Shlissel or Key Challah, makes the first challah after Pesach even more special. This is a well observed custom you might want to try for yourself.
You can do this by slipping a key directly in the challah, by baking it in the dough or placing it in the braids as you shape. Many even shape their challah to look like a key.
Shlissel Challah is a segula, good omen, for parnassa, or livelihood. It's a very interesting custom with many sources and traditions.
Many thanks to Maggie Geller, master baker and author of A Blessing of Bread, from whom I learned many bread baking tips shared here on The Kosher Channel.com.
~If you want to place a key in your homemade or store bought challah, first make sure to wash the key very well. Many keys contain lead so it is usually best to wrap the key in foil as well.
~Slip the key in between the braids of the challah as you shape it.
~Impress a key on the surface of the shaped, unbaked bread before it rises.
~You can use any key you like. Some like to use the key to their home as the home is the place we can fully feel the Almighty's presence in our lives as He is the one who puts the food on our table. Some like to use an old decorative key to press on top. If you have a home in Israel, how wonderful to use that!
~For store bought challah, simply slip a small key into the bottom of the loaf.
~Making your own challah gives the woman of the home a magnificent opportunity to pray for the members of her family and community as she kneads. The mitzvah of separating challah is a cherished mitzvah for us that you can learn about here on TheKosherChannel.
~You can us any challa recipe you like. Here's my favoriteCooking for The King recipe which you can use to make your own Shlissel key challah.
~Many have the custom to shape the challah like a key or design one out of dough to place on the top of the challah.