Recipe for round sweet challah on Rosh Hashanah [archive]

The round loaf with ‘no beginning and no end’ symbolizes continuity of life. This challah is baked for Rosh HaShanah, the first and most important New Moon feast at the beginning of the Jewish calendar. We wish each other Shana Tovah, means “A good year”. The sweetness symbolizes the goodness that we receive from our Heavenly Father. The honey stands for His healing through Yeshua HaMashiach, who is able to change our bitterness in tenderness.By baking a sweet round challah every year since 1999, I developed my own recipe. The structure looks like brioche dough. Besides of oven, baking sheet and mixer with dough hooks, I use a preserving pot (glass) with about 4 inches diameter, the outside brushed with sunflower oil and filled with lukewarm water, also a large mixing bowl and another larger bowl for rising are essential.

1000 grams (=  8 cups) sifted white organic flour, plus extra
200 cl (= 2 dl = 1 cup) of lukewarm water
50 grams (= 1⅔ ounce) fresh yeast, or 3 tbsp dried yeast
4 egg yolks
8 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil (delicato)
5 tbsp honey
4 tbsp sugar
2 sachets vanilla sugar (8 gr. each),  or  2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp salt
2 eggs well beaten for glazing, or 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water beaten for a darker result
Some extra luke warm water if necessary

Mix the dried yeast with the flour or soak the fresh yeast with the lukewarm water plus a tsp of sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until it begins to bubble and foam. Make a little hole in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, stir with a little flour. Leave again for 10 minutes.
Gradually add all the ingredients. First knead with dough hooks and then by hands for 20 minutes on a lightly floured surface, to get a good texture.
Pour in some sunflower oil in the largest bowl and turn around the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2 hours or longer on a warm place.
Get the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead short and gently. Divide into 4 equal balls. Let them rest for 10 minutes. Roll the balls in 4 equal strands from about 80 cm / 32 inches long.  Weave these strands; start with the most right one weaving through the other
three and repeat this till a long braid is formed.
Cover the baking tray with baking paper. Place the yar /pot, filled with warm water, in the center. Drape the braid around the yar (brushed with oil) and knead the ends together to complete the ring. Cover again with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 ͦ F, 190 ͦ C.

Take it out of the yar!!!! Glaze the challah with the beaten eggs or egg yolks.Place the baking sheet with challah on the 2nd row of the oven and bake during 35-45 minutes till golden brown or a rich deep brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the side.
If the challah in the oven is getting  too brown too quick, then cover it with aluminum foil and finish baking. Take the challah out and let it cool down on a wire rack.
The challah itself is parve, so it can be served at a meat as well as at a dairy meal. Slices of this challah can be served at teatime with some butter or jelly. Delicious!!

Shanah tovah! I wish you a sweet and round new year,
Jacoba Spijker-Kort