When I was growing up, challah always appeared on our Shabbus table at the start of the roast chicken dinner. Bread of some sort is traditional at the beginning of a meal as the first prayer is always for the wine if it is served and if not (which is usually wasn't except for very special holidays such as Passover) then the first prayer is for bread. Though I rarely hear these Herbrew prayers these days, I still remember them. The challah was served with honey as butter was not allowed with a meat meal. I always had one piece because when it was baked that day, it was still soft. It was not, however, homemade. As a child I never would have dreamed it possible to make a challah looking like it came from a bakery! The notes, penciled on the parchment, refer to the size of the shaped challah and then the size of the baked challah. It's always fun to see how consistent it is or how it changes with minor changes of technique. My challah stays perfectly fresh for two or three days because of the addition of the old sour dough starter as indicated in the recipe previously posted on the blog. The reason I am offering this posting is to show you what happens if you apply the egg glaze and poppyseeds before the final shaped rise. Many people prefer it because there is a greater contrast in the dough that gets exposed after rising which doesn't get coated with the glaze. I like to bake the challah the same day as making the dough as it gets a slightly higher rise compared to an overnight rise in the fridge. There is enough flavor from the starter to compensate for the shorter rising time. This is Elliott's favorite bread and I love making it.
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