So I decided to add a splash of Almond Extract. This did help to alleviate the slightly salty taste. . but wondering if you think that is a good flavor addition?

    5) Finally, I used fresh squeezed Orange Juice instead of OJ from a carton. . thoughts on that? Is it better to use processed OJ instead?

    Thanks for listening. . sorry for the novel! I can’t wait for my next endeavor from your book. .



    1. deb

      Kate — I am so glad you’re enjoying the book. You can definitely try adding another yolk or two for additional richness, you might only need to adjust back the liquid slightly. Flaked sea salt is my favorite for texture (it’s like and flaky, not coarse and crunchy). Flaked weighs much less so if using a coarse salt, you’d want to use less. (Sorry you found out the hard way!) If kneading by hand, I would not skimp on the kneading. If kneading in a machine… well, there’s no reason to! It won’t be *bad* bread if not kneaded as long, just not as delightful in texture as it could be. OJ from a carton is just fine!

  346. SG

    I had the same question as Kate: 5) Finally, I used fresh squeezed Orange Juice instead of OJ from a carton. . thoughts on that?

    With fresh squeezed orange juice, just use the same amount?

  347. Tara

    Hi Deb,

    I am loving your cookbook!! I have a quick question. I am making this for Christmas breakfast but don’t think I’ll be able to get it done in time that morning. So I plan to keep the dough in the fridge overnight. Should I do the initial rise and weave the dough before putting it in the fridge? Then how long would I leave it to sit in the morning before baking it? I can’t wait to make it, but don’t want to screw it up! Thanks!!

    1. deb

      Hi Tara — You can pause the dough in the refrigerator at any time. However, I think the ideal time for this bread might be right after you’ve formed it. Put it in the fridge overnight on its tray, covered loosely with oiled plastic. In the or whenever it is needed in the next 24 hours, let it finish “puffing” a bit out of the fridge and bake it.

  348. Yeow!
    600 comments and counting. Leave it to smitten K to have just the challah recipe I was looking for… To adapt to a recipe I was about to ” conceive” for Food52. thinking leeks and olives in the bread dough… Your braid technique is brilliant, of course. If you meet a fan by the name of Vivian in the Ann Arbor area… That’s me.

  349. Tara

    Hi Deb,

    Thank you so much for the tip! I ended up making this bread for both my family and my in-laws and it was a huge hit both times! I weaved it the night before as per your instructions and it turned out heavenly. The lemon bars and short ribs were also a huge hit. I seem to be using your cookbook on a daily basis. Thanks again!

  350. Lucy

    Just to tell you, i made this challah for my Personal Trainer’s birthday and he loved it so much he hugged me and gave me the session free!

  351. This was super delicious! It came out fluffy and flavorful, probably the most successful bread baking project I’ve ever accomplished. I substituted homemade date paste for the figs, which aren’t in season right now, and sprinkled sugar in the raw on top instead of sea salt (to complement the sweetness of the dates). WOW! And so beautiful too! Thanks for the inspiration.

  352. Marta

    Just finished my breakfast – two slices of challah with butter – and while marvelling how excellent it was, I thought – well, why don’t you let Deb know? So here it is – I thought you’d be happy to know that your book made it to Poland :) I received it for Christmas – what a great surprise it was! And yesterday I made the challah, it rose nicely and came out of the oven queite impressive :) And now I’m sitting at work, in front of my computer, looking at the last challah crumbs and wishing I had more…

  353. Hmm! I am so excited to try this…but it’s been in the oven for the last 45 minutes, and I just put it in for an extra 10! I don’t know what the deal is, but it’s just not baking through to the center. I’ve never had this problem before, and I’m baffled. Anyone else? Anyone?

    It smells amazing though. I am so hungry right now.

    As a side note, I didn’t have enough figs on hand, so I made a fig-apricot paste and used up all my nasty old dried fruit! We’ll see how it tastes. Heavenly, I’m sure.

    1. deb

      Emily — With breads especially, baking times are really estimates. Your bread could have puffed more or ended up bigger (taller) after weaving than mine or your oven could run cooler than mine… the variables are endless. Reduce the temperature and keep baking it until it is done.

  354. Fionnuala

    Hi Deb, Thank you so so much for sharing your lovely recipes! I made this last night, and although my terrible oven completely burnt the bottom of it, after cutting this bit off, it was DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to make it again to share with my mum. I also look forward to practicing my plaiting – my husband just laughed at last night’s effort, though he loved the finished product:-) I also made your squash & farro salad last week for lunch with a friend (who is not good with gluten, but can eat spelt) – she said it was delicious, and my husband who finished it off that evening also loved it, especially the vinaigrette. I’d never tried farro before, but loved its crunchiness. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and lovely recipes! (I did find one thing not 100% clear in the recipe above – how should I raise it the second time – should it have cling film on it, or a towel / wet towel? This didn’t cause me any problems though!

  355. jj

    this looks fantastic. I am just dying to try this same method but with a tomato sauce/green olive filling. i know it sounds super weird but it’s a really common filling here in burekas (savory pastries with different fillings). do you think that would be just as successful? have you thought of/made challah with other savory fillings?

    1. deb

      jj — I’m more concerned about the wetness of those ingredients. Green olives should be fine. But I think a wet sauce would keep it from baking well in the center. Burekas usually use a flaky dough, right?

  356. jj

    Yep it is! I was wondering the same thing.. how to thicken the tomato sauce.. Or maybe even a sun dried tomato paste. Iguess i have some experimenting to do this weekend :)

  357. Noemi

    I just made this bread last night and it was so perfect and beautiful! I am keeping some leftovers aside for French Toast tomorrow morning. I made my filling with prunes instead of figs, and it still turned out wonderfully. It was fun to make and beautiful despite my crummy braiding skills– my husband guessed that it was a giant pretzel when he saw it before baking. Thank you so much for another wonderful and tasty recipe!

  358. Janice

    Hi Deb:
    I love this recipe and have made it twice. However, each time, my crust has ended up very crunchy and dry. The center of the bread is still soft and moist. Any suggestions for what I might be doing wrong?

    1. deb

      Janice — When the outside becomes overcooked before the center is, it can help to try a reduced baking temperature. If the issue is the bottom of the loaf scorching, you might want to double or triple-up your baking pans for a thicker base that distributes heat better.

  359. Meg

    Oh this challah is just to die for! The flavors are wonderful, and the loaf looks so beautiful. I’ve only ever made challahs with a regular braid before, never round, but your instructions made it so easy, and it turned out beautifully! Thank you for the amazing recipe! I’m hoping my family can restrain themselves so there is some leftover for french toast in the morning.

  360. lilly

    tried to make this today however i followed the exact measurements (double checked with weight for the flour) and it turned into a stiff hard dough that the kitchen aid could not even kneed with the dough hook attachment. Any idea what went wrong?

  361. I’ve started making this with 1.5 of whole wheat flour and 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour. It’s not dense at all, but I find it makes it a lot more filling.

  362. lilly

    Success! I’m sorry for wasting your time, i narrowed down the problem… it turns out that my ‘exact’ weight measurements were done on a scale with very nearly dead batteries giving me the wrong weight. But now i know that the weight measurement equals to about 2 1/2 cups flour per my measuring cups, looks like i should invest in some new ones! Thank you for your speedy response, I remade the dough and it turned out great, I was wondering how long it would be safe to keep in the fridge unbaked? Thank you and sorry again

  363. I just made this over the weekend with two of my friends and it turned out wonderfully. The loaf looks so impressive when it’s done, but I found it really simple to make (I do a lot of baking). There’s more commentary and pictures on my blog, but suffice to say, I am dying to experiment with other fillings (blueberry! cherry!)

  364. Jeannette

    Hi Deb! I made this challah in February and it was so delicious! I’m planning to make it for Rosh Hashanah for my boss. Do you have any recommendations on how to present it as a gift? What would be the best way to wrap it? Thanks!

  365. Aviva

    Just finished reading like 516 comments on your “AMAZING” looking honey cake!!can’t wait to try it! Now I made it to 85 plus a few here but can’t do anymore! My question is does it matter which type of dried fig one uses?? ie Calimyrna figs, or Mission which type would be best and is it ok to double the recipe or best one challah at a time? Yum yum I can almost taste it! Wonderful great recipe :)

  366. Felicity

    I love this Challah recipe, although I can’t find figs in the stores near me but dates have worked as a tasty sub! I have even filled it with blueberry compote before, the bread dough is such a good vessel for flavours.

  367. Tamara

    Okay, I made your apple and honey challah last year and LOVED it, so I think I’m ready to take the plunge with this. Question about doubling (or even quadrupling?) the recipe – I’d love to get four loaves out of this. Would I quadruple everything in the recipe, including the yeast and how much honey it needs to grow? Or would I quad everything BUT the yeast and that has a different measurement? It also occurs to me that I can make my loaves smaller than yours and just double it. Any insight would be appreciated! To me baking challah is too much work to just get one loaf out of it! Shana tova to you and yours.

    1. deb

      Tamara — This makes quite a big loaf, even though it’s a standard size recipe. If you don’t want four BIG loaves, you might triple everything then divide that by four. All the measurements should be tripled or quadrupled, whichever you choose.

  368. Tracy

    Deb, I love your site, and your cookbook (which I have been steadily working my way through…the recipes are coming out beautifully and reliably, which is to me the sign of a GREAT cookbook). I would like to divvy this recipe into two smaller loaves (so I can give one away…I can’t smell it baking and not eat SOME of it)…what would you recommend as cooking time for half-sized loaves?

    1. deb

      Tracy — It’s almost impossible for me to guess the baking times of halved loaves without making them, but I do think you’ll find them to still be a nice size, so I’m all for it! I’d start looking in at 25 minutes, and then every 5 minutes after that.

  369. Navah

    I am putting this in the oven soon. I increased the recipe by 50% and made two loaves. I decided to leave the figs unpureed, as I like chunks of fruit in my bread. The first loaf I put together ended up quite a mess, as the logs tore a lot (as happened to tamara at comment 635), so I ended up with a two-strand twisted challah instead of a braided one. For the second loaf, I rolled out very long, thin rectangles, and only put the filling halfway up to ensure a complete layer of fig-free dough on the outside of the log. This went better, but I only ended up with long enough strands for one braid crossing after the initial middle crossing. My conclusions:
    1. This has to be made as a large loaf both to allow the proper dough-to-filling ratio and to have enough dough (reducing the amount of dough while keeping the ratio the same doesn’t work too well);
    2. Pureeing the fig filling is important to allow stretching without tearing;
    3. Roll out as wide a rectangle as possible before filling to minimize stretching (and thus tearing), as other people have mentioned.
    I’m an experienced bread and challah baker, but I’ve never made a stuffed challah; it’ll definitely take more practice! Hopefully the filling that escaped won’t burn too badly.

  370. Lisa

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this delicious recipe & helping contribute to the success of our Hebrew School Rosh Hashanah bake sale! We baked & sold Fig, Olive Oil & Sea Salt Challah. They were not only delicious, but also BEAUTIFUL! Also, we used your apple cake recipe (Mom’s Apple Cake). Divided the apple cake batter into 1/2 and baked in disposable 9×5 tins — we received many compliments! So thanks, again! And Happy New Year.

  371. Sal

    Just wanted to say thanks again for sharing this recipe, Deb. Some mornings, like today, I just wake up with the overwhelming desire to make this beautiful challah! I originally tried it with the figs but then, because I can never just follow a recipe without changing SOMETHING I made it with dried apricots and I haven’t gone back. I’ve even made it with lemon and honey when I didn’t have an orange in the house!

  372. Amica

    Hi Deb! I made this for Rosh Hasanah and I felt like a rockstar baker. I am thinkinh about doing the same for thanksgiving in honor of Hannukah but am thinking about a pumpkin filling. I am guessing I will do something with a canned purée and spices- any thing else I should try to thicken it with?

  373. Lara

    I made this with apricots instead of figs and it was absolutely great! I had a hard time rolling out the strands without the filling seeping out the sides though. I can’t wait until I’m able to make it the way it’s posted here.

  374. If I wanted to put the dough in the fridge overnight, would I do so before the braiding and second rise? Or after the braiding? (And then let it come to room temp and bake?)

  375. Adam

    Hi. Deb.. I’ve tried to make this recipe three times, and I’ve had the same trouble each time. I prep the yeast mixture with warm water and honey and mix it with the eggs and honey. I add the salt and Flour and mix with a bread hook for 5 Minutes… And the dough comes out like a stiff pie dough and doesn’t rise. It is stiff and can’t easily be rolled out. It looks nothing like the wet dough you show in your picture.

    Any suggestions on what I’m doing wrong?


    1. deb

      Hi Adam — Can I ask how you measure your flour or do you weigh it? If you’re scooping and packing cups in, you’ll end up with a lot more flour than most recipe-writers intend. (I use 125 gram cups, which are definitely on the light side — I scoop-and-sweep or fluff-and-sweep.) Not to be accusatory, of course, I just want to start troubleshooting so I can help.

  376. Juliana

    This was unbelievably delicious and surprisingly easy! At first, the directions intimidated me, but the vast majority of the baking process is idle (risings and things) and the braiding directions were such a cinch (it took less than 5 minutes to roll out the supple dough, add the filling, and braid!)

    Everyone was really impressed by this, and I think it will be a regular at every holiday and Shabbat table. Not to mention–it was just awesome this morning for breakfast. We toasted it and put a little goat cheese, honey, and a dash of sea salt on top. Just perfect.

  377. Amy

    I am going to try a mix-up mash-up between this recipe and your recent one for cranberry-orange breakfast buns. I’m going to try to make a cranberry paste with cranberry, orange zest and brown sugar. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear. I’ll try to remember to let you know how it turns out. I make your regular challah and your apples and honey challah recipes all the time! Thanks for these wonderful recipes and the inspiration.