Apr 13, 2018
Baking Shlissel Challah This Friday

A few thoughts on baking bread, wheat allergies and gut health as the Friday after Pesach is when we bake the "Key Challah."

By Shimona Tzukernik - the Kabbalah Coach

The bread Jews bake for the Shabbos following Pesach is known as "Shlissel Challah" - the Key Challah. Across the globe, braided loaves have a key pressed into the dough before baking. And at the meal, the loaf is cut in the hope of slicing down on it.

While the tradition calls forth creative designs and moves many who dont usually bake their own bread to do so, I suspect the reason that this week is designated as the Key Challah eludes most of us. In a year of Saturdays, why now?

Since the advent of quick activating yeast, wheat allergies have been on the rise. But quick-and-easy is not good for the gut. In fact, the code of Jewish law states that one should eat only wheat that is prepared by fermentation and baked in an oven. So much for boiled pasta and chik-chuk loaves. Our bellies and brains would be better off baking it as has been done for millennia with a fermented starter.

Which brings us to the Key Challah.

Leavened bread is forbidden on Passover. In fact, all leaven (including fermented starters) must be removed from the home for the holiday. What that meant until recent history is that for the loaves following the Passover holiday, a new starter had to be prepared. I suspect that herein lies the reason for this week being designated the one to mark the rich tradition of baking the ceremonial breads.

If you want some design inspiration or simply to feast your eyes, check out my friend Gitty Salomons Instagram page of Challah Art.
Interested in making your own Sourdough? Devori Nussbaum is a therapist and health-and-wellness practitioner. You may remember her from the Macrobiotic retreats we did together in France and England some years back.

Both Devori and I have been taught by Amanda Wright. Amanda is a remarkable shiatsu practitioner who travels the world helping others regain their innate health. Below are two of her delicious recipes.

Amandas Steamed Sourdough Bread

(Easier to digest than baked so makes us less irritable, foggy brained and sore in the neck!)
2 Tbsp miso
3 cups leftover rice or grains
2 cups whole spelt flour
cup other flour
Spring water
Corn oil
Raisins/seeds/onion/grated carrots or whatever your imagination conjures!

Add miso to rice, mix well and leave in warm place 2-3 days. Massage once a day to aid fermentation. Smelly and wet is fine. The night before you want to cook it, add the flour and water a little at a time and knead to a dense but flexible dough. Divide into 2 small loaves, spread with corn oil, cover with cheesecloth and a warm damp towel. Leave overnight. Leaving it in the cheesecloth, place the dough into a bamboo or stainless steel steamer above the pot of boiling water. Steam for 1 hour, checking every 15 minutes that there is still has water in the pot. Eat cool!

Sweet Batter Bread

2 cups spelt flour
1 cup millet flour
1 cup rice flour
tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
3 cups water

Combine all flours and salt. Rub in oil. Stir in water and mix till heavy. Let stand for 8 hours or overnight. Add a pureed mix of any of following: squash, sweet potatoes, raisins, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, anise, ginger, and orange or lemon peel. Bake 1 hour.

Before you go, on the topic of bread, you may be interested in my article on the bread, manna, money and meaning. Yes, the etymology of money finds its source in manna. You can check that out here.

To your health!

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
shlissel challah
the last decade or so i started making shlissel challah as my younger sisters fought up with the trend but the last few years i stopped . I grew up ffb and i donit recall my mother doing this growing up ( she does it now , im guessing it might be connected to her being an avid mishpacha , bina , ami reader ) and i certainly know my grandmothers never did this and not did my friends mothers or grandmothers do this too.
so please can someone give me the sorce of this mishagasim and tell me when this started .
We were brought up that the segulah for parnosa was daven ing learning and good deeds .
good shabbos .
(4/13/2018 11:31:14 AM)
Why do we still go through this every year?
Everyone knows that:
A. Shlissel Challah isn't a Chabad Minhag
B. We only do the Minhagim of Chabad
C. If you are looking for Segolos the Rebbe always says that Chitas and Tzedokah etc will do and why do you run for shlissel Challah? When was the last time you said Chitas - why are we looking in
D. The Rebbe's Mannah we all know .
It's printed in Igros.

So why do we keep on talking about this every year....??

The only answer is that we don't have the Rebbe coming out with new things, we don't have the Rebbe giving brachos and we go run to find whatever we can find...
It's pushet ah rachmanaos.

Gut Shabbos!
(4/13/2018 12:22:10 PM)
You're right # 1
I believe it's not a Lubavitcher minhag
(4/13/2018 12:22:42 PM)
Avoda Zorah
Interesting to note that the author doesn't mention that the custom comes from AVODAH ZORAH...
(4/13/2018 12:28:47 PM)
thahnks for the recipes!
Feel so much better haven mostly givien up wheat for about 9 months, but have been sad to miss out on the mitzvah of hamotzi. Excited to try!
(4/13/2018 12:35:17 PM)
To #4
Which custom is from avodah zara?
(4/13/2018 1:23:15 PM)
The minhag to bake Schlissel Challah is mentioned in Seforim, like Taamei Haminhagim UMekorei Hadininm, and Nitei Gavriel.

P.S. People claim that Kapporos stems from Avodah Zarah as well.
(4/13/2018 2:47:34 PM)
Sefer Taamei Haminhogim page 249-50
All prior commentaries please look at above sefer, accepted by all Yidden for the source of the minhag.
(4/13/2018 2:56:03 PM)
And what about...
baking challah as segulah in groups of 40
saying Perek Shira for 40 days
etc. etc.
Why are Lubavitchers into segulohs that are not Lubavitch minhagim?
(4/13/2018 3:11:42 PM)
We only do the Minhagim of Chabad #2
Good for u from Nevel.
You probably also make shiiduchim only with gezhe.

(4/13/2018 3:59:08 PM)
People who mock minhagim
Rema 690:17 says it is asur to mock or abolish minhagim...people did that to the minhag of making noise over Haman's name on Purim....they were the early reformers
(4/13/2018 4:03:56 PM)
Saying v'shamru on shabbos
We don't say it...but it is still in our siddur
(4/13/2018 4:38:15 PM)
The Apta Rav started this minhag
according to what I read another website.
(4/13/2018 5:03:49 PM)
It's not our minhag
(4/13/2018 6:09:18 PM)
to #13
so when i become an Apraer chosid ill do it !
(4/14/2018 3:05:32 PM)
9:00 AM
Rebbe Yoilish of Satmar said that all the segulos for parnasa are effective only until 9:00 AM. Then, you have to go to work.
(4/14/2018 8:51:47 PM)
#1 Not a mishugaas
You are right that this is not our minhog, but it is a minhog of many other yidden, with genuine sources that are *just as valid* as our own, so you have no right to call it a mishugaas.

Our minhogim are not better than those of other people, they're just ours. This urge to put down other people's minhogim seems to come from a feeling that if it's valid then we should adopt it, so since we don't want to do that we must denigrate it. This is a very wrong view. Other people's minhogim are true and valid and effective, but that doesn't mean we have to take them on. As the Alter Rebbe said about Veshomru, when Jews say it on Friday night it does cause a huge fair in Heaven, but "one needn't attend every fair".
(4/14/2018 8:59:18 PM)
#4 Vicious wicked nonsense
The claim that this has something to do with avoda zara is a wicked lie, made up by vicious people who hate chassidus and all chassidim with an unholy passion fueled directly by the Leumas Zeh. They cannot bear the thought of people following any derech that is not theirs, so they make up stories that anything they don't do is avoda zara and assur.

They have to learn that there is great diversity within yiddishkeit, we are not a monolith and never were, even in the Beis Hamidkosh times each shevet had its own minhogim and derech, and none had the right to put down the others. I'm not telling you to make a shlissel challah -- I don't make one either -- but I am telling you you must respect those who do.
(4/14/2018 9:04:30 PM)
?? Not Clear In The Recipet

Amandas Steamed Sourdough Bread:
3 cups leftover rice or grains
-?? Precooked rice?
-?? Whole rice or white?
-??What kind of grain (cooked or not)
(4/14/2018 10:44:37 PM)
To 17
To a chossid of the Rebbe, only the Rebbe's minhogim matter. It's not about being stuck up or gezhe. It's called loyalty and dedication. It means that what's not mine, is not mine and I want nothing to do with it, even if it has a legitimate and holy source.

Other people's wives are also very nice, but they don't belong in your house. Other people's minhogim can be very special, but they don't belong to us. Take pride in being a chossid of the Rebbe. You don't have to be intolerant, just don't go where you don't belong.
(4/14/2018 10:45:55 PM)
no 16
i like that one

just be aware that the shlissel in the challa can cause issues in boirer, so practically better shape the challa in a shlissel to avoid that
(4/15/2018 12:54:58 AM)
Another example
Please name another minhag like this that is not ours and one of ours that other Yiddin do not do?
(4/15/2018 8:32:35 AM)
Shlissel Challah
We all know the Rebbe encouraged people to keep their family minhagim even though they were not minhage Chabad. For example, those who were told to wear a striemel, or for the women to shave their hair. Some families in Chabad had the minhag from their parents and grandparents to do shlissel challah. For those who decided on their own to start this minhag of shlissel challah, my answer to the criticism is, since when is it minhag chabad to make a fire on Lag B'omer, or for the women to bite off the pittum of the esrog on Hoshana Raba? Furthermore where is it written in Chabad to reach out for Maftir Yona, or to reach out to be a Sandik for the segulah for wealth?
(4/15/2018 11:24:52 AM)

Every one follows his own minhagim
We all come from the same forefathers and mothers
So we need to be united!
These weeks of sfira we need to add in ahavas Isroel!!that means to respect others
(4/15/2018 2:14:25 PM)
getting into the recipe themselves- a bakery of low carb challah told me you had to eat twice as much of it ti Bentch, being that there were half non wheat flours (not hamotzi) mixed with wheat flours. A look at the recipes shows almost half non hamotzi ingredients....
(4/15/2018 10:31:26 PM)
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