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Heavenly Hallah

Reprinted with permission from the children’s book Rabbi Rocketpower in Who Hogged the Hallah? A Shabbat Shabang!, by Rabbi Susan Abramson (
Massachusetts: Oak Leaf Systems, 2008)

Try it.  It's easier than you think.  Children: Please do not attempt this at home unless there is an adult there to help you.

1 package of yeast (or 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups hot water
4-5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 egg
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 6 cups flour
1 egg for brushing on top

1 large bowl
1 small bowl
1 large spoon
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
1 large baking pan
1 towel
1 pastry brush

Dissolve yeast in water with 1 tablespoon of sugar in large bowl (water should be hot, but not boiling).  Mix egg, oil, remaining sugar, and salt in small bowl.  Pour mixture into large bowl after yeast foams (about 5 minutes).  Add flour a little at a time and stir to take out lumps.  After you add about 3 or 4 cups of flour, the mixture will become too thick to stir.  Wash your hands and knead the dough by pressing down on it with your palms, adding more flour until you can make the dough into a large ball which isn't sticky.

Keep the dough ball in the large bowl.  Put a towel under hot water (be careful not to burn your hands).  Wring it out.  Cover the bowl with the towel.  Allow dough to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour.  Remove towel and divide the dough into smaller balls (3 balls per hallah).  Ross each ball gently until it looks like a snake.  Brraid each group of 3 snakes on an ungreased baking pan.  After they are all braided, cover them loosely with a reheated moist towel and let them rise at room temperaturre for at least 1/2 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove towel and brush hallahs with beaten egg.  Bake for 20 minutes.  When you knock on the bottom, they should sound hollow.

Total preparation time: approximately 2 1/2 hours.
Makes 2 large hallahs.

Susan Abramson grew up in Newton and has been Rabbi of Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington since 1984.  She is also the author of the Rabbi Rocketpower series of children's books, which currently includes tales for Shabbat, Chanukah, and Passover, with more to come.  Rabbi Abramson invites your comments and questions about this or any of her recipes.  You can email her at

Heavenly Hallah


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