The Old Bear's
Shabbat Challah Ring

These photos show the steps used in shaping and making a
traditional braided challah ring for your Shabbat table.

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Begin by dividing the dough into three equal parts.

I like to shape it as a round and then use the bench knife to mark and cut it into thirds.

Step 1
Take each portion and form it into a long rope.

Challah dough is very stretchy and springy. If it fights back too much, pause for a minute or so. This will allow the gluten to relax and you can then resume the making the rope.

Step 2
For the ring, the ropes get quite long. I had to use the countertop as a work surface once things got too big for my marble work slab. Step 3
It's easiest to start your braid in the middle so that you don't have to handle the full lengths of the ropes. Begin by crossing all three strands at their mid-point and then work outward. Step 4
Just braid away. Challah dough should be very stretchy, so you can pull and tug on it to get it to do what you need to do. Make sure the braid is somewhat tight but not overly tight. Step 5
Form the completed braid into a ring. I used a round pan (a deep-dish pizza pan) and a Tupperware bowl to help me get the ring into a circular form.

You may need to trim the length of the braid before pinching together the ends to close the ring. Any excess dough can be used to make another small challah.

Step 6

Remove the object you used to form the center so that the braid can rise on its own.

Notice the place where the ends of the braid are joined. This will be much less obvious after the ring is baked.

Step 7
Cover the shaped ring with plastic wrap which has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Allow the dough to rise. It will be relatively slow rising because of all the egg and oil. Be patient.

The small pan on the right is the mini-loaf made from the dough left over trimmings from the ring. I shaped two balls and placed them side-by-side in my smallest loaf pan.

Step 8

Here's the braid after about an hour. It is well risen and ready to be coated with an egg wash made by beating the yolk of one egg with a tablespoon of water. Apply this to the risen dough with a brush. The wash gives the finished loaf a nice shine and a golden brown crust.

Step 9
Bake the ring for about 30 to 35 minutes at 375-degrees F. Remove it from the pan and let it cool on a rack.

Covering it with a clean cotton dish towel allows just enough moisture to escape to keep the crust from becoming soggy but not so much as to cause the crust to become dry.

Step 10

And here is the finished loaf on the dining room table ready to welcome Shabbat.

That's Old Bear's friend, Bear Mitzvah, who is sitting there looking at the challah ring in happy anticipation.

Step 11

Copyright 2001 by William Lee Roberts. All rights reserved.