Challah is my favorite thing to bake, hands down. I don’t do it often, but I relish every opportunity to bake a couple of loaves for friends and family. My friend Vered invited me to her family’s Rosh Hashanah dinner, so I decided to bring a couple of loaves of round challah (the traditional shape for starting the New Year), one with golden raisins, one with sesame seeds.

My favorite challah recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s blog, Smitten Kitchen. It’s an adaptation from Jewish cookery guru Joan Nathan. However, I did not follow Deb’s instructions on how to braid a round challah (though, her directions on how to weave a six-stranded challah are perfect). A while back, I researched how to weave a round challah, and I came across this gem from Chabad’s website. That link shows you how to weave the challah, and also how to incorporate raisins into the dough without driving yourself crazy.

The raisin challah. Vered’s mom said it reminded her of her own mother’s challah. The ultimate compliment!

As Deb (by way of Joan Nathan) suggests, I allowed the dough to rise three times — the second rising took place in the fridge overnight. In the future, I’d probably double the raisins because, while I’m not the biggest fan of raisins generally, I do like a very raisiny raisin bread.

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I even made a baby challah wreath for myself.

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