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Round Challah for Rosh Hashana

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Round challah (airy, eggy, braided bread) is served on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, to symbolize the cycle of life.  I baked round challah for the first time last year, but neglected to do any research on the proper way to braid the challah.  I had assumed that to braid round challah, I would take three strands, braid them (like I would my hair), and then coil them around each other.  It worked, but the challah wasn’t all that pretty.  This year, I learned the proper technique for braiding round challah.  I also had an inspired thought: “Rosh Hashana challah is round and cupcakes are round – hey, why not make challah cupcakes?”

My challah cupcakes make a special addition to the High Holiday table, but they could also be served on Shabbat any week of the year or any time that you want delicious bread.

How to Make and Braid Round Challah

I got this challah recipe from a family friend, Marsha.  Marsha makes some of the best challah I’ve ever had so when I wanted to make some myself, I knew I would have to use her recipe.

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Round Challah for Rosh Hashana

Servings 2 small loaves and 12 challah cupcakes (or one really big loaf, or two medium loaves, or lots and lots of challah cupcakes, or any combination you'd like)


  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Large handful raisins optional


  1. Mix all ingredients (except raisins) together.
  2. Knead until you've got a smooth sticky ball of dough.
  3. Let rise for one hour (or until doubled in size) in a covered bowl in a warm place.
  4. Punch down.
  5. Decide what you are baking. If you are making challah cupcakes, each cupcake uses 1 1/2 ounces of dough. For two loaves, divide the batter in half (either all of it or whatever is leftover after making your cupcakes). For one big loaf, use all of the batter.
  6. Braid the dough (see braiding instructions below).
  7. Transfer braided dough to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or a silpat or to cupcake liners.
  8. Cover and let rise for another hour.
  9. Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes, until golden brown.

Recipe Notes

See rest of post for braiding and Challah Cupcake suggestions


How to Braid Round Challah

I learned this braiding technique from Chabad and only altered it slightly. The step-by-step below shows the braiding process for a medium or large round challah.  I’ll talk about the challah cupcakes further down in the post.

  • Divide the dough into four pieces.
  • If desired, press raisins into each piece.
  • Roll the pieces between your hands to make little snakes of dough.
  • Lay the dough out in a tic-tac-toe board shape.  One horizontal snake should be weaved over and then under the vertical pieces and the other should be weaved under and then over the vertical pieces.
  • On each side of the tic-tac-toe board, you’ll now have one piece of dough that is an under piece and one that is an over piece.  Grab the piece that is under and cross it on top of the over piece.
  • Repeat the same process, only now you’ll cross the dough in the opposite direction.
  • Repeat one last time in the original direction.
  • End it all by doing one final cross of each piece in the second direction.  This time as you cross, press the dough into the center, sealing it closed.
  • Flip the circle upside-down onto parchment paper on a baking sheet or a silpat.

Challah Cupcakes

For challah cupcakes,  use the same braiding technique as shown above.  However, everything is so much smaller so it’s a little harder to work with.  You’ll only be able to get two cross-overs done before you run out of dough to work with.

The braiding effect wasn’t as pronounced on the cupcakes as it was on the large round challah.  However (especially if kids are involved), braiding is half of the fun!  If you want to skip it, though, the challah cupcakes will still be beautiful and tasty!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all who celebrate!  May it be a sweet one filled with joy, love, fabulous friends, and great health!


Here’s one image that shows it all (for all of you Pinners):

Love it? Share it!

14 comments on “Round Challah for Rosh Hashana”

  1. Joy says:

    The bread looks wonderful.

  2. Amanda says:

    i wish you had a picture of the baked challah from the top, so we could see how that turned out

  3. Melissa says:

    I absolutely love this! I am going to make it with my daughter before we go to my grandparent’s house tonight! Thank you for posting it!

  4. rochellerochelle says:

    shana tova! love the round challah cupcakes!!!

  5. Very cute, only you would think of Challah cupcakes. I’m sure they are devine!

  6. Natalie says:

    Stef it was wonderful meeting you last night! Hoping our paths cross more often! :)

  7. Anna says:

    I’ll stick with the cupcake procedure…I will also put in some of the preserved fruits 9instead of raisins) I have in my cupboard. I hope it wont ruin the perfect taste.

  8. Baker Man says:

    What a great adaption!

  9. Ruth Sparrow says:

    Stef, So glad I could help you find the perfect honey dipper at Kitchen Conservatory for this photo!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been making challah cupcakes for over a year now! As an orthodox Jew, we eat challah on Friday night and Saturday for our sabbath meals, and my son insists on having his own challah. Rather than seeing a whole mini challah go to waste, I started making him mini cupcake challahs and he loves them! So do our guests….

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  12. silvia says:

    I’ve always heard about Challah but I’ve never realized it!!! Fantastic photos and technique!!!

  13. Natalie says:

    Just made it for Rosh Hashanah! Yumm!

  14. Jess says:

    Making this as we speak for Rosh Hashanah! My first challah attempt ever!

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