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Delicious Challah -- But Indistinct Braids

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My challah tastes great, but I'm frustrated with how it looks. The braids tend to meld into each other -- you can barely see any "bumpiness" on the top. Today, for example, I baked 2 loaves -- one came out OK (in terms of braid-iness), the other was nearly smooth on top. Any ideas what I may (inadvertently) done differently with the 2? Suggestions for improvement? The one thing I'm wondering about is the fact that my oven, which has 5 positions, can only hold 1 loaf per level (I need to get smaller baking sheets). So, I started one loaf pretty near the top and the other in the middle. Halfway through I swapped them. (Please don't ask which one started at which level -- I've got no clue, unfortunately.) Would that make a difference? Thanks so much.

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  1. How are you braiding your loaf? For each loaf, cut the dough into three pieces. Roll each piece into a 9 inch rope. Place them parallel to each other about one inch apart. Connect them from the top by pinching them together. Start braiding by placing the left over the middle rope, right over the middle rope, etc (place one over the other not too tight). When you get to the end, pinch the 3 ends together. Proof, glaze and bake.

    1. ... and avoid pulling/stetching the "ropes" as you braid.

      http://www.flournwater.com/food_010.htm