On Rosh Hashanah a symbol of making ourselves and the world more whole is eating a round challah.
Challah in the Round
To make two (egg-free!) round challah breads you’ll need:
1½ tablespoons yeast
2½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon, plus ½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups flour
1 cup raisins (optional)
Dissolve the yeast in the water with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Whisk the mixture together, then add the oil, salt, and remaining sugar. Add the flour gradually, mixing well and then working it in with your hands. Take turns kneading as a family for about 10-15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Work in the raisins (optional). Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, let the dough warm to room temperature, then punch it down and separate into two portions.
Braid a Round Challah
Challah is usually shaped in a simple long braid, but you can turn any challah recipe into a Rosh Hashanah recipe by braiding it in the round.
- When you reach the braiding stage, shape the dough into six strands of equal length.
- Lay three strands horizontally on a floured surface, then weave the other three strands into them vertically. Lift the bottom strands as needed to weave the top strands in. The ends of the strands will stick out.
- Now braid the ends together on all four sides. Gently tuck the braided edges underneath the middle section. Repeat steps 1 through 3 to create your second loaf.
- Grease two round baking tins and transfer your loaves into them. Let the dough rise for another hour, then bake at 350 degrees for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. If desired, glaze with a mixture of warm honey and a drop of water.
For the full recipe, including a video on how to braid your challah bread, visit PJlibrary.org.