Challah

We have all enjoyed the tradition of dipping apples in honey for a sweet New Year. Have you ever
wondered why we eat round challot on the High Holy Days? I did a little research and found that
some say they represent a crown that reflects our coronation of God as the ruler of the world. Others
have suggested that the circular shape represents the cyclical nature of the year.
It’s interesting that the Hebrew word for year is “shana” which has a double meaning and comes
from the Hebrew word “repeat” and also means “change”. It seems that as the years go round and
round, repeating the same seasons and holidays as the year before, we are presented with a choice. Do we
want this shana (year) to be a repetition of those before them, or do we want to make a change for the good?

When you make this recipe you’ll find that Rosh Hashanah challot are not really circles, they are
spirals. The spiral shape illustrates the climb up from repetition to a higher experience. Here’s
wishing you and yours a sweet, successful, uplifting, happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Ingredients
1-1/2 Tablespoons (TB) dry yeast
2 Teaspoons (Tsp) Sugar
1/4 Cup warm water
1/2 Cup melted margarine or butter
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1-3/4 Cup hot water (hot from tap)
7 Cups ‘High Grade’ flour + more as may be needed
2 Eggs lightly beaten
1 Cup raisins
1 Egg yolk beaten with 1 Tsp water

Preparation
Dissolve 2 Tsp Sugar and yeast in 1/4 cup of warm
water. Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes (Yeast is ready when it is rising and puffy)
Stir in 1-3/4 cups water, salt, 1/2 cup sugar and
butter or margarine to yeast.
Stir in 1/2 the flour. Add eggs and beat.
Gradually add the balance of the flour and the raisins.
Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).
Place in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel.
Let rise until the mixture has doubled in size (1-2 hours)
Punch down the dough. Remove it from the bowl and
knead until knead until shiny and pliable.

Shaping the loaves (for two round loaves)
Divide the dough in half and then half again. You
should now have 4 equal pieces of dough.
Roll one piece into a long smooth strip. Coil this strip
into a circle place on a greased cookie sheet. Poke
the end under the circle.
Divide one of the remaining pieces into two unequal
strips 2/3 and 1/3. Roll into smooth strips.
Take the bigger of the two pieces and coil it on top of
the first then take the second piece and coil it on top
of the second. You should now have a three tiered
conical form.
Do the same for the second loaf.

Baking
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees, 375 Fahrenheit or
on gas 5.
Brush the loaves with the egg yolk & water mixture.
Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until well browned. Cool
on a wire rack.

by Susan Gordon

 

 

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