Part 1 Raising The Dough

 The magic that goes in to the Perfect Challah:

2 blocks of fresh yeast

1 packet of Allison easy bake yeast

2 packets of Wessex Mill’s Six Seed Bread Flour

1.5 cups of caster sugar

1.5 cups of oil

5 eggs (one for glaze on the dough)

2 tbsp of salt

Drizzle of honey

2 bowls

Cup measure

Large mixing spoon

1 glass

The method behind the magic:

Bathing the yeast is one of the most important stages of making your challah. Be gentle like you would when bathing a baby, warm and sweet, not hot or cold.

Stage 1:

  • Break up fresh yeast into bowl
  • Add dry yeast
  • Add four cups of warm water (Karen mixes half boiling with cold)
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Mix gently together and leave until the yeast bath has foamed and has risen

Mixing the dough requires care. Remember yeast is very delicate. Salt will kill it, so always add a bit of flour into the mixture before adding the risen yeast.

Stage 2:

  • Check your eggs for blood spots, then whip with a fork
  • Add the salt, oil and sugar and mix
  • Add two tablespoons of flour and mix, as this will ensure the salt doesn’t kill the yeast
  • Add a good squeeze of honey
  • Add the yeast mixture mix and then add the rest of the flour mixing as you go
  • Mix the dough until smooth and no lumps

Kneading the dough takes patience and warmth. it should take approx. 10 minutes. Some people like to use a mixer. Karen prefers to tip out on a hard, clean surface and use her hands to mix into the dough.

Stage 3:

  • Knead your dough with one of two hands
  • If it gets too dry add a touch more oil to your surface or hands
  • If it gets too wet add a touch more flour to your surface or hands
  • Most of all be patient. This is your time making your holy bread. positive energy makes the Perfect Challah!
  • When you are done, lightly oil a large bowl and put back your dough. Cover with clingfilm and then a tea towel. Put somewhere warm for 1 hour

Part 2 Shaping It All Up!

Taking the challah. The mitzvah dates back to the time of the ancient Temple, when we gave that piece of dough to Hashem by giving it to the Cohen who served in the Temple. Today, we still ‘Take Challah’ as a reminder that whatever we are given is not for us alone. To ensure nobody accidentally eats this holy piece of dough, some burn it, but you can double wrap it to conceal it and dispose of it in the dustbin. You say a blessing when you ‘Take The Challah’ if you have used at least 13lbs of flour. If you use between 10-13lbs, you can still ‘Take The Challah’, but you don’t say the blessing.

Stage 4:

  • Once risen, pull out a piece of dough to ‘Take Challah’ and say the Bracha
  • Double wrap in silver foil and throw away

Plaiting the dough takes patience and love. There are so many ways to show your creativity, so feel free to express your wonderful self.

Stage 5:

  • Braid your dough in the shape you like
  • Leave your shaped dough again for 30 mins on your baking tray for the second rise before putting it in the over
  • Beat 1 egg and glaze the top of the challah to give it shine
  • Bake on 180° for half an hour

6 strands challah:

  • Make 6 equal size dough balls and flatten them out
  • Roll them gently into little logs without stretching them
  • Rol each roll, in turns from the middle and push towards the outside. Push the outside a bit harder so it is thinner. Repeat until reaching the required length.

All proceeds from the event go towards the Day Care Centre at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon

If you wish to make an additional donation please click here