Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beautiful Braided Challah

I love Shabbat. Friday is a race against the sun to clean the house, catch up the laundry, fix food for Friday dinner and Saturday and get in a half day of school before lighting the candles and receiving the rest God gave. I love the quietness of Saturday morning as everyone else sleeps in and I can enjoy the Creation reminder that God said "it is very good" then rested.

My friend, Gail, and I were talking about how we are trying to make the special day both restful and rich with tradition for our families. She was looking for a good Challah recipe, I told her I would post mine soon so she could print it and try it since it always got compliments and it was my son's favorite bread. That was a couple weeks ago, oops, sorry Gail, it slipped my mind but here it is now.

1 cup water, 105 to115F.
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
5-5 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons
sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Allow to rest 10 minutes, it will get frothy, if it doesn't then the yeast is dead and you need fresh yeast or the water was too cold or too hot. It is really not hard, just sounds like it at first.
Add the butter, salt and eggs.
Add the flour until you have a good elastic dough, it should not stick to the sides of the bowl, start with 5 cups then add a little at a time if it continues to stick.
Let rise in the bowl for 40 minutes.
Turn out onto the counter and knead for 3 minutes or so.
Now you have several options, you can make two individual loaves, one large with a smaller one on top, sandwich rolls or a ring for a super sandwich.
For sandwich rolls, cut into 18 pieces, roll and flatten, let rise 40 minutes, bake 400F for 25-30 minutes.
Rising/Baking time for all the other options-400F for 35-40 minutes.
For the braid on top of a braid: Cut 1/3 of the dough off and set aside, divide the 2/3 piece into 3 equal pieces, roll into ropes,
and braid, tucking ends underneath.
Place it on a greased sheet pan. Repeat braiding process with the 1/3 you set aside, laying it gently on top of the larger braid.
Cover with a towel
and allow to rise 40 minutes or until double in size.
Brush with the milk and sprinkle with seeds if you want them.
Bake as directed above. Temperature should read around 190F. when done.
This is a very versatile bread, good for sandwiches, with soup or salad, my friend Sue eats it plain, like me she loves bread. I love to share bread with her because I know none will go to waste!
For the ring: Divide into 3 pieces, roll into ropes braid connecting the ends into each other. Place around a glass (oven proof) dish WELL greased. Continue as above.
After this rises, bakes and cools, slice horizontally, fill with sliced meat and cheese, tomato, onion, etc.  I like to mix mayo and dark mustard together in the glass bowl (after washing) and fit it back down into the hole for serving.
Anyway you bake it or slice it, this is a recipe which should serve you well, and a lot of other people too.
Shabbat Shalom!


  1. Lovely Challah Joanne! love your instructions too.

  2. Thank you Carmen, I love to take pictures but since my daughter has become the photographer I am relegated to food...sigh. ;O)

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm so wanting to try to make Challah bread but I all the braiding of the bread stops me every time. Maybe it's time to get over my fear.

  4. Nora, I've seen some of your recipes, braiding bread will be a snap!

  5. Oh, how I adore Challah! Thank you for the step by step on how braiding is done! It is beautiful! Thank you for your visit to my site, Joanne!