It’s traditional to use round challahs for Rosh Hashanah, to represent the cycle of life. It’s also customary to eat sweet foods at this time, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year ahead, hence the raisins and sweet crumb topping.
Make the dough according to the directions below. Use a large bowl, because this yields six loaves, and the dough needs enough space to double in size. When the dough has risen, punch it down and let it rest for 10 minutes before doing the mitzvah of separating challah. Say the blessing, separate a small piece of dough, and set it aside to burn after the challah has finished baking.
Now divide the dough into six relatively equal pieces. Each of the six pieces will make one challah. Roll each piece into one long “snake.” Press the raisins along the dough, then roll it up from one end, until you have a circle. Tuck the end underneath. Put the challahs on greased baking trays, brush with egg and sprinkle with the crumb topping. Let them rise another 40 minutes and then bake at 375° F until golden brown, approximately 45 minutes.
Traditionally, at Shabbat and holiday meals, we dip the challah into salt. But from Rosh Hashanah until the end of Sukkot, we dip it in honey instead. Enjoy!
4 tbsp. dry yeast
5 cups very warm water
5 large eggs
1¼ cup honey
1 cup oil (canola or light olive oil)
2 tbsp. salt
Approximately 18 cups flour
1 cup raisins
For the egg wash:
For the crumb topping:
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
5 tbsp. oil
In a very large bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water and let sit about 15-20 minutes until slightly frothy.
Add the rest of the ingredients and half the flour. Mix until a loose batter forms. Add the rest of the flour a couple of cups at a time, until the dough is soft but not sticky. Knead.
Cover the dough with a wet towel or plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours. Dough should double in size.
Punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 6 equal pieces.
Roll according to directions above. Place loaves on lightly greased cookie sheets and let rise for another 40 minutes.
Make the sweet crumb topping by putting the flour and sugar into a bowl. Slowly add the vanilla and oil, mixing with a spoon, or your fingertips until it reaches crumb consistency.
Egg wash the loaves and sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake at 375° F for approximately 45 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown and firm on the bottom.