Challah originally referred to a sacred bread offering that was given to the priests, however, it has come to be known as an enriched bread that is special enough to be served on the Sabbath. It originated in Eastern Europe, but is now a staple in many Jewish-American homes.
Peter Reinhart gives a brief account of Challah in his book. "The braids traditionally separate the loaf into twelve distinct sections representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The use of eggs in the bread was probably a way to use up excess eggs before the strict Judaic Sabbath day of rest made it impossible to harvest the new eggs, as harvesting is one of the many activities considered work in Orthodox Jewish communities."
If you're following along with us in the challenge, this challah is on page 115 of the Bread Baker's Apprentice.
Check out the following posts for instructions on making similar breads.
- Transitional Whole Wheat Challah
- Cranberry Walnut Celebration Bread
- Nana's Egg Bread or Italian Challah
- Whole Grain and Emmer Challah
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re mixing the dough. I messed up this dough the first time because my taste tester was distracting me. I ended up with 2 eggs, 2 whites and part of a yolk that slipped through the separator instead of 2 eggs and 2 yolks. I had to throw it out and start over again. At that point, I threw the taste tester out as well -- just kidding. I just sent him home with some other bread to enjoy.
Photos tutorial on how to braid a three-strand challah:
The bread will be a rich golden brown when baked. It looks lovely sprinkled with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
The loaves look good enough to eat but I'm not going to try them. I’m not able to show you the crumb shot because these breads are gifts for Father's Day.
Thanks for joining us this week in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.
Stay tuned for Day 7 of the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge:
Next time, we'll be making Ciabatta. I've been wanting to make this bread. I love Italian bread. Actually, I just love bread!