A challah braid is the most traditional form of challah breads, with the braided presentation turning the egg-y dough into a work of art.
- Challah Dough
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (9 to 18 grams) poppy seeds
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide dough in half. Divide one-half of dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long. Place strands vertically in front of you, and dust with flour. Pinch 4 ends together at top. Cross the first strand under the second and third strands. Cross the third strand over the second strand. Cross the fourth strand under the second strand. Cross the second strand over the third strand. Repeat this crossing pattern until you’ve reached end of strands; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough. Place braided loaves on prepared pans. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Brush with half of egg wash, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 50 minutes, brushing loaves with remaining egg wash halfway through baking, and covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes before serving.