Sunday, September 16, 2012

L'Shanah Tovah!

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holidays, or High Holy Days. It is the Jewish New Year.

HERE  is a link to a short article about Rosh Hashanah.

In my home, I have been preparing for Rosh Hashanah by baking. Honey is a staple around Rosh Hashanah, it symbolizes the hope for a "sweet" year. We also have challah shaped into a circle and baked (it is also really good dipped in honey!). As a special treat for Rosh Hashanah, I am sharing my Rosh Hashanah challah recipe.

I will admit to a little time saving device called a bread machine. It has been a huge help over the years but during the fall and winter when I bake even more than normal, it has come in especially helpful. If you do not have a bread machine, you can also do this by hand.

Rosh Hashanah Challah (makes 2 loaves)

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup pareve margarine (Fleishman's unsalted margarine is pareve)
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
3 and 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 and 1/4 tsp yeast

Put the ingredients in your machine as instructed by the manufacturer. Set to the dough setting and let it go.

Once it has finished the dough cycle, remove the dough to a lightly oiled counter and cut into 8 even pieces (set 4 aside to work with once you finish the first loaf). Roll out the first 4 pieces into long (about 15 inch) strands. Now comes the fun part, braiding in the round!

Lay the first 2 strands parallel to each other and the second 2 should be perpendicular and woven into the first two strands like this (see the over, under, over under?):

You will have 4 "sets" with 2 strand in each set. Start with any of the "sets" and take the strand that was under and lift it over the other strand in its set.

The first "set"

Do this with all 4 "sets."

The second "set"
The third "set"
After the fourth set - you may have to even up the strands a bit to make seeing the "sets" easier.

Now you have 4 new "sets. We are going to change direction (I went counter-clockwise the first round, now we flip to clockwise) and repeat the process (the one that was under now goes over top of the second strand in the "set" until all 4 sets are complete.

Starting the second round
Just finishing the round. Don't worry about the small gaps, they will disappear soon.
Repeat the process again if your strand are long enough (I was able to make 4 rounds). Once you can go no farther (the strands are too short),

Not enough of the strands left to go any farther with the weaving.

tuck the ends up over the top of the dough.

I know, it doesn't look pretty, but this is the bottom of the challah.

Very carefully place 1 hand over your ends and lift gently with the other hand to flip the dough upside down. Carefully place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then repeat the whole process about with the second set of 4 pieces of dough.

Flipped and ready to rise again

Cover the challah lightly with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes. (Preheat oven to 350 degrees).

Once it has had a chance to rise again, use a pastry brush to brush an egg wash over the tops (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water).

Put in the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Freshly baked and hot out of the oven.

 Perfect for Rosh Hashanah! Enjoy!


  1. this a sacred thing as in it would be a "bad" thing for me to make this regularly for my family since i am not jewish?

    1. I know MANY people who really just like challah, Jews and non-Jews. Feel free to make and enjoy!