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Braided Challah - 6 Strand Instructions

This method, though not difficult, requires some practice.
Divide the dough into 6 equal balls.
To make the braids, use little or no flour. If the dough sticks use a very light dusting. Using the palms of your hands, roll each ball into ropes approximately 12” long, thick in the center and tapered to a point on each end.
Set aside, covered, and allow to rest for a few minutes.
Form two 3-strand braids.

Line up the 6 strands and pinch the ends together.
Bring strand #6 from the right end over strand #1 and up to the left.
Bring strand #1 from the left up to the top right (Figure 3). You now have a four-legged "creature" with the arms crossed over each other.
Keeping the "legs" spread apart in pairs, the left "arm" (as you face it) comes down into the center between the "legs".
Bring the outer right "leg" over and up to form a new top left "arm".
The top right "arm" comes down between the "legs".

Repeat the pattern. The left outer “leg” comes up to form the new right “arm” and the left “arm” comes down to the center. The right “leg” comes up to form the left “arm”, and the right “arm” comes down to the center. Continue by alternating: Left “leg” up to become right “arm” left “arm” down to the center. Right “leg” up to become left “arm”, right “arm” down to the center. Always keep hold of the last strand you moved so you remember your location in the pattern. Keep the “legs” spread in pairs so that the “arms” can easily be brought down the center (Figure 6).

When braiding, if you become disoriented, remember that” arms” come down, “legs” come up. If you make an error, open the braid and begin again.

Finish by pinching the ends closed.

Beat one egg and using a pastry brush, brush egg wash over top and sides of braided Challah. Place bread on cornmeal dusted pan.

Allow to proof until not quite doubled in size and the braid feels firm when lightly touched on the sides. The bread will spring up in the oven. For a high gloss, brush egg wash on top and sides of Challah a second time prior to baking.

Bake at 375o for 45-60 minutes. When the top begins to brown, cover with a tent of parchment paper or an opened brown paper bag so that the top does not burn while the center is allowed to bake.

NOTE: To customize this bread, you may add raisins, nuts to the mix and/or sesame and/or poppy seeds for topping.

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