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The Making of a Royal Challah with the Challah Prince

A couple of weeks ago we had the thrill of experiencing two challah bakes with the Israeli Challah artist Idan Chabasov better known as the Challah Prince.

Idan’s Instagram account went viral during the pandemic when people stayed at home and became obsessed about baking. Idan masterfully creates the most beautiful braided challahs and we never thought our challahs could look like the ones you see on his Instagram page.  It turns out we came really close and couldn’t be prouder!

We’re excited to share what we learned and a few important tips:

  1. Mix dry ingredients first, then add the liquid ingredients

  2. Add the water slowly. Not all at once! Do the first half then knead. Then add the rest in two parts while kneading. This way the dough will not be sticky

  3. Knead the dough by folding and stretching. Use your body weight

  4. To check if the dough is ready: Make a small pita and slowly stretch it like a pizza. You have to see a “window” of stretched dough that allows the light through without breaking the dough. If the dough breaks (small holes) then it is not ready. Keep kneading

  5. Divide the dough using a scale so you have equal parts. This is essential to create beautiful strands

  6.  Make balls with the divided dough with one smooth side and one “ugly side”

  7. First make a pita and start folding upwards, bringing to the center pinching the dough like an Asian dumpling, this will be the “ugly side”. Then try to smooth this side making circular movements on the table.  

  8.  Let the dough rest with the smooth side on top while you start stretching the strands

  9. To make the strands move your hands from the inside to the outside to the sides

  10. Everyone has a stronger hand so when you see the strand is not equal just turn it over, that way you will roll both sides with the stronger hands

  11.  If you feel the dough is not stretching enough let it rest or wet your hands

  12. Watch the Challah Prince tutorial video for the different braiding techniques. He simplifies the steps and explains it in a way that is easy to understand and follow

  13. Do not use a silicone brush for the egg brush, use a hair brush and paint thoroughly with patience as if you were painting an artwork (and use only the egg yolk) 

  14. Our favorite tip: when someone asked about Chocolate Challah, he said, “Don’t try to stuff your challah. Just cut a piece of Challah and spread Nutella or your favorite chocolate spread over it.” He said that the literal meaning of Challah is braided bread not stuffed

  15. He also said, “I don’t believe in the best recipe. I believe in the person holding the dough and that person’s energy.”

MOST IMPORTANTLY! KNEAD, BRAID AND BAKE WITH PATIENCE AND LOVE that is the best tip that he repeated constantly!

We hope these tips help you perfect your challah game! Idan is the Challah Prince for a reason. Luckily, he has two tours planned for the USA. Mark your calendar and experience it yourself!

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