Baking challah? I posted my recipe last week and later realized that a lot of people don’t know how to braid a challah. A cousin of mine called a while ago to confirm that fact. She had wanted to make a challah but didn’t know how to make the bread look professional.
Btw, her name is Jenny Rosenstrach and she is a food writer and blogger, with a terrific book about getting dinner to the table every day (Time for Dinner) and book coming in June called Dinner: a Love Story and a wonderful, family-oriented blog with the same name: Dinner: a Love Story.
She wasn’t the first to consider the whole braiding issue (plus how to make a round challah at holiday time).
So I decided to tell you all how to do it.
I myself became a “pro” not to long ago, I should confess. I had been to a bakery on a tour with one of the women’s groups I belong to. The baker zipped through the braiding so fast it reminded me of those old time black and white movies where people are walking but they look as if they’re running. So we asked him to show us again but of course it was a “show” not a real instruction lesson so he went even faster the next time and no one figured it out.
I always made challah with a standard three-strand braid.
Then I found someone who showed how to do it on Youtube. I don’t remember which version it was or I would mention it here. But my grandson Zev and I were watching and trying to braid the challah as we watched. We had to stop the computer after each step so we could write it all down (and of course we got flour crumbs all over the keyboard) but we finally did get it right.
The next time we made a challah together he remembered it all.
I had to get my instruction sheet out and do it step by step.
I finally got it (after several times).
Okay, you can make a regular three-strand braided challah, the way I had done for years and years. The challah is still delicious. That kind of braid is like braiding someone’s hair. Left over middle, right over middle, left over middle, right over middle, etc.
But, making a 6-strand braid is a little more complicated.
Lay the six strands alongside each other and press the strands together at the top to seal the top edge. Then braid the strands as follows:
1. far right strand all the way over to the left
2. former far left strand all the way over to the right
3. the now far left strand into the middle
4. the second from right strand all the way over to the left
5. the now far right into the middle
6. the second from the left all the way over to the right
7. the now far left into the middle
8. repeat 4 through 7 as many times as necessary to use up the strands
9. press the strands together at the bottom
Good luck! And enjoy.