Challah Me… Why Not Take Challah Me

Challah
Cleverly braided challah

The year draws towards a close with lots of family coming and going, and Hannukah to celebrate. There have been latkes and more to come, but I haven’t baked challah in a while. The snowy streets gave us a good reason to make our own instead of buying from one of Seattle’s excellent bakeries.

I hope to publish a recipe of my own at some point, but for now I can’t do better than to point you to this fine one from the New York Times via I Like To Cook.

The best thing I learned from it was this clever braid, for those of us far too dexterity challenged to do a 6-strand braid ourselves. The trick is simply to divide the dough into two parts, one twice as large as the other. Then divide each part into three ropes, makes a normal three-strand braid, and stack the smaller one on top of the larger. It bakes into this somewhat snazzy looking loaf you see above. I could do even better; this one involved some 3-year-old “assistance”.

A couple of tips on that recipe: the saffron adds a bit of extra yellow color but you could easily omit it. I’m thinking they didn’t use a lot of saffron in the shtetls. For my taste, I’d increase the sugar just a bit. Also, unlike many breads that enjoy retarding the dough in the refrigerator overnight, that didn’t benefit this challah. Next time I’d follow the recommended rises, and be sure to proof the yeast.

Happy holidays everybody!

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 in Baking, Kid Friendly, Recipes.

9 Responses to “Challah Me… Why Not Take Challah Me”

  1. December 23, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    Great looking challah. Happy Holidays!

  2. December 23, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    Your challah looks gorgeous! :) Tempting me to bake some, even though I’ve never tried!

  3. December 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    Very nice! I’ve also used this trick and put the two braids into a loaf pan for a nice effect.
    p.s. One day I finally “sucked it up” and made the six-stranded braid challah by watching a YouTube demonstration on loop ha ha. It’s not too bad once you get the hang of it, I promise!

  4. December 24, 2008 at 1:26 am #

    A gorgeous Challah! I love that speciality!

    Happy Holidays!

    Rosa

  5. December 24, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    What a great thing to make on a snow day! (Snow week?) We’ve got it here in Portland, too, but I keep hearing horror stories of Seattle. At least our public transportation is running. :)

  6. Michael Natkin
    December 24, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    The snow is absolutely unbelievable… we haven’t been farther than our corner store in a week. Good opportunity to empty out the pantry :).

  7. December 24, 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    It looks perfect! Thanks for sending me the link.

  8. Michael Natkin
    December 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm #

    Thanks for the tip Jacqueline! Given that I can’t even get pony tails in my
    daughter’s hair, a 6-strand braid sounds very intimidating but maybe someday
    I’ll suck up the courage.

  9. November 23, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    What a feat! 6-strand braid challah! You did fantastic!

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