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Tastes of Jewish Tradition 

Traditional Jewish egg bread was first baked by Central European Jews during the Middle Ages. This recipe may either be made into a simple three-strand braid or divided into more strands to make fancy braided bread. The elaborately braided crown-shaped challah made for Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year—is a symbol of unity, peace and creation.

Braided Bread

    ¾ cup fat-free milk, warmed to 110°
    1 package rapid-rise active dry yeast
    ¼ cup clover honey
    Pinch turmeric
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    1 ¼ teaspoons salt
    3 ¼ cups bread flour
    Oil for bowl
    1 tablespoon butter, melted


    1 large egg yolk
    1 teaspoon water
    Poppy Seeds

1.  Bread machine method: Measure the milk, yeast, honey,        
     turmeric, eggs, oil, salt and flour into a bread machine pan.
     Set on sweet, large dough cycle. When complete go to step 4.

2.  Hand method: In a large bowl, measure the milk, yeast,
     honey and turmeric. Beat in eggs, oil and salt. Stir in enough
     flour to make a soft dough.

3.  Turn out onto a floured board, knead until smooth and elastic.       
     Set in an oiled bowl, turn once to coat with oil. Cover with a        
     damp cloth. Turn oven on to 200
°, when you can feel heat,
     turn the oven off. Let it rise until double, then punch down.

4.  You may be able to just oil your hands and make the 3 ropes.        
     If dough is too sticky, place dough on a floured breadboard;          
     cut into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a log shape. Lift dough
     up and rub dough between palms to form 12 to 14-inch long ropes.
     Place on a baking sheet and connect the ends by moistening them
     with water, fold ends on one side under. Braid 3 ropes loosely
     and seal the ends with a little water.

5.  Brush with melted butter and let sit in the warm oven until  
     doubled. The next step is crucial and the secret to a golden     
     colored loaf. The egg yolk should be well beaten and then     
     gently brushed over the loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

6.  Bake in a preheated 350°
oven 25 minutes or until a knife
     or skewer comes out clean. Serve with butter and maybe your
     favorite jam. This bread is delicious with soup.

     Hint: Sometimes this bread turns out even better if I forget
     to remove it immediately after the first rising and let it rise
     again in the bread machine after it has been automatically
     kneaded to knock down the air pockets. You may want to try
     a double rising one time to see which you prefer.

      Makes 1 braided loaf


Seasoned with Love
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