How To Braid A Challah
The braiding process may seem daunting for beginners, but it is relatively easy. A beginner will be able to do it correctly with just a bit of practice.
After preparing the dough, make six ropes that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. A good way to do this would be to divide your dough into half first, then divide both halves into thirds.
You will have 6 dough ropes in total. You have the option to make 2 loaves with 3 braided strands each, or one big loaf with all 6 strands braided together.
To make a 3-stranded braid loaf:
- Pinch 3 ropes of dough together at their ends. The first one should lie on the left side, the second one on the center and the third one on the right.
- Begin by putting the first rope over the second, pulling the one underneath slightly to the left.
- Then, put third one over the the first, then put the second one over it.
- The first and second rope should now be pointing to the right, and the third to the left. Put the first over the second rope and the the third over the second.
- Repeat this “over under” motion until you get to the end. Pinch the ends of the three ropes together and then tuck underneath the dough.
A 6-stranded dough can be braided in the same “over-under” manner.
- Pinch one end of all six ropes together, preferably one beside the next so that the ropes from a sort of a cylinder. Hold this as the ropes might come undone during the braiding process. The leftmost strand will be strand number 1, count to the right, with the rightmost strand as number 6.
- Pull the sixth over the first to the far left and the first to the far right.
- Part it down the middle by pulling the second and third a bit to the left and then the fourth and the first to the slightly to the right.
- Bring the sixth down in between the third and fourth rope.
- Pull the fifth to the far left, over the fourth, sixth, third and second ropes.
- Part it down again in the middle, pulling the second and third a bit to the left and the sixth and fourth to the right.
- Bring the first down the middle.
- Pull the second to the far right, over the third, sixth and fourth.
- Bring down the fifth down the middle.
- Continue in braiding in this manner. One good thing to remember is that you will have all six strands spread out at all times. Always bring the second to the left to the far right, then the second to the right to the far left. Bring down the far right down the middle and then bring the second one to the right to the far left once more and then repeat the process.
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