I love making challah and watching eyes light up when I serve a homemade round loaf at my annual family Rosh Hashanah dinner.
Why a round challah on Rosh Hashanah you might wonder? A simple answer is, it is a symbolic tradition for the Jewish New Year and symbolizes eternal life. Check out more about the significance here: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-nosher/why-jews-eat-round-challah-for-the-new-year/.
My favorite recipe for a speedy challah (only one rise) and one that is delicious every time, can be found at this link: favorite challah recipe. In fact, it was my go-to challah to train many J-Family moms and Divas & Diners participants. Many complimented the recipe saying it was their new favorite. To add extra sweetness, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top before baking, and feel free to be creative by adding raisins or chopped apples with cinnamon sugar, to your challah dough braids.
When making challah, I believe in using high-quality, unbleached bread flour - King Arthur brand is my go-to, and I have exchanged unsalted butter for margarine unless aiming to make it dairy-free (pareve). Tori Avey provides excellent challah braiding tips including various round challah techniques. Check out the turban braid for tips on how to neatly tuck in your fillings: http://toriavey.com/how-to/2010/08/challah-bread-part-2-how-to-braid-challah/.
For a standout centerpiece challah, braid your challah dough around a ramekin or small oven-safe dish (I used the most amazing challah recipe for the dough), https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/pumpkin-challah-centerpiece-with-cinnamon-honey-butter/. Once baked and ready to serve, you can place your favorite filling (apple butter for Rosh Hashanah or pumpkin butter for Fall and Thanksgiving).
Happy baking and Happy Rosh Hashanah (New Year)!
- Michelle Leichty