Friday, January 19, 2007

easier than it looks

making challah [bread] is something that is often done on a regular basis for some families. as a result, there are many different recipes for it. ashkenazi versions will vary depending on how many eggs and how much oil, sugar and salt are used. in the end, it almost always tastes great.

as many recipes as there are for this bread, there are also a myriad of ways to form it. one of the most complicated is the 6 stranded method. i often make it this way as i like the height that it gives the final loaf. it took me a while to figure it out as it is tricky. if you are easily frustrated, i say stick with a 3 stranded one.

here is a video of someone showing you how to do it. looks confusing at first but once you practice it a few times, it becomes easy. explanation follows ....


still confused? don't be. it's really only a repetition of two steps:

the basic order is this —

|(1) |(2) |(3) center area |(c) |(b) |(a)

six strands, 1 - 2 - 3 AND c - b - a

outer right (a) goes to outer left (becomes 1) and outer left (1) over to outer right (becomes a).

then, follow this order and repeat until the end:

1 ---> center area

b ---> outer left [becomes 1]

a ---> center area

2 ---> outer right [becomes a]

REPEAT these four basic steps until the end.

squish the loose ends together and tuck them under the loaf.

my advice is to practice with play dough until you get the hang of it. buy some or make your own.

before:



after:


update:
i use this recipe, always successful (double it for two large challot or use 1 batch for two quite small ones or just one large) — another version here.

12 comments:

Chennette said...

that challah looks beautiful!
it's something I always wanted to try.

Lisa said...

Oh my god! Those are the most gorgeous breads ever!

beenzzz said...

I am still confused. Then again, I never make the challah bread, but my hubby D. does. Delicious stuff!!

chanit said...

!מקסים, מקסים,צריכה ללמוד ממך
:-)

The TriniGourmet said...

why does the top of mine tend to crack? not crack... but where it overlaps....

Pammie said...

Hi Burekaboy,

Looks really nice. You sure are an ambitious cook! I miss European pretzels, nice and fat and hot and salty, your challah remind me of them.

burekaboy — said...

chenette - i think you should try it; look at my post for "el pan de shabat" for a good recipe (will make one large one or two smaller ones). increase the sugar if you like it sweet. you can also make it the way i show in that post if you want a very, very simple way to do it.

hi lisa! - LOL, i've also had a few not so nice looking ones over the years. thanks for the huge compliment :))

beenzzz - don't feel badly; it took me A LOT to "get it" too. you shoulda seen the first ones!! talk about mangled messes. :O maybe you should surprise hubby with one a la beenzzz!

chanit - thanks :)) stop by and i'll show you.

hey sarina - what are you talking about?!! cracked challah?? is your dough too dry? do you mean it splits when it bakes? e me a pic. we NEED to fix this dilemma!! :PP

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Woa, your six stranded challah looks amazing!
I wish I could get to the same result. I think that I'll have to practice with play dough, because my first attempt was a mess and I got a headache trying to figure out how to braid it ;-P!!!

burekaboy — said...

pammie - i love those pretzels, especially the salt on top! hmmm....an idea for another day. largely different from the ones you find here, all dried out, hard and thin like spaghetti!

rosa - thanks :) it's very confusing at first and i went through much frustration. but in the end, if you watch the video, it's the same repetition -- one strand over, one to the center ... until you reach the end. you should try the play dough approach, it really helps. just don't eat it! LOL. but that link had edible play dough, too. you could eat your creations, hehe.

Princess Jibi said...

i like to watch how she makes it, we call it pladth bread in Guyana.

Pam said...

Must.. try.. again. Must .. try .. again.

I have never been able to get the six strand to work - but I'm going to study that video!

Your challah is gorgeous!

burekaboy — said...

pj - yup, she is good at doing it and very fast. probably had LOTS of practice. :)) never heard of that bread before, i will check into it. this kind of bread is very yellow inside and sweet because it has eggs and sugar.

PAM - LOL ... it took me a few, scratch that, SEVERAL attempts, at first. i got VERY annoyed and frustrated before i caught on and no video to look at either!! (wish i had had at the time, years ago). like i said, maybe try with a playdough first til you get it. it really is just two moves repeated from each side until you reach the end, with the exception of the first step. do try it again. trust me, if you can do all the other stuff you make, you can DEFINITELY do this. it helps to taper the ends with a slightly larger centerpoint. LOL...get lisa to coach you with the directions/moves while you do it! :) it takes concentration.