One viral baking trend is here to stay: fancy challah braiding
Meet Idan Chabasov, known as the “Challah Prince,” who not only teaches us gorgeous ways to braid our loaves, but also brings mindfulness to our baking.
Idan’s Instagram feed is now legendary, with photos and videos of his spectacular challah artistry. Like many of us, Idan had been baking challah for years for family and friends. One night, after meditating, he created the “Challah Prince” Instagram on a whim as an artistic outlet. It became an ever-growing community of art, creativity, positivity, and deliciousness. Idan strives to uplift people during difficult times. He is hoping to start traveling soon and teach in person, spreading his skills and joy.
Note that he has only been doing this since January 2020. He clearly is some kind of prophet because two months later we were all in lockdown, baking our little hearts out.
He was born and raised in Tel Aviv and now he’s back in Israel after 7 years in Berlin, Germany. His artistic background is in professional dancing, video production, animation, art, and PR in the lifestyle-industry.
I fully appreciate how his videos show challah braiding techniques SLOWLY, so people can actually master them without watching the video a hundred times.
Here are the Challah Prince’s top challah baking tips:
Be in a baking mood
Idan says that if you are relaxed, happy, curious, and creative, then you will have a better challah. “Everything is energyand the dough can feel it.
Learn your flour
Each flour brand is different and probably needs different amounts of liquids/water. For his recipe, he advises to add the water gradually and know when to stop. (My challah recipe is a bit different – you use the same amount of liquid every time, but vary the amount of flour.) Our approaches are essentially the same – you only use as much liquid/flour as you need to achieve the perfect dough, that is “not too dry, not too sticky.” He says, “This is the art you need to learn before the art of braiding.” I teach that you should be able to glide your hand across the dough without it getting stuck.
Choose the right braid
To make the process even more fun and perfect your technique, choose a shape/braid that you really like and stick to it for the next month. I wanted to master the 6-braid (thanks to Rochie Pinson‘s book) so that was all I did for 3 months straight and now it is second nature to me.
Love your challah
Idan shared that he often hears bakers complain about how their challahs turn out. He says that each loaf will get you closer to the one you are after; just keep practicing. Great advice for challah. Magical advise for life.
How to fix splitting strands in the oven
We have all been there. Idan explained that this can be caused by not enough time for the second rise or maybe your oven isn’t hot enough which causes the yeast to develop and press up. Next time you bake challah, he advises, give your dough more time to rest and use an oven thermometer to make sure you are baking your loaf at the correct temperature. I always say that every oven is different and some run hotter than others – know your oven!!
In addition I learned some tips from watching his really fun videos:
*Fully dip the challah strands in water if you want to get poppy or sesame seeds to stick to them.
*Even strands really do matter – take the time to get them right
Finally, Idan added a lovely bonus tip:
Put on music while you bake your challah because it will improve your loaf.