The pumpkin challahs were so good, I decided to do them again this week, with a new braiding technique I saw online while I was researching the pumpkin challah recipe. It’s easier than you would ever believe (much easier than the standard 6-braids challah), and it’s so different from anything you normally see, it has the “wow” factor every time! It even worked for mini challahs! The strands werent long enough to make it more than 1 weave around, but they were adorable and a big hit when I handed them out for free at a synagogue boutique on Sunday. No long post today… Just a picture of my challahs and a link to do it yourself.
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!