January 23, 2018

Shlissel Challah: A Key In Your Challah, Money In Your Pocket

Key Challah from http://savvima.com/2010/04/07/shlissel-challah-a-key-to-prosperity/

There is a cute Jewish custom to bake a Key shaped or “Shlissel” (in Yiddish) Challah on the first Shabbos after Pesach. This happens to be this coming Shabbos, beginning Friday night April 20, 2012.  Baking this key or ‘shlissel challah’ is supposed to be a good segulah (omen) for livlihood, money, prosperity, ‘parnassah’.  Now who doesn’t need that!

Some people actually bake the challah in the shape of a key.  Others, like me, put an actual key inside the Challah dough before baking it while others place the seeds on top of the Challah in the shape of a key.  I take a key, wrap it in aluminum foil and place it into the challah as I braid it.  Pretty simple.  My kids happen to love this custom.  They can’t wait for my husband to cut into the challah and find the key!  

One reason we bake a Shlissel Challah right after Pesach is to ask Hashem (G-d) to unlock the gates of sustenance for us so that our efforts provide a comfortable livelihood for our families just like He did for our ancestors during the time of Passover, when the manna fell from heaven to feed us as we wondered through the desert.

I love baking challah on a weekly basis for many reasons which I’ve discussed in this post on baking challah here.

For your inspiration, I’m reposting below my heavenly Challah recipe which calls for nothing more than your two hands and a big bowl – no expensive Bosch or Kitchen Aid electric mixer required.

The Kosher Shop-a-holic Challah Recipe (careful, it is addictive!)


5lb bag of flour (sifted)

1  1/4 cups sugar

4 generous TBSP of dry yeast

3/4 cup of oil

4 cups of warm water

6 eggs (4 for dough and 2 for topping)

2 tbsp salt


Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour the flour into a very large bowl and make a well in the center.  Place dry yeast into the center well.  Add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 cup of warm water and a handful of the flour into the center well.  Let it bubble up for 5 minutes.  The dry yeast can be mixed into the flour mixture itself without hurting the dough in any way but I like to put it in the center and watch it bubble up.

Add 2 tbsps of salt around the edges of flour

Add 1 cup of sugar to the flour

Add 3/4 cup of oil (vegetable or canola) to the middle

Add 4 beaten eggs to the middle

Add 3 cups warm water to the middle

With your two clean hands begin to mix all the ingredients together.  It will start out very wet and then get thicker and dryer as you begin to knead.  I usually knead for 5 – 10 minutes.  Keep kneading until its desired consistency.  It is ready when no more of the flour mixture sticks to your fingers or to the sides of the bowl.  If it is still sticky add more flour a few tablespoons at a time until desired consistency.  Once it reaches desired consistency I give it a few good punches, spray some oil on top and cover it to rise for 30 minutes.

After the 1st 30 minutes of rising, punch it down again, spray it with oil and let it rise for another 30 mins.

After the second 30 minutes of rising, punch it down again, spray with oil and let it rise for another 30 minutes.

After it has been rising for 1 1/2 hours with 2 punch downs in between, you are ready to ‘take’ the Challah, make your Bracha and shape your challahs.

I usually make 5 –6 large 3 braided challahs because its simple and pretty.  To make 3 braided shapes, cut your dough into 12 or 18 even strips that resemble  thick ropes and braid three strips together at a time.  Place into pans that are well oiled or lined with parchment paper.

I also make small individual rolls for my kids to munch on.  The rolls are easy to make you just take one of the ropes and knot them and place in small round pans.

After shaping the dough, mix together 2 egg yolks and 1 egg white and gently brush the mixture on top of the dough to give it a nice dark shine.  You can sprinkle sesame and or poppy seeds for decoration at this point.

Let the shaped dough rise, covered, for another 30 minutes.  That’s a total now of 2 hours rising time from the beginning.

After the shaped dough rises for 1/2 hour place in the oven at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes.  My challahs are thick and rise high so I find that they need 40 minutes while the rolls need 25 minutes.  When ready let them cool on a cooling rack.  I make my challahs on Thursday night and freeze them in air tight large ziploc bags as soon as they cool off.  I warm them up before serving them on Friday night and they are out of this world delicious.

PS – don’t forget to make my awesome tomato dip to go with the challah!