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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Challah Recipe -- and -- How to braid Challah ....

Traditional Jewish Sabbath bread is a sort of butter less brioche.

It is particularly good at Shabbos dinner and at breakfast time.

Makes 1 braided loaf

Combine in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes:

  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm (105 to 115 degrees F) water
Add:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Mix by hand or on low speed until thoroughly blended. Gradually stir in:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour

Challah Boards

Challah Covers

Challah Knives

Knead for about 8 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your hands or the bowl. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it over once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (75 to 80F) until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down, knead briefly, and refrigerate covered until it has again nearly doubled in volume (a three-quarter rise is sufficient), 4 to 12 hours. The dough is now ready to be shaped.

Three-Strand Braided Challah

Anyone who has braided hair or rope will have no trouble here. In fact, you can divide the dough into as many strands as you like and braid accordingly, but this one is a simple 3-strand braid.

Weigh and divide the dough equally into 3 pieces. On an unfloured work surface, roll into balls and let rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Roll each ball into a 13- to 14-inch-long rope, about 1 1/2 inches thick and slightly tapered at the ends. Dust the 3 dough ropes with rye flour so they will be more distinctly separated. Place the 3 dough ropes side by side and pinch the top ends together. Lift the left dough rope and place it between the right and middle ropes. Lift the right rope and place it between the left and middle ropes, then the left rope between the right and middle ropes and so on until you reach the ends. Tuck both ends of the braid underneath the loaf and set it on the baking sheet. Whisk together and brush over the top of the loaf:

  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Loosely cover the braid with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until not quite doubled, about 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Brush the loaf again with egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with:
  • 1 tablespoon poppy or sesame seeds
Bake until the crust is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Four-Strand Braided Challah

  1. Weigh and divide the dough equally into 4 pieces. On an unfloured work surface, roll into balls and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 10 minutes. Roll the balls of dough into long ropes about 1 inch thick and 20 inches long, slightly tapering the ends. Dust the ropes of dough with rye flour so they will be distinctly separated. Arrange the 4 ropes side by side and pinch the top ends securely together.
  2. Braid the strips of dough in the following sequence, as shown above: Lift and place the fourth strand over the second, B. Lift and place the first strand over the third, C, then lift and place the second over the third, D. Repeat this sequence, placing the strand that is now the fourth over the second, E, the first over the third, F, then the second over the third. Continue braiding until you reach the end of the strands. Pinch the bottom ends together and tuck both top and bottom ends underneath the braid. Finish as directed for Three-Strand Braided.

Tips:

  1. There is a commandment to "separate challah."  The separated challah is symbolic of the portion which the Israelites gave the High Priests during the time of the Temple.
  2. Before shaping the dough, pinch off a piece of dough, the size of an olive, and burn it.
  3. Recite the following blessing: "Blessed art Thou O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who hath sanctified us by His Commandment, and hath commanded us to separate challah."
  4. Separating the challah and reciting the blessing is a way to spiritually elevate the act of baking and to acknowledge that physical sustenance is a gift from God.

Sept 2005 - 2013 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.