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About Challah Bread

Q: I am trying to find the country of origin from which challah bread comes from, appreciate your help.

A: To the best of my knowledge, there is no country of origin of the bread called Challah, and I've been baking this bread for over 14 years now.

It is not fast rising, but it is Jewish. It is often referred to as 'egg bread' since the recipe usually has a large amount of eggs (I use a total of 6 of the largest eggs I can buy). This especially rich bread is eaten on the Sabbath and on all Jewish holidays (with the exception of Passover).

Technically, the word 'challa' isn't the name of the bread at all. The 'challa' is a small olive sized piece of dough which is separated from the rest of the dough before baking. This is baked and then burnt (representing the distruction of the Temple) and thrown away after a special prayer is said.

There are as many recipies of Challa as there are Jewish cooks and cookbooks. Different ethnic traditions call for differences in the recipies. One distinct addition is sprinkling sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the top of the bread before baking (usually after an egg wash, to help the seeds stick). This is supposed to represent the manna which God gave the Israelites to eat while they wandered in the desert. Some people prefer a very sweet bread and will even add raisins to the dough.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

The Chocolate Lady
Davida Chazan

Pray for Peace and an end to hate.
Shalom, for and from Jerusalem.

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