One of the most iconic symbols of Rosh Hashana, besides the shofar and apples and honey, is the round challah. The circular shape of the challah symbolizes the cyclical nature of the year and the challah is often dipped in honey before eating to symbolize a sweet new year. I make mine even sweeter with candied fruit and a smattering a sprinkles, but raisins are a more traditional choice. There are many different ways to make round challah but my favorite is the round woven challah. It comes out with a nice shape and looks almost braided. Once you get the hang of it this braid is not that complicated, and ever since someone showed me this at a braiding workshop it is the only way I make round challot. Since I find it much easier to make something after I see a demonstration I wanted to make a tutorial on how to make this challah. In addition to the video tutorial there are illustrated step by step directions. This is my first time doing something like this, so let me know what you think! If people like it and find it helpful I can make tutorials for all kinds of things! Any challah dough will work well for this braid, this is the recipe I used.
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This woven challah is made by weaving strands of dough over one another in a circular pattern.The arrows in the illustrations below show which strand of dough is moved in each step. When making challah the dough probably won’t be colored but the instructions are described using the colors to make it easy to follow the steps.
1. Place two strands of dough in each direction, making a kind of lattice. Note that the green strand goes under the red and over the yellow and the blue does the opposite, over the red and over the yellow.
2. Starting with the two pieces of dough closest to you (in this case the blue and green) and place the one that is under the (yellow) cross piece of dough (the blue) over the one that is over the cross piece (the green) moving in a clockwise direction.
3. Do the same with the next two strands. In this case the cross piece is green and the yellow (which is under the green) goes over the red.
4. Do the same with the next two strands. The cross piece is now the red one and the green (which is under the red) goes over the blue.
5. Do the same with the next two strands. The cross piece is now the blue one and red (which is under the blue) goes over the yellow. This is one complete rotation.
6. When you have finished one complete rotation switch directions, so now you are working in a counterclockwise direction maintaining the same pattern with the strand that is underneath always going over the one that is on top. Start by taking the green strand over the red.
7. Take the yellow and put it over the green.
8. Take the blue and put it over the yellow.
9. Take the red and put it over blue. This is the end of the second rotation. At this point each direction should have two strands of the same color. Reverse directions and work back in a clockwise direction.
10. The red that is under the cross piece (green) goes over the one that is on top.
11. The blue that is under the cross piece (red) goes over the one that is on top.
12. The yellow that is under the cross piece (blue) goes over the one that is on top.
13. The green that is under the cross piece (yellow) goes over the one that is on top. This is the end of the third rotation. If there is a lot of dough left reverse directions and do one more rotation.
14. Pinch the ends together and bring them to the middle. Pinch well to fasten them together.
15. Flip the challah over and place on baking sheet.