Saturday, September 15, 2007

in shape for the high holidays

challah comes in a variety of shapes, depending upon its origin (sephardic or ashkenazi), family tradition and the holiday or celebration for which it is being made. there are also many, many different recipes for this rich yellow-hued bread.

it is the custom during the month of high holidays, from the new year until the celebration of the giving of the torah (bible), that the challot be rounded, as in the circle of life, and sweeter than usual — served with honey (or sugar) instead of the traditional salt for hamotzi (sanctification prayer).

so, here are two round shape "how-to's" that are can be used for the month of tishrei — one traditional and the other a little different (and sephardi), in the shape of a flower/rose. we called it el flor (the flower). other round shapes to be added later (hopefully) .....

classic turban shaped ("round")
high holiday challah

perhaps the easiest challah there is to shape, this is the traditional shape for rosh hashanah and all the holidays following it until simchat torah.


take a piece of dough and shape it into a strand which is slightly tapered at one end, sort of like the shape of a baseball bat. the length will depend on how much dough you are using and the size of the challah you want.

grab hold of the thicker end, and start to wrap the strand around the central part.

wrap it until you get almost to the end.

tuck the end of the dough underneath. make sure it is secure.

the finished challah. add your eggwash and sesame/poppy seeds.

el flor

a (sephardi) variation of the typical turban style loaf (above), i know this as the rose or flower. it was sometimes called the sultan's hat (chapéo del sultán)
because of the shape (1 . 2. 3) as you can see from the picture below.


make a strand which is as long as your arm from the top of your shoulder to the tip of your hands. i usually make it longer. it should be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. this is important as it gets doubled.

match the tips and double the strand. now twist it tightly and press the two ends together.

lay the twisted rope flat and hold the looped end. pull it up a bit (straight up) and coil the doubled strand around this central part. remember to start in the same direction you twisted or you'll unravel it!

tuck the end in underneath . make sure it is secure.

voilà. let prove and then coat with eggwash and sesame or poppy seeds.


TBTAM said...

Happy New Year!

burekaboy — said...

TBTAM - thank you :)

Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful! I love challah but haven't had it in a long while. I am hoping on using your recipe soon. :-) I did try one recipe a few years ago and it came out pretty well. The six strand braiding thing was fun, but got frustrating, practice I suppose is in order. :-)

Happy new year!

burekaboy — said...

jamila - hi :) thanks -- very easy to make, too. i usually also make "baby" ones, for individual rolls for the big holiday dinners.

there are tons of recipes for challah out there as i'm sure you've seen. the 6 braid is the hardest but, really, it's fairly easy -- you have to talk to yourself while you do it not to make mistakes (follow the instructions i put on the 'how to's'). it does take practice and there are diff ways to do it. i found the one i posted the easiest and least confusing of the few ways to braid 6 strands.

challah makes great sandwich bread and french toast :))

Anonymous said...

I checked out that video you have making 6 rope Challah's, she makes it look really simple and easy to do. I think I will try it just using that video! Thanks!

burekaboy — said...

jamila - yup, it's not difficult at all. what i wrote down are the exact same instructions she uses, you may want that near you when you try. like i said, talk to yourself while you do it to keep track of what you're doing. have fun & happy braiding! :) don't forget to take a picture of your finished loaves so i can see!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, splendid! I made a turban shaped wholewheat challah on Friday and it was scrumptious!

burekaboy — said...

rosa - thanks ;) believe it or not, i've never had wholewheat challah before. somehow, in my mind, the two don't sound like they go together, lol. silly, yes, i know. glad to hear yours turned out great ;D

kaouther said...

waw! very beautiful, i'll try to reproduce them at home, hope they'll turn out as beautiful as yours!

Happy new year !!!!!!!!!

burekaboy — said...

haha kaouther - avec ton expertise, c'est sur que tu n'auras aucune probleme avec ca! merci pour le commentaire et ramadan mubarak, ramadan karim.

Arabic Bites said...

Lovely looking challah.
I love challah Bread ,I bake challah so often for my mom,and I serve it with honey ,sultana and raisin.
I will post my recipe soon, you can see my challah here and here

burekaboy — said...

thanks zainab - that is how it is served here during this month of special holidays. the rest of the year we just braid it like a regular loaf. i don't think your links made it into your comment! looking forward to seeing your recipe ....

Arabic Bites said...

you can see it now here and here
I hope my links make it this time.

burekaboy — said...

hi zainab - yup, now they work! GREAT braiding job - you should have seen my disasters years ago; they looked terrible until i figured it out!! i see you made the wholewheat kind,too :) btw, all your dried fruit looks 100 times better than the stuff we get here.

Vcuisine said...

Lovely BB. They are so cute. Love to try some time. Tks. Viji

burekaboy — said...

viji - hi there :) thanks! i'm sure it would work well with the eggless challah recipe you used a while back.

chanit said...

Wow !!!
נ פ ל א ,אין לי מילים,רק לומר לך תודה שאתה מלמד אותנו, הקוראים מכל היופי , הטכניקות והטעמים

burekaboy — said...

חנית - תודה רבה רבה. אני שמח שיכול ללמד משהו חדש ומענין

Anonymous said...

I used my tried and true challah recipe and your instructions for the turban shape. I made 7 turbans to freeze for Sukkot and 4 buns for pre-fast YK. They looked beautiful! So much easier than the crazy way I've been making round challot! After the holidays, I plan on viewing your video on the six strand challah. That's my new year's resolution. I've only mastered the four strand thus far.


burekaboy — said...

hi deanna - glad to hear they came out beautifully & the post helped you out :) i wish i had a big freezer instead of having to make all the time. not sure if you froze them after you baked them, but you know you can freeze the unbaked ones and then thaw them and bake as if freshly made?

if your kids have playdough, use that to practice your braiding (or make your own -- i put a link for recipes to make it). it really is easy after you get the hang of it and just two moves repeated over and over. the 6 strands makes a much higher and more impressive challah.