I love the traditions surrounding my Jewish faith and the one of breaking bread has lovely memories for me. I can remember Friday nights at my Grandmother. The antique candlestick holders had white tapers, to be lit, before sunset, ushering in the Sabbath bride. After that a prayer would be said over the wine – a sweet red Kosher wine which even as a child we all got a sip of. And then, the cover would be taken off the two loaves of braided bread, the challah, and ‘motzi would be said. Hamotzi lechem min ha aretz, we give thanks to G-d for bread, our voices join in grateful chorus as our prayer is humbly said …
This is the start of a prayer I have sung on many occasions, surrounded by friends and by family and even strangers. Once the prayer is over, the challah is passed around and broken off by hand, a dash of salt added, and eaten. And now, the meal can begin. Friday nights meant roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, peas and gem squash. It meant family. But, my favourite part of the challah was for breakfast the next morning. I just love toasted challah. It is sweet, and the only bread I will ever bake with raisins. I am not sure why I can tolerate the raisins in the challah as opposed to any other type of bread, but I do. In fact, even Dave commented last night when I baked the challah that there were raisins in it. As you can see, I did not quite bake my raisin challah long enough so I cut slices off at an angle and turned them into biscotti. They were perfect after that! In order for me to blog a recipe, I made another challah. I dusted the second one with sesame seeds. Both are traditional but I would save the sesame seed one for savoury meals. I did thinner braids on the sesame seed loaf which worked out well, but I left it to prove the second time on the counter top, which did not work out quite well when I transferred it to the baking stone. I am learning as I go!
do you have a traditional bread you like to enjoy?
Challah | Kitka | Braided Bread
- 1 egg, plus enough water to measure 290 mls
- 10 mls canola oil, plus extra for proving and shaping
- 6.25 mls fine salt
- 20 mls honey
- 450 g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2.5 mls citric acid
- 8.75 mls instant dried yeast
- milk for glazing
- If you are using a bread maker, place the ingredients in the order listed into the container and select the dough / bread setting
- Otherwise, knead the ingredients together using a stand mixer
- Turn out onto a floured surface and lightly oil the bowl
- Return the dough back to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for an hour
- After you have proved your dough - whether in the bowl or the bread maker, turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knock back
- Divide into 3 and roll each piece out into a long sausage shape
- Place each piece onto a baking sheet and press the pieces together at the top
- Braid together and press the bottom pieces together
- Cover with a lightly oiled piece of cling film and leave to prove until doubled in size
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
- Glaze the bread with some milk just before baking and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown
If you want to add sesame seeds, just sprinkle them on top after you have glazed with milk
Click on the links for conversions and notes.
I am submitting this recipe to Fresh From The Oven which is being hosted this month by Fuss Free Flavours
What I blogged:
- two years ago – bone marrow and artichoke heart risotto
47 thoughts on “Challah | Kitka | Braided Bread”
I’ve never eaten challah but it sounds very good.As far as sweet bread is concerned, you’ll have to go a long way to beat brioche:)
I agree, and I love a lemon brioche made into a bread and butter pudding 🙂
I love raisin bread, in fact I like raisins full stop!
I used to eat 500g of raisins a day Sue, but then I had to stop as they are not good for my kidney stones 🙂
I love challah, we have the slightly salted version, with or without sesame seeds but without the milk glazing. Thank you for giving me the idea to bake it myself, have a good week, Tandy!
I also sometimes do an egg wash, but it seems like such a waste 🙂
Traditional and simply beautiful my friend 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
thank you Uru 🙂
Will try this Tandy. Thank you.
Lovely post and recipe!! Thanks, Tandy!!
my pleasure Zirkie 🙂
Mmm I LOVE challah bread! Your loaf came out beautifully!
thank you Joanne 🙂
Tandy what lovely memories you shared with us – bought back memories of meals shared with a now sadlt departed friend and his family. Will have to make this gorgeous bread, say a little prayer and remember.
so glad I could help you remember something good!
Is beautiful Tandy! I love how you narrate your sabbaths, so cozy and familiar.
Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂
Thank you Giovanna, and it is a pleasure to share with you all 🙂
I discovered challah a few years ago, and fell in love with its rich flavor and smooth texture. I too like mine with raisins. I think I’ll give your recipe a go next time I bake a loaf.
please let me know how it works out!
I never taste a challah before but I will make my own now! Thanks for this tasty & lovely bread recipe! 🙂 xxx
One of my favorite bread is Challah and I love making a bread pudding using this too!
Your home made one looks and sounds fabulous!
Bread pudding is such a great idea Asmita 🙂
Very impressive bread!
What happy loved filled memories Tandy and 2 lovely loves too. Bread baking is very much hit and miss with me – there are some things I can bake and others that just don’t seem to work out – yeast is a tricky thing to work with.
I have a few hit and misses as well Mandy, but I love the smell of freshly baked bread so I will keep at it 🙂
Even though I don’t have a family tie to challah I adore it so!! 😀
It is that type of bread 🙂
reminds me of the delicious brioche they have at my work. amazing job x
I love brioche! Thanks for the compliment Megs 🙂
Challah is one of my favorite breads.. I’ve not tried making it but will have to because our baker has stopped making them!
let me know how it works out Barbara 🙂
Food memories from times spend with family and friends are so lovely. You did a beautiful job of braiding the Challah.
Thank you Karen, it is a lot of fun doing the braiding 🙂
I have been thinking of making challah for some time now, think you might have spurred me into action! I am interested to see that you still use citric acid when making bread, this was in favour here some years back and a way of getting a quick single rise but no longer used as the dried yeast now is almost all ‘fast action’. In fact only today a friend was trying to buy some ‘traditional yeast’ and found it almost impossible to obtain. Fresh yeast is even harder to find in shops now. By the way both loaves looked super and yes can well imagine how good it tastes toasted. Wendy.
HI Wendy, my bread maker book recommends bread improver – I use either Xantham Gum, or Guar Gum usually, but as I needed the citric acid for my jam making experiments I decided to use that instead. It is also meant to aid in keeping the bread fresher for longer – not that a loaf lasts too long in our house. If you ask at the Pick N Pay bakery section for fresh yeast, they will sell it to you. It is very cheap. Have a great day and thanks for the comment 🙂
I have many Jewish friends and admire their traditions. I’ve honestly not made challah bread, but have eagerly received it from my friends. I so agree, toasted is wonderful. I’ll have to try out your recipe and surprise my friends!!
I hope they will be very surprised 🙂
No traditional family breads here, but I’m hoping I can say there is another few years or so!
I have to do a sourdough starter – which is your traditional I think 🙂
We have something similar to that in Greece and is called tsoureki! Your bread looks perfect!
I shall have to look for a recipe for that Katerina. Thanks for the visit 🙂