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Rainbow Challah

By: 
Jan Rood-Ojalvo
rainbow challah
Photos: Jan Rood-Ojalvo
Photos: Jan Rood-Ojalvo

This challah is a feast for the eyes, as well as the Sabbath meal. It makes a perfect gay pride celebration for those who are old enough to value the statement. And it is simply amazing fun for the young at heart at the table. 

Ingredients: 
6 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups plain lowfat yogurt (optional, but excellent)
2 to 3 cups water
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon milk
Wilton Set of 8 Icing Colors (or other food coloring)
Directions: 
  1. In electric mixer with dough hook (or by hand), mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Heat butter, yogurt, and water to about 110°F (warm but not hot), and add to dry ingredients.
  2. Mix until dough forms a ball. (Add more water or flour, as needed.) Knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place inverted bowl over dough and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough.
  4. Divide dough into 2 parts, one larger than the other for the bottom braids. Then divide each of these parts into 3 equal balls. 
  5. Use food coloring to make each ball a different color of the rainbow, either kneading in the color (wear plastic gloves) or running through the food processor (add a touch of extra flour).
  6. Divide each ball in half to make two colored challahs. Braid the 3 larger balls for the bottom layer of each challah, pinching the ends tightly. Braid the 3 smaller balls for the thinner braid to lay along the top. Pinch both top and bottom braids tightly together at each end. Repeat with second challah. 
  7. Place both challahs on greased baking sheet at least 4 inches apart. Brush with beaten egg. 
  8. Let challahs rise again for 1/2 hour, while oven preheats to 375°F degrees. 
  9. Place baking sheet in oven, turn back to front after 15 min. Bake until crusty and golden brown, tapping bottom to be sure if is well-browned, about 40 min total. Remove to wire rack. Enjoy!

Jan Rood-Ojalvo has longstanding ties to Congregation M'kor Shalom and the Katz JCC, both in Cherry Hill, NJ. Jan, who lives with her husband Steve in Haddonfield, NJ, loves baking, traveling, opera, and staying in touch with her six children – and two granddaughters.

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