Challah bread always brings back memories of college for me. I was involved with a volunteer group that spent time mentoring “at risk” elementary school kids and helping them understand the importance of higher education. Each week we took the kids to various places across campus doing fun and educational activities. One of the most popular activities with the kids was the campus Hillel House – the Jewish student center. It was known amongst the little buddies as “the bread place!” because every year we got to braid and bake our own loaves of challah. (Any activity involving food was bound to become a favorite.) It was always a wonderfully fun time and delicious as well.
There are many different ways to braid challah, and not being Jewish myself, I do not claim to know what is traditional or correct. Some are very complicated with many strands involved. At the Hillel House we did a four-stranded braid with the kiddos. This recipe uses one large three-stranded braid, which is then topped with another smaller three-stranded braid. The whole thing bakes together for a very impressive appearance without being complicated at all. The result is a delicious, tender loaf of sturdy bread that can be used for many things. It is great for eating plain, as toast, French toast, etc. This loaf went a long way in our house. I had a few pieces of toast, made a very special breakfast that I’ll be sharing tomorrow, and used the rest for bread crumbs. I’ll definitely make it again soon to give it a try as French toast since I didn’t attempt that this time around. Can’t wait!