Now with Pesach over, it’s time to put Chametz back on the table! This week as the old custom goes, we are putting keys into our Challahs! Why you may ask? Great question.
Shlissel Key Challah is a custom that was established years ago, to commemorate the Manna, miraculous food that fell for the Jewish people in the dessert after they left Egypt. It symbolizes the blessing of livelihood, one that we all wish to receive and maintain till this day! We got the ultimate Shlissel Challah recipe that you will be making this week, and all year ‘round. So grab your apron, and let’s get baking!
I love Shlissel Challah Shabbat. A chance at bringing good fortune in the year? On it. The ability to make my challah in the shape of a key without coming out looking completely bonkers? Less on it. This is probably why my family has the tradition of simply baking a key inside the challah – less risk! To that end, we also wrap the key in foil before baking and are sure to stick it out at one end so we know exactly where it is baked and nobody slices into anything other than bread.
One adjustment to the tradition I grew up with is that I use a key that holds significant meaning to my family (in my case, every year we use the same key from the first Shlissel Shabbat after my husband and I were married 18 years ago). While this is obviously not necessary, I do like how it helps me remember that there are things in life far more valuable than money. An important lesson that can so easily be forgotten.
Wishing you good fortune in the year ahead!
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 4 ¼ cup high quality bread flour
- Generous ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon *instant* yeast
- (Please note, you might need to add a tablespoon of water or flour at a time to get it to the right consistency. Weather or humidity or type of flour can make the dough vary from day to day.)
- ¾ cup finely diced Golden Delicious apple (peeled and patted dry)
- ½ cup Golden Butter Cake Mix
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons margarine (cold)
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Gold sprinkles (optional)
- Add the dough dry and wet ingredients to a bread machine in the order specified by the manufacturer. Set machine for “dough” cycle.
- If not using a bread machine, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, turn out on to a floured board and knead for 5-7 minutes. Allow to rise in a large bowl in a dark place, covered with plastic wrap or a towel for 1 ½ hours.
- When the dough cycle is complete or when done rising, remove dough from the bread machine or bowl, and divide into 6 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll three portions into long ropes, then carefully braid together. Place on a greased loaf pan or greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cover with a towel and let rise for an additional 20-30 minutes in a dark, draft-free place.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the crumb topping by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and combining with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- (If making for Shlissel Shabbat, and using a real key, wrap the key in foil and insert between braids. Leave some foil showing.)
- Brush with an egg wash, gently press the crumb topping all over the surface and in between the braids and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Makes 2 challahs
- There’s no reason you can’t have a little fun on top of the challah! Hey, love and family are valuable but nobody ever said no to a little extra gold. To give my shlissel challahs an extra twinkle, I have adorned them in everything from gold sprinkles to golden baking paint. This year I am topping my challah with a Golden Delicious Crumb topping: an easy to make apple cake crumb topping made with cinnamon, golden delicious apples, and Golden Butter cake mix (Duncan Hines has a pareve version).