Challah bread is not only delicious, it’s also beautiful. The braided bread makes an elegant centerpiece at your dinner table. Making the bread at home may seem overwhelming, but it’s actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. The braiding process is perhaps the most difficult part, and even that isn’t hard once you have a little practice.
Just like when braiding hair, braiding bread is done by weaving strands of dough together to create a pattern. To create the strands, divide the Challah dough equally into the number of strands you will need (usually 3, 4, or 6).
Roll the dough out to approximately 1/4″ thick. Starting at the top of the dough, roll downwards to create a snake-like shape. Press and roll the dough until all air pockets are gone and any seams are closed. The ends of the strand should be thinner than the center of the strands, so the finished Challah bread has a nice shape.
Braiding Three-Strand Challah Bread
Place three strands side-by-side on a flat surface. Just like creating a traditional braided hairstyle, start with the strand furthest to the right and weave it over the middle strand and under the left strand. Continue this process, always starting with the furthest strand to the right, until the entire dough is braided. Pinch each end to hold the dough together, allow it to rise, and then bake it.
Braiding Four-Strand Challah Bread
The process of four-strand Challah bread is similar to three-strand, except you are going to follow an over, under, over pattern. Much like the three-strand Challah bread, always start with the furthest piece of dough to the right. Weave the strand of dough over the strand directly next to it, then under the strand next to that. Continue the process until the bread is braided completely, pinching the ends and allowing the dough to rise before baking.
Braiding Six-Strand Challah Bread
You’ll follow the same process for six-strand Challah bread, except follow the pattern over 2, under 1, over 2. Once the strands are all braided, pinch the ends and allow the dough to rise, then bake it to golden perfection.