How to braid 6-strand challah bread (video tutorial)

Braided challah dough -- 6-strand braid

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.

Challah

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. ;)

Challah dough

I like to use a thin serrated knife to cut bread dough. To start, I cut the dough in half (for the two loaves).

Challah dough

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.

Challah dough

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:

Challah French Toast

Overnight Challah French Toast

Challah Pudding with Apples, Raisins, and Almonds

Comments

I've been wanting to try making challah for some time now, and I think you've finally convinced me that it's something I can do! :) Thank you for the videos!

Hi Tammy

I found the second video much easier to understand. I think I am going to have a bash at making challah this afternoon. As you do, I will make the dough in my bread machine, which is my normal way of making bread, as due to my arthritis and fibromyalgia, I have problems with kneading bread!

I have been very stressed lately, so I am hoping to do some cooking this weekend to relax myself somewhat. I love pottering around in my kitchen with the radio on, and the children otherwise engaged! Trouble is, with a 2 year old, I don't get a lot of time to do it unless my husband is home! lol

I think I will make my homemade fried rice, as my mother is coming to eat with us tonight, and she loves it, and perhaps a lemon cake, and hopefully, some challah! I will let you know how it goes!

Smiles

KarlaG

The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee; and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:22-26)

Thank you so much for posting this! I have always wanted to know how to braid like this. I was so relieved that you added the second video, it much much slower. :) I loved the added comments from Yehoshua, he sounds like the sweetest child. :)

Thank you! :)

Yes, Yehoshua is a super sweet boy, but we have been working on not interrupting as often, especially if I specifically ask him not to interrupt for a bit. ;) Some day I should just let him make his own video! :D

I can't wait to try this (I'm currently out of white flour, and just don't think it'd be the same with whole wheat). I've done challah before, but could never get it braided right and for me half of the fun is how pretty it is! So then I went to buying it from a local bakery.

I remember trying this about 15 years ago, and practicing with Play Doh till I got it right. I lost the instructions and didn't think I'd ever find any again, so thanks a million! A 6-strand braid really does look so beautiful...not to mention impressive!

I'm going to have to try it with play dough first too! That's a wonderful idea. I think the Challah looks absolutely YUMMY and can't wait to try it!

the video was great:) Your son did a good job! My 8 year old made a video for me today and it's so funny how they have a hard time staying quiet behind the camera:):)

You challah looks awesome! Makes me hungry!

I would love to give it a try.Might take a few attempts :) .The second video I could understand it better also.

Shalom Tammy,

I cannot see the videos, they are black boxes! Can you please help?

Thank you!

The videos are uploaded to Facebook, and for some reason they have stopped showing up in Firefox it seems! I think I will try uploading them to You Tube...

I have been lovin bread lately. homade bread that is and this looks super great. My sound is messed up on my computer but you show how to braid so well i think it will be great. May have to bring the bread to the computer on a lg cutting board. but it looks like with a little practice it should come pretty easy . Thanks for sharing, love reading your post.

Hi Tammy,
You mentioned that you make the dough in the bread machine. Could you please detail how this is done? For instance, can the whole recipe fit in a normal bread machine? In what order do you add the ingredients? At what point in the recipe do you pick up after your dough cycle is complete? Any other details would be very helpful. Thanks for the videos!! I hope to try this at some point (once the youngest turns 2). That reminds me, do you give Moshe this bread? Just wondering, since it contains honey. Have a great week!!

I have always done this whole recipe in a normal bread machine, although since it has a bit of flour you may need to scrape the sides as it kneads, and watch to add enough flour (the measurements on the recipe are not exact). :)

I add the liquid ingredients, then dry ingredients, ending with flour and then yeast (very last, on top).

After the dough cycle is complete, I remove the dough and start dividing it and making the ropes to do the braids.

I have given Moshe (13mo.) a few small bites of Challah, but not a lot. If I remember right, it is safe to give a baby honey after 1 year... but I would still not give him a lot since it is not something I consider to be super healthy ;) I make him fill up on bananas, avocados, etc. :)

mine used to do that too - try rubbing the inside of the bread machine tin with olive oil before putting the ingredients in :)

Vicky

Beautiful challah!

We make it every week now, and have it at sundown - candles, challah and grape juice (wine for the grown-ups. We make it our own little family communion :)

I once read a Jewish book that said it was traditionally braided with 3 strands (although it's beautiful with 6) - representing the 3 forefathers, or maybe something else...then the author went on to say that the number 3 is very important for Jewish people, but she said she wasn't sure why.....
As I braid ours with the children, I ask them what the 3 strands represent, and for us it's G-d, Yeshua (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.
....and I love to tie it to this verse:
Ecclesiastes 4:12: A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

The seeds on top represent the promise to Abraham - that his descendants would be too numerous to count. I am also looking into the symbolism of the ingredients - to remind the kids of different things as we add them to the mixture :)

...and as for the traditional blessing? 'blessed is He who brought forth bread from the earth'
....now let me see....who said 'I am the bread of life'?.....and was then 'brought forth from the earth? ;)
Makes sence to me :))

Vicky

I think the second video is the best one I have ever seen on making a six-stranded challah. I've beeen trying for years and now I can do it. Thanks!

Gayle/Zahavah
www.koshercamembert.com

This bread is amazing! I had challah on my list to do in 2012, and used your recipe, and technique. I think I may have let my second rise go a bit too long as my braid strands weren't that distinctive once baked. Do you think that is it, or did I need to use more flour? The dough felt perfect & was easy to handle. I used a total of about 7 1/2 cups of flour. Thanks!

Becky

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