How to Braid a Six Strand Challah

When my husband’s grandmother was 90 years old she sat me down at her kitchen table and handed me six strands of thread. With those six strands she taught me the traditional way to braid a challah (the ceremonial bread for the Jewish sabbath commonly referred to as egg braid in bakeries).

It is a custom to serve two loaves of bread side by side when welcoming the beginning of shabbat. The torah describes the specific way the 12 tribes of Israel were to present their loaves of bread to the priests in the Temple–in two rows,six loaves in each row. I can’t help wondering if two six-braided loaves placed side by side in a modern Jewish kitchen isn’t representative of this ancient custom?


Preparation Instructions


Arrange the six strands of dough next to each other vertically. Gently pinch the very top ends of the dough strips together.


Cross the third strip from the left over the fourth strip and take the fourth strip and lay it down pointing straight up over the pinched ends.
You now have two strips to the left, two strips to the right, o­ne up and o­ne down in the middle.


Starting with the outside strip of dough o­n the right, bring the dough over the additional right strip and the center strip. Transfer the dough to your left hand. With your right hand bring down the upper strip of dough while your left hand brings up its strand of dough. You now, again, have 2 strips to the left, two strips to the right, o­ne up and o­ne down.


Repeat this same procedure with the left side. You are basically using the same technique that you would use with a regular braid you just have the extra step of bringing the dough over two strands instead of one and, of course, bringing the top strand down and the strand that did the crossing up.


The steps are ACROSS, DOWN, UP. Or as I tell my students as they try to remember which strip goes up, “The o­ne that does the work (goes over) gets the promotion!”ing down the dough and putting up the dough.


When the challah is braided, pinch the ends together and tuck them underneath by “walking” the dough back under or pinching it more into the center of the dough. This prevents the challah from looking bulbous at the ends.

  • Share this:


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *