In my recipe, we make something called “sponge” first. And for the sponge, you need:
1/2 cup of lukewarm water
3 tsp of instant dry yeast
3/4 cup of flour
This you combine and mix on low speed for 3 minutes, and then let it sit for 20 minutes. In the end it should look somewhat like this:
Now it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients:
5 1/2 cups flour
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup honey
3 tsp salt
You add it all to the sponge and start mixing.
Let it mix for 6 minutes on low speed.
And then for 6 minutes on a higher speed.
It is totally possible to make this without a kitchen machine, it’s just a better workout… (*Been there, done that!) I am now blessed with a kitchen machine, and on my Kitchen Aid I use speeds 1 and 2 for this.
When done with the mixing, the dough needs to sit for about an hour, until doubled in size.
Then you start working with the dough (*and this is the point where I do the hafrashat challah). If you want two large six-braided challot, you naturally divide the dough into twelve pieces. (This is what I did today, but very often I make three challot, and I have even made just one from the whole dough too. So, whatever size challah you need!) I make something called oblongs from the pieces, which is basically just to flatten the dough, then fold it in to the middle from each side, and roll it into a little cylinder afterwards. (*If this sounds complicated, just make cylinders whichever way you want to!)
These then sit and rest for another 15-20 minutes before you shape the challot.
Yes, I know, this is a time-consuming process! But you just have to use all those little breaks for other little projects that I am sure you have going on a Friday, and in the end you have gotten all kinds of things done along with the challot!
Now, to the real thing, – the shaping of a six braided challah!
First of all you make your cylinders into longer strands, and then you connect six of them together like this:
Now we need to concentrate… You number them. First, starting from the right, – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4. We are only going to work with four at a time. So now, from the four on our right, we lift # 3 and place it “above” the others, like this:
Then, take # 1 and lift it over # 2, so that it lands between # 2 and # 4. Like this:
Then, take # 4 and place it between # 1 and # 2, like this:
And finally, bring # 3 back down to its place, like this:
Puh… How did it go??? Are you ready for the other side? I hope so… Again, we number them 1 – 2 – 3 – 4, from left to right this time.
And we take # 3 and lift it up and place it on the other side:
And we take #1 and place it between # 2 and # 4.
Then we move # 4 to the space between # 2 and # 1.
And we let # 3 come back to its place as # 3.
And then you go back to the right side, and keep going like this till your get to the end of your strands.
And tada! Look what comes out! A nice six-braided Challah for Shabbat!! 🙂
Do the same with the rest of your dough, and place them on an oven-tray. Cover them and let them sit for about an hour before putting them in a preheated oven of 170 degrees Celsius.
Just before they go in the oven, you brush them with egg-wash made from egg-yolk to make them nice and shiny.
You bake them for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the challot. And you can feel the great smell of “shabbat is coming” filling your kitchen…
MMmmm! There is nothing quite like home made challot!!!
Shabbat Shalom to you all from a great smelling kitchen in Yerushalayim!
*Note, – if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section!