How to do a four strand challah braid
My friend Elisheva asked me how to do a four strand braid when baking challah. She saw the visual superiority of the four strand braid but was unsure about how to create it.
There is more than one way to skin a cat, several ways I can think of off hand to do a four strand braid but this is an easy way to do it. I have used four strips of fabric as my visual aid. When we braid hair or do a standard three strand braid you work your hands in both directions. With this four strand braid you weave only from left to right. (Yes, if you are a lefty you can braid going the other way)
Braiding hair always begins at the top. I was taught though that it is simpler to begin braiding a challah in the middle.
1- Here are my four strand waiting to be braided.Another tip for cute challot, don’t make long strands of dough. Stumpy strands end up looking better. The act of braiding stretches the dough creating attractive striations in the challah. Long braids tend to look over worked and lumpy and unattractive.
I always start with the left most strand and weave it under and over all of the strands to the right.
2- The first ( blue oxford cloth) strand is woven
3- The yellow linen is now the left most strand so I weave that over and under until I get to the right most strand ( the blue oxford cloth)
4- now strand #3 the slate blue linen is up next for weaving
5 Then I wove the blue print
6- I have lots of ugly ends sticking out. So I simply fold then underneath the challah.
All ugliness is hidden away. It is now time to
7- Turn the challah so the braided part is up top and then I can easily braid the rest of the challah
8- The blue print is the strand furthest on the left so I start weaving with that one.
After weaving over and under it is now the right most strand,
9- How the slate blue linen is ready to weave over and under. You can see that movement is now complete.
Next up to braid is the yellow linen.
10 Now you see the yellow linen strand woven in.
11- Tuck the ugly ends under the challah
Your challah is complete