Our Challah Bread Recipe is a sweetly delightful loaf to make at home and all the more decadent when it’s baked fresh in your own oven! Challah bread is a staple at Jewish high holidays and the rest of us love to celebrate with it too! The Challah loaf is loved all around the world for it’s yellow, sweet, and deliciously soft center. It’s simple to make at home and the real beauty of the challah loaf shines through in it’s braiding. Challah dough is soft but pliable, so it’s perfect to braid. You can keep it simple by braiding with 3 strands or make it even more magical by braiding with 4 or 6 strands! It’s easier than it sounds so just keep reading below for all the tips.
History of the Challah Bread Loaf
The term challah originally referred to a kind of cake, but in Rabbinic Hebrew it refers to the mitzvah of separating a portion of the dough before braiding. This portion of dough is set aside as a tithe for the Kohen. In Hebrew, this commandment is called hafrashat challah, or “separating challah”. Challah loaves are typically covered with a fancy cloth—one reason is that it is symbolic of the dew that fell on the manna in the desert. For Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, challah loaves are made in a circular or spiral shape for various symbolic reasons—depending on whom you ask, the round shape represents continuity, the wheel of the seasons, or a spiral of upward progress.
Tips for 4-strand and 6-strand Challah Bread Braids
Making a 4-Stranded Challah Braid
• Divide the dough into four pieces, and shape each piece into a rough 6″ log. Cover the logs with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes.
• Roll each log into a 15″ rope. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
• Continue rolling the ropes until they’re about 20″ long; they’ll shrink back to about 18″ as they sit.
• Lay the strands parallel to one another, and pinch the ends on your left together.
• Take the rope nearest you, and move it up over the next two adjoining ropes.
• Next, move the rope back under the rope next to it. Fan the ends of the ropes out again.
• Repeat the process, starting with the rope farthest away from you. Bring it down and across the next two adjoining ropes, and then back under the rope nearest it.
• Continue in this fashion, alternating which side you begin with until you’ve braided the whole loaf.
• Pinch the loose ends together, and tuck them underneath the loaf.
Making a 6-Stranded Challah Braid:
• The way to braid a 6-strand is to repeat “over two, under one, over two.” Carry the right-most rope over the two ropes beside it, slip it under the middle rope, and then carry it over the last two ropes. Lay the rope down parallel to the other ropes; it is now the furthest-left strand. Repeat this pattern until you reach the end of the loaf. Try to make your braid as tight as possible. Your braid will start listing to the left as you go; it’s ok to lift it up and recenter the loaf if you need to. Once you reach the end, squeeze the ends of the ropes together and tuck them under the loaf.
• At this point, your loaf is long and skinny. If you’d like to make a celebration ring, stretch the loaf a little longer and pull the ends toward each other to create a circle. You can either squeeze the ends together or braid them into a continuous circle.
• If you’re making a regular loaf, you need to “plump” it a little to tighten the ropes into more of a loaf shape. Place your left palm at the end of the braid and your right palm at the top, and gently push the two ends toward each other, just like plumping a pillow in slow motion. Then slip your fingers under the dough along either side and gently lift the dough while cupping it downwards.
• Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect! Even with a few flaws in the braiding, it will never be seen once it’s baked!
For more tips click here: The Kitchn
Enjoy some of these other homemade bread recipes!
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g
We hope you enjoy our Challah Bread Recipe this holiday season!
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