On the spur of the moment I made a batch of challah dough yesterday. I love making bread, there is something Zen and relaxing about kneading and shaping yeast dough, seeing it rise, and then smelling the fragrance coming from the oven.
Rosh Ashanah, or the Jewish New Year started last night, and I am sure lots of celebration challah were consumed around the world. Challah bread is usually shaped in a single three strand braid, but during the High Holidays a celebration or round challah is brought to the table. The round shape symbolizes the cycle of the year, and the raisins or apples represent a sweet new year.
I adapted Peter Reinhart's challah recipe by adding a cup of raisins and one tablespoon of honey to make the bread sweeter. I could have added apples, another choice ingredients associated with this Holiday, but I didn't have any in the house, and this was a spur of the moment baking bug.
Braiding a round challah is simple and with few tries you will learn how to shape a beautiful simmetrical bread. Check out this video who shows also the simple round challah.
The recipe above results in a big loaf or two small ones. If you make it 1.5x then you can make three one-pound loaves, so you can share it with friends.
Happy New Year to all my Jewish friends and readers!