How to Braid Challah
Here's how to braid the sesame seed-topped Challah (egg bread) featured in our December 2010 issue (134).
1. Arrange the three ropes of dough side by side, perpendicular to you, and pinch the ends farthest from you together.
2. Slide the left-hand rope and middle rope away from the right-hand rope at a 45-degree angle.
3. Pick up the left-most rope and cross it over the middle rope, laying it down next to the right-hand rope.
4. Pick up the right-hand rope, cross it over what is now the middle rope, and lay it down next to the inside of what is now the left-hand rope.
5. Repeat with the new outside left-hand rope, taking the outside rope of each new parallel pair and crossing it over the new middle rope to create a braid.
6. Continue braiding in this fashion, making sure to keep even tension in the dough throughout the process to avoid creating sections that are either too tight or too loose, as these may misshape the loaf.
7. Once you reach the end of the braid, pinch together the loose ends and fold them under the loaf; pinch and fold the other end in the same fashion.