Home Food THE SHABBAT TABLE: THE KEY TO A GREAT SHLISSEL CHALLAH

THE SHABBAT TABLE: THE KEY TO A GREAT SHLISSEL CHALLAH

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The making of key-shaped challot. NORENE GILLETZ PHOTO

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! There is a Jewish custom to bake a key-shaped challah, also known as Shlissel Challah, in honour of the first Shabbat after Passover. Shlissel is the Yiddish word for key. Shlissel Challah is believed to be a segula (ritual or good omen) for parnassa (livelihood).

Some people place an actual key into the challah dough, while others prefer to shape the actual dough into a key-shaped loaf. Another option is to place a metal key on top of the unbaked loaf, then press down to make an indentation before baking the challah. Another technique is to form a small piece of yeast dough into a key shape, then place it on top of the unbaked loaf. Yet another idea is to sprinkle sesame seeds in the shape of a key on top of the challah – Open Sesame!

A key-shaped challah baked. NORENE GILLETZ PHOTO

Click here for my Prize Winning Challah recipe, here for healthier variations of challah and here for a recipe for a bowlful of steaming hot chicken soup to enjoy with your challah.

Food blogger, photographer, and recipe developer, Melinda Strauss was intrigued when she discovered the Shlissel tradition. Melinda, founder of Kitchen-Tested.com, decided to use her regular challah recipe and shape it into Shlissel Challah. Here it is.


MELINDA STRAUSS’ SHLISSEL CHALLAH (KEY CHALLAH)

1 cup warm water

1 1/2 Tbsp yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup oil

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups bread flour

1/2 Tbsp salt

For Melinda’s method of mixing and kneading the dough, helpful how-to photos, plus three different methods for making the key shapes, read on her website here.

You’ll discover Melinda’s “keys to success” as she shows you how easy it is to make her Shlissel Challah, including a pull-apart key shape that uses individual challah rolls formed into knots, which she then sticks together. Melinda finds that it’s easier to work with challah dough on a lightly oiled surface so she sprays the work surface with cooking spray. Smart!

And then there’s Melinda’s creative recipe for Chocolate Challah, filled with chocolate chips! Chip, chip, hooray!


MELINDA’S CHOCOLATE CHALLAH

 

Makes 2 large braided or pull-apart challahs

Yeast mixture:

1 package active dry yeast

1 overflowing tsp white sugar

1/4 cup warm water

Dough:

Yeast mixture (see above)

4 cups bread flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 egg (+ 1 egg for brushing on dough)

1 tsp salt

1 cup warm water

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Visit Melissa’s site for complete directions and how-to photos on mixing, rising, shaping, and baking Chocolate Challah.

Melinda mixes up the chocolate challah dough in her electric stand mixer. She warns her readers: “Make sure you mix on low or the flour will end up all over your face instead of inside the challah dough!” Enjoy!!

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at goodfood@gourmania.com

 

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