Challah is a sweet white bread traditionally made for the Sabbath. (Read more about Challah on Wikipedia) When Joshua and I were first married, our dear friend Lynn gave us her challah recipe, the one she made (and still makes) nearly weekly.
I don't make challah weekly -- far from it! But it is one of my favorite breads, and is indeed a special Sabbath treat when I do make it! :) Lynn's recipe is the one here on my website, and it is the best! Sweetened with honey, and softened by eggs (4!), challah is great plain, spread with butter, or enjoyed the next day as Challah French Toast.
A few years ago, I learned how to braid a 6-strand Challah loaf. The braid is fairly easy to learn, and makes such an attractive loaf!
One of the fun parts about baking is getting to create something beautiful, and challah definitely fits that description! From an elaborate (but easy) braid, an egg wash and poppy seeds or sesame seeds, the golden baked loaf of challah is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. ;)
Challah is traditionally made two loaves at a time, and my recipe is no exception. If this is your first time to make challah, you can easily halve the recipe and only make one loaf. But challah is so delicious, we have never minded having two loaves. ;)
I like to use a thin serrated knife to cut bread dough. To start, I cut the dough in half (for the two loaves).
Then, I cut each half in half again (4 equal pieces). Finally, I divide each piece into 3. This leaves me with 12 pieces of dough: enough for two 6-strand challah braids.
Form each piece of dough into a rope. Or snake. ;) If the dough is too springy/elastic, allow the dough to rest for a few minutes, and then try again.
Clear your workspace and get ready to make a gorgeous braid!
Yehoshua (6) took the video for me, so please pardon the interruptions and shaky video. (If I keep taking videos, I may need to get a tripod!)
Now, I realized in that first video that I hadn't really given very good directions for the braiding. I went way too fast and talked more about what I was doing than about HOW I was doing it!
So today, Yehoshua took another little video clip for me, of JUST the braiding part. If you ever need to refresh your memory quickly on how to do the 6-strand braid, or want a slower video to learn from, here's that one:
A few tips about my challah:
I use the bread machine to make the dough for me (dough cycle).
I put my oven on WARM for a couple minutes, and then turn it off. I let the loaves rise in there before baking.
You can top the challah with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or sliced almonds before baking. (Brush with beaten egg before topping.) I don't always do this, because it does change the flavor of the challah (my family prefers it plain). But I love it all ways! :)
Here are some of the many ways you can use leftover challah bread: