The Challah Prince, Idan Chabasov, Joined American Jewish University For a Live Challah Braiding Instruction
Idan Chabasov, The Challah Prince, with one of his challah masterpieces. Courtesy: Miller Ink
By Allison Teegardin
On October 13, 2022, Idan Chabasov, Instagram star known as The Challah Prince, virtually guided participants through an instructional challah-braiding course while he and Michelle Starkman, Vice President of Communications at American Jewish University (AJU), discussed his Jewish journey. Chabasov shared that challah making is more than a culinary adventure, it is therapeutic.
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Chabasov has always been an artist. Chabasov lives in Israel after spending seven years in Berlin, Germany. With a background in profes-sional dancing, video production, anima-tion, art and public relations in the lifestyle industry, he is now teaching others how to “dance with their hands” by making challah.
Chansaov shares his recipe and tips for making beautiful vegan (except for the egg wash) challah. He says that he prefers to use all purpose flour instead of bread flour as it makes shaping easier. Additionally, without egg in the dough, he finds it is less “cakey” and stays fresh for longer, even days after baking.
The virtual event was organized by American Jewish University and held on the university’s digital platform, Maven.
AJU is a thriving center of Jewish resources and talent that serves the Jewish community of the twenty-first century. A portal for Jewish belonging, AJU equips students, faculty, campers, and learners of all ages with the tools to create the ideas, build the structures, and develop the programs to advance Jewish wisdom and elevate Jewish living. AJU advances and elevates the Jewish journey of individuals, organizations, and our community through excellence in scholarship, teaching, engaged conversation, and outreach. For more infor-mation, visit aju.edu.
Idan’s Challah Recipe
1kg (7 Cups) White wheat flour
14g (1 1/2 tbsp) Active dry yeast
100g (1/2 cup) Sugar
20g (1 tbsp) Salt
100g (1/2 cup) Sunflower or olive oil
450g (2 cups) Water
2 egg yolks for egg wash
Making the Dough
Pour all the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl. Add half of the amount of the water and the oil and start kneading, using a dough hook at a slow speed for about two minutes, until the water is completely absorbed. For kneading by hand, one hand stirs the mixture, while the other holds the bowl. “At this point, I love to give the dough my full attention. Being present is part of the process.” Pour the rest of the water, and only when the ingredients have been fully incorporated, continue kneading on a medium speed for 10-13 minutes until you get a flexible, smooth and soft dough. Not sticky and not too dry.
In a slightly greased bowl, place the dough rolled into a nice smooth ball. Rub some oil on top of the ball before covering it with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let it rise at room temperature until it doubles in size. A humid environment for your dough will support the fermentation/rising stage and will prevent the dough from drying out. A cold room temperature will slow down the activity of the yeast and might prolong the stage.
Dividing the Dough
Divide the dough into defined weighted smooth balls.The number and weight of each ball depend on the type and size of challah being made. Each ball represents a strand that will be used to braid. Cover the balls with plastic wrap or a towel for an additional 15-25 min.
Rolling and Braiding
Release the air from each ball by gently pressing and folding it with your hands and rolling it into a strand. If the dough does not roll or stretch properly, do not force it. Most likely, it will tear the dough and ruin the gluten structure. Give it another 3-4 minutes of rest while covered.
Braid into a challah using Challah Prince’s videos and instructions (which can be found on Instagram @challahprince).
Second Rise and Bake
Place challah on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover it with a clean towel and leave to rise for about 40 minutes, until the challah almost doubles in size. Depending on the oven, the duration of preheating may vary. Have the oven ready by the time the challah is ready to go in. Wash the challah with the egg yolk and top it with sesame seeds, if desired. Only using the yolk will give the challah loaf a shine and darker golden color. Place the challah in a preheated oven at 360F without convection. Bake for around 25-30 minutes until the challah becomes golden brown all around the surface. The baking temperature and time can be different considering different ovens and the size of the final product.
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