I wanted to figure out how to make my challahs look a little more professional. The first step, of course, is an egg wash brushed on top just before putting it in the oven, to give it a glossy shine. Another tip is a little cornmeal on the sheet pan or silpat to keep it from sticking. After that, it’s all about the braid. Anyone can do a three-braided challah — it’s just like braiding hair. It’s every bit as delicious as any other challah, but it’s a little flatter and not particularly impressive. It’s the classic “homemade challah” shape. But you don’t want guests to say “what a beautiful homemade challah.” You want them to say “there’s no way this is a homemade challah!” Watch enough food network and you know, “people eat with their eyes before their mouths”. The first “wow” factor will come from the bubbly and sophisticated shape of a 6-braided challah. I tried to learn it from Spice and Spirit — a cookbook that covers everything traditional and old-school in Jewish cooking. That was seriously confusing. I don’t know why I didn’t just google it. Anyway, here’s a much easier video tutorial. Do it a few times and you’ll be able to braid a challah in 15 seconds. I still need to refer back to the book to see how to start it (just like starting a lanyard back at summer camp), but it’ll get the wow factor!
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