Rosh Hashana Challah

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It’s a tradition to eat round challah during the holidays to symbolize a repetitive cycle – the end of an old one and the beginning of a new one. Usually people add some sweetness to the challah with raisins, and instead of dipping it in salt, as we dip it in sugar (or honey). I skipped the raisins – a lot of my guests don’t like raisins – but made sure to use plenty of sugar.

This challah was definitely a special one. I’ve been practicing the six-strand braid and got really good at it, but have never braided a round one. It came out really pretty. I also made it dairy, since we were having dairy for the second day of rosh hashanah. Instead of the usual oil and water, I used milk and butter, which I thought would add a delicious flavor.

I recently shared a recipe for challah with you that one used a whole 5-lb bag of flour. This recipe is just for one loaf. Like many recipes, I got this from The Art and Soul of Baking. I like to get a lot of use out of my purchases.The result? A very flaky, crumby challah that would be great for french toast.


  • 3/4 cup milk (110 – 115 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons very soft butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, for eggwash


  1. Combine the milk and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and whisk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, till it foams. Add the eggs and butter and whisk by hand, until well blended. Stir in the flour and salt. Attach the dough hook and mix on low for two minutes. Turn the mixer to medium and beat for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is elastic and forms a ball on the dough hook.
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  3. Oil a bowl and put the dough inside. Brush the top with oil, as well, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let double in size, 45-60 minutes.
  4. Punch down the dough and shape it. I made a 6-strand braid and pinched the ends together. But if you want to try this way, it looks really pretty! Proof the dough by covering the braid loosely with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise for another 45-50 minutes.
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  6. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Sephardic Jews traditionally tear the bread and throw it across the table in age order. Some people get offended by this. If that’s the case, slice it with a serrated knife.