Friday, July 29, 2011

Four-Stranded Braid (and thoughts on chocolate chips)

In my opinion,  chocolate chips are SUCH a challenge in challah.  They should be easy and perfect but they can often either overpower the bread or become burnt little crisps.
step7   DSC_1303
I've mentioned this before, but my solution is to knead in the chips AFTER the rise(s).  First, I sort of flatten the bread, as such and drop a bunch of chips on.  This is about a quarter of a cup.  Knead those in gently and then add more to your liking.

When I separate each strand for braiding, I try to make sure there are no chips on the outside.  It's challenging to do, because they want to poke through.  I do my best to work them into the center of the dough.  With chips of any kind, I find that fewer strands is best.  In filled challot (like Nutella Challah), I always do three-strands.  With the chocolate chips, I opted for a four-strand, which I don't do very often. This is mainly just because I prefer five.  But, here's my how-to on four-strand.  I learned it from a friend.  Five I learned from the internet, so I'll try to dig up the link... if I can't find it, I'll post my own but it's a little hard to photograph!

Step One - Lay your strands out and gather at the top.  They are numbered 1 - 4 right to left (it's Jewish bread after all).

Step Two - Bring #1 over #2.

Step Three - Bring #3 to the far right, over #1 and #2.

Step Four - Bring #4 over #1. (This blurry hand shot is what I get for trying to braid challah, take a photo, and not get flour on my camera.)

Step Five - Bring #2 to the far left, over #1 and #4.

Repeat steps one through five. - With all my challot, I tuck a good portion of the end under and use my palms to push the loaf together lengthwise because I like a short, high bread. If you like a longer, flatter loaf, you don't need to do this.

Ta-da!  You did it!  I love chocolate chip challah, and I'm excited because The Hazz's cousin and her family are coming to visit with two little daughters!  Love making kid-friendly dinners (although this week, The Hazz cooked and I just made challah and dessert).  Shabbat Shalom from our bayit to yours!


  1. Mmmm....looks delish.

    Based on Leigh-Ann's idea - I like to do a 6-braid because there are 6 people in our family :-) cheesy...I know...

    I tried your little flower thing, though, last week, cuz it seemed fast, and it was adorable. So thanks!!!

  2. this is the braid I always do :)


  3. Ever since I saw the four-stranders on Shalom Sesame, I've wanted to learn. Thanks for the tutorial.


  4. When I do a chocolate chip challah, I put the chips into the middle of each strand the way you do your nutella challah.

    Also, especially if you like sweet things, my my and I both use our challah recipes (mine is egg-free b/c of a kid with allergies and hers is an amazing egg challah) to make chocolate babka and cinnamon/sticky buns.

    BTW, Thanks for the tip to brush the top of egg free challahs with maple syrup.

  5. @Michelle, I'm totally going to try that method for chocolate chips, it sounds great! I've never done cinnamon buns, but I'm inspired now to give them a whirl (pun definitely intended).

    @LeighAnn, no prob! There are a couple of other four-stranders... one which I learned with my tzitzit before someone pointed out I shouldn't be braiding on Shabbat (during the torah service... woops...) :)

    @flminivanmama, it's so pretty right?

    @RabbiPhyllis, LOVE that method and someday I'll hope to be able to do it! Maybe I'll do a 12 strand for the 9 kids that The Hazz and I are going to have someday.


    I thought you would like this video.

  7. Thank you so much I learned how to make challah I make it for shabbat