Recipe For Challah (Kitka) Braided Bread

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 …

Challah

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?

Kitka
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Challah | Kitka | Braided Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 egg and enough water to measure 290mls
  • 10 mls oil
  • 6.25 mls salt
  • 20 mls honey
  • 450 g bread flour
  • 2.5 mls citric acid
  • 8.75 mls yeast
  • flour for dusting
  • oil for proving and shaping
  • milk for glazing

Method

  • 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

Notes

If you want to add raisins, add half a cup after the first proving
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

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