The traditional challah braided bread greet us as the first taste of Shabbat. To show our love for Shabbat and holidays, we often get creative with challah shapes. To make most shapes we start with a coil. The best way is to flatten a disk with a rolling pin. Then, using your hands roll the disk into a log shape. Place gentle pressure on the log as you roll it out. You will need the log to make the bird, braided challahs and the tree.
After shaping, brush gently with beaten egg. Allow to rise for about 30 minutes and bake in a 350°F/165°C oven until golden.
To make a challah bird, first make a thick log about 8 inches long. Tie into a knot with two ends sticking out. Flatten one end into the tail, cut three or four slices and fan it out. Pinch the other end into the head and beak. With a toothpick make a hole for the eyes and place an inverted chocolate chip or clove into the indent.
Click diagram to enlarge and follow instructions. Coming soon, how to make a six strand challah braid.
Use a cookie cutter or inverted glass to make 5 or 6 circles. Overlay the circles as in the photo. Roll the circles. Cut in half for a small rose, or leave whole for a large one. Gently separate the layers. To add leaves, cut more circles and trim to shape them to ovals. Use a sharp knife and cut diagonal lines on each half of the oval to resemble veins on a leaf. Slip the leaf end under the rose. Bake on a cookie sheet or in a muffin tin. If you use a cookie sheet, you might need to slip a toothpick in the middle to keep the leaf petals together while baking. Remember to remove it before serving!
Get creative with flower shaped rolls and decorations for your breads.
Follow the photo instructions for how to make this elegant round challah.
Tree Challah: Shape four long logs. Take three and set in parallel lines. Starting 1/3 of the way down, braid and leave the ends unbraided as in the photo above. Weave the remaining log into the unbraided part. Coil these loose pieces into the top of the tree. See photo.
Photo credits: www.foodwanderings.com, littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com, solnce-pek.livejournal.com, postila.ru and kingarthurflour.com. Some photos came from Pinterest, please contact me to claim copyright.