I make a four-braid challah, and I bake my challah on the heaviest baking sheets I can get my hands on. But I confess that I don't feel really passionate about my technique. When my eleven-year-old daughters braid the challah for me (which is almost every batch) one of them does it my way, and the other one prefers a three-strand braid.
You can read my challah recipe here. Tonight's topic is braiding, though. I asked Sarah and Malkie, my wonderfully helpful eleven-year-old twin daughters, to walk us through the process while I snapped away. Here's our lesson.
Step 1: Make your favorite challah dough. My recipe, for a sweet eggy challah, is here.
Step 2: Divide your challah into even portions. I make six challahs out of five pounds of flour.
Step 3: Divide each portion of dough once again into four even portions.You don't need to bring out the measuring scale, but do try to make them as even as possible.
|One portion of dough, divided into four even pieces.|
Step 4: Roll each portion of dough into a long rope that is not at all lumpy. (My daughters do a much better job at this than I do. I rush this part and mine come out looking like a snake who just feasted on whole eggs.) We make ours about 12 inches long but you can make them longer if you like long and skinny challah, or shorter if you prefer yours more wide and squattish.
|Sarah's delicate hands rolling the dough into ropes.|
Step 5: Once you have four ropes that are pretty even in length, line them up next to each other and pinch them together at the top.
Step 6: Take strand 1 and put it over strand 2, then under strand 3, and then over strand 4.
Step 7: Next, take strand 2 (which is now the first in line) and put it over strand 3, under strand 4, and over strand 1.
Steps 8 till whatever: Keep at it until you've worked your way through the entire length of each of the four strands.
Pinch the ends together tightly.
Finally, let it rise and brush with egg as directed by your recipe.
|Malkie's challahs all in a row (these are three-strand braids)|
Bake as directed.
See my post on Yeast Spotting.