My delicious ‘square’ Challah


Well it’s actually not square – it’s rectangular. I have in my time made a conventional challah plaited and tapering to both ends, as well as a round challah, but now there are only the two of us we prefer our bread to be loaf shaped.

It started when we first got married in 1956. I was a medical student, working a couple of evenings a week as a school dentist, and Josh was working as an assistant in a dental practice in North London. After a quick breakfast, we would each hurry off, not meeting until the evening. It wasn’t until dinner that we had time to sit down together. I had lunch with my fellow medical students in the medical school refectory while Josh would make do with a couple of sandwiches. Even when I had qualified as a doctor, had 4 children, and with Josh had set up an educational toy shop and become a consultant pathologist, dinner time was our time together. To begin with, I had lunch in the consultants’ dining room but the food was so good and the deserts so delicious that I started to put on too much weight. Finally, I gave up lunch altogether.

Even when we both retired, dinner was our main meal and Josh went on having a sandwich for lunch. A rectangular loaf is most convenient for that, and surely a plaited loaf is still a Challah – even if the shape is unconventional. You just have to say or think the word ‘Challah’ and you can imagine the delicious smell.

BTW – I love Poppy Seed cake but I don’t like poppy seeds on Challah or on beigels!!

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

Woman in a White Coat


Bake 220°C 20 mins

500gm strong white flour

1½ teasp sugar

1 teasp salt

100gm marg

2 lightly beaten eggs made up to 300ml with warm milk

1½ teasp dried yeast or fresh yeast

Milk or egg white/ H2O 1:1 to glaze

I mix this dough in my bread maker using the Basic Dough program. If you mix by hand it probably needs proving here for 40 minutes before rolling out and plaiting

Roll into 3 long sausages about 25cm – helps to moisten the hands from time to time

Plait and place into greased loaf tin or place on baking tray

Prove 40 mins

Glaze with milk or egg white:H2O 1:1

Bake 20 mins 220°C

Glaze once more while baking

10 thoughts on “IS A ‘SQUARE’ CHALLAH OK?”

    1. Yes and you could break bits off after the Kiddush. I suspect on Friday nights you would break bread rather than cut it with a knife.

  1. Looks beautiful! The last time I made it, I misread the dial on the cooker and burnt it! I’ll try again over the weekend.

      1. Thank you for that. It might be useful to add that onto the recipe as it would obviously make quite a lot of difference to someone making it by hand, and not doing a first prove, I assume of about 40minutes also?
        I look forward to giving this recipe a try.

        1. You’re right. I mainly type out my recipes for myself, my daughter and my English granddaughter and grandson all of whom have bread makers so the first proving is part of the program.
          I’ve added it to the recipe. Sorry.

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