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Well-rounded challah?


I was so excited when I saw that Shoshana of Couldn’t be Parve (one of my favourite kosher food blogs!) had posted this Round Woven Challah Tutorial.  She used beautiful coloured dough – there’s even a video.
In previous years, when it comes to round challahs, I have done one of two things:  made a very long  EVEN braid (normally, I make the braids FAT in the middle, but that doesn’t work for round) and then just wrapped it in on itself.   Or… um… just made a big, fat snake, and wrapped it up like a snail.  Easy!  (Plus, that’s what my mother does, so it’s not only easy, it’s a TRADITION!) (click the link above & scroll down to see both models)
I’ve always thought of myself as a klutzy,  non-dextrous person, but the truth is that my regular 4-braids come so easily now that I am starting to think maybe I just needed practice all along.  (I have been partly emboldened along the way by various paper-folding things, like Curious George paper boats and these butterflies.)
So when I saw Shoshana’s tutorial, I thought - “why the heck not?!”  I mean, I won’t wreck her tute for you, but I will share a sneak preview (properly linked, with credit, borrowed for review purposes only) and tell you she makes it look TOTALLY simple.

So why the heck not, right?
Well, because I’m a klutz, that’s why.  And because I had already made my dough, which is one of my super-sloppy, no-knead, ultra-wet doughts that produces challah that feels like cake, but which lacks the substance needed for those truly chashuvah (chashuvah = important / substantial) braids or designs.
Here are the snakes.  This is after TWO stretch-and-fold operations, and believe me, it’s still totally sloppy and trying to melt into the tabletop.  Call it Extreme Baking.  The snakes are still a little fat in the middle, but much more elongated than usual.
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Now, you lay them in a cross-hatch design:
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And over, over, over, forwards and back (watch the tutorial!) until just the ends are left, which you bang and pinch together.  First one, not too shabby…
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So I got overconfident with the second one, and tucked the ends under too much, leaving this weird blobbish look on top.  Ugh.
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So I figured it out, kind of… when tucking the ends, you tuck them on TOP of the over-under bits, not THROUGH into the centre, or else they’ll be visible.
Before tucking: isn’t this a beautiful shape in its own right?
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Now, tuck… on TOP, not THROUGH:
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All tucked in!
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Now, flip the challah:
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…Aaaaand repeat.  (see the ugly lumpy one at the bottom right side???)
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… and done!
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Okay, still pretty klutzy… but hopefully, delicious!
(and YES, that is a laundry hamper with a rack perched on it… hard to find table space around here on a homschool / cooking Friday!)
How do you do round challahs?  Lazy way?  Fancy way?  Something in between???

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