I make this Cinnamon Raisin Challah for Rosh Hashana every year. My regular challah recipe can also be used for the holiday. I make both because my family goes crazy over this as well. This recipe makes for great toast and French Toast later in the week. Be careful, if you make this, you’re family will want you to make it every week.
2 Pkg. Dry Active Yeast
1 TSP *Sugar
2 Cups Warm Water
5 1/2 to 7 Cups Flour
4 TSP Salt
1/4 Cup Cinnamon
1 Cup Raisins
8 TBSPS Sugar or **Splenda
2/3 Cup Oil
6 Eggs – beaten
1 Egg beaten. Brushed liberally over loaf
- Place Yeast, tsp Sugar and warm Water (warm from the tap) in small mug or cup. Mix with a fork and let sit while you prepare the wet mixture. In about five minutes, it will foam up. This is done to make sure the yeast is good, will become active and make the bread rise.
- Place Salt, Splenda or Sugar, Oil and Eggs, Cinnamon and Raisins in bowl. Many recipes call for honey, but our family has to be sugar free, so this recipe is good for those reducing their sugar intake. If you use honey, please remember it is adding significantly more liquid and you will need to alter the entire recipe.
- Add foamy Yeast mixture.
- Add a cup of Flour at a time until dough can be turned out of bowl onto kneading surface.
- Sprinkle flour on kneading surface and place dough onto it. Begin kneading. The dough will feel very sticky. Knead flour into dough until dough can be handled without sticking to your hands and is smooth and elastic to the touch.
- Place kneaded dough in a bowl, cover with a dishtowel and put in a warm, draft free area (I place my bowl into the microwave or oven and close the door. Just don’t turn it on! )
- Let dough rise for two hours. Three hours rising time is even better.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Punch down risen dough. Take your fist and punch it down the middle of the dough while it is still in the bowl. The yeast, if it has worked, has caused a lot of gas to build up in the bread and it should have doubled in size. It is at this point that “taking or separating challah” takes place. To do this, pull a handful of dough from the main dough, roll it into a ball and say the blessing. Place the dough in your preheated oven to burn it.
- Knead the dough once more for a few minutes.
This recipe makes two large loaves. For three strand Challah, cut the dough into two halves first, then cut each half into 3 equal lumps. Roll each lump into a foot long “rope”. Braid like you would hair. For a six-strand Challah, (pictured above) cut the dough into two halves first, then cut each half into six equal lumps. Click here to see how to braid the dough with six strands.
- For Rosh Hashana, a circular loaf is traditional. Whether three strand or six, prepare dough as though only making one very large loaf. The strands will be very long. Braid them as you wish, then bring the ends around to meet to make a circle. If you have trouble keeping the ends woven together, use toothpicks.
- Put circular loaf or loaves on oiled baking stone or in loaf pans. I prefer the stone so that the bread keeps its original shape.
- Cover and let braided dough rise for one hour.
- Beat one egg. Brush loaves with egg.
- Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes until loaves are golden brown. Check it before removing from the oven. Some days it takes a little longer to bake through.
*For those who wish to make this sugar free, the sugar used to proof the yeast is “eaten up” by the yeast in the proofing process. One’s blood sugars will not be affected.
**I prefer to use the granular Splenda since our family does not eat sugar.