After this first week of social distancing, we need some comfort, something traditional and familiar. Making a Challah for tonight’s Shabbat dinner is a perfect thing to do if you are one person or a couple, or you have kids. Calming and fulfilling – give it a try. It will be delish! Did you know the word challah comes from a commandment in the Torah requiring the Israelites to set aside a portion of dough every week as an offering? That donation was called challah.
¼ oz pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp honey
1 teaspoon salt
3 beaten eggs
3½ cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 beaten egg yolk, more if needed
1 Tbsp canola oil
1. In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the water. Let stand 10 minutes until a creamy top layer forms.
2. Stir in honey and salt until dissolved. Add the beaten eggs. Mix in the flour a cup at a time, until dough is sticky. Sprinkle the dough with flour, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
3. Form dough into a round shape. Place in an oiled bowl. Turn dough to oil the surface and cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
4. Let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, 45 min to 1 hr.
Punch down the dough. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Now the fun part!
5. On a floured surface, roll the pieces into ropes as thick as your thumb and 12” long. Make ropes fatter in the middle, thinner at the ends.
6. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them like braiding hair! 7. Start with the strand to the right, move it to the left over the middle, take the left strand and move it over the new middle strand, alternating sides, until braided. Pinch ends together and fold underneath. You did it!
8. Place the loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the top with beaten egg yolk.
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the challah until the top browns to a rich golden color and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with a spoon, 30-35 minutes.
10. Cool on a wire rack. And it’s ready to slice!
Light your Shabbos candles and chant the Motzi blessing:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam ha’motzi lechem min ha’aretz