Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

challah (or challa or chollah) pronounced ‘hallah’, a Jewish sabbath bread which is made with eggs and white flour, and sometimes coloured light gold with saffron.

The bread is braided or twisted and glazed with beaten egg and sprinkled with sesame or poppy seeds. Two loaves are served at each of the three sabbath meals, as a remembrance of the double portion of manna which fell for the Israelites in the wilderness to provide food both for the sixth day and for the succeeding sabbath day.
For certain festivals, e.g. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the challah may be rounded rather than braided. It might then be decorated with a dove wing or ladder made from surplus dough.