Every year, the day after Passover, my friend Marylin would collect house keys from friends and family, wrap them in foil, and stick them into the challah that she was kneading for the coming Shabbat. As an extra bonus, she would also collect $20. from each key-owner and donate the proceeds to Sephardic Bikur Holim.
Her explanation was that it was her family custom each year to bake their house-key inside the challah for financial success and prosperity. Whenever I had the opportunity to give her my key for that day, I figured “what the heck, it can’t hurt”, and it was always a memorable experience running over to her kitchen each year to try to find my aluminum covered baked house key under the baked challahs.
Tradition holds, that our ancestors in Syria and Turkey put wheat kernels in all four corners of the house on Motzei Pesach as a sign of prosperity for the coming year. There are mishnayot that say that there is a connection between Pesach and parnasa (financial income). It must also be an Askenazi custom because its called “Shlissel Challah”, which means “key challah” in Yiddish. Many people actually bake their challah in the shape of a key. If you would like to read more about this interesting tradition, then please click on over to this site.
This Friday, April 30, 2012 is the day that challah should be baked with a house key tucked in for good luck and prosperity. I wish all of my Jewish Hostesses tons of good luck with this custom! Please call me when you win LOTTO!!!!!
Shabbat Shalom! Marlene
p.s. don’t forget to separate an olive sized piece of challah dough in remembrance of the portion given to G-d in ancient times. Please CLICK HERE to find out how.
Recipe for delicious Challah from a close relative who wishes to remain anonymous:
- 1 5 pound bag of flour
- 4 tablespoons of salt
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 3/4 cups of safflower oil
- 4 cups of water- (2 cups boiling, mixed with 2 cups of ice cold water)
- 6 packets of Rapid Rise Yeast plus 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Directions for Making Delicious Challah:
- Mix Rapid Rise yeast packets with the 4 cups of water (2 cups boiling, mixed with 2 cups of ice cold water) with 1 tablespoon of sugar in a glass bowl. The yeast mixture should bubble.
- Note*-the water should be mixed to form a lukewarm temperature BEFORE adding the yeast.
- Mix dry ingredients in a Bosch or large mixer.
- Add wet ingredients plus bubbled yeast mixture.
- Mix on a medium speed for at least 15 minutes.
- Put dough into a large oiled bowl and let rise in a warm area for 1 and 1/2 hours.For best results shut off air conditioning in the room that your dough is rising . Punch down.
- Separate into 8-10 balls of dough.
- Separate each ball into 3 smaller balls and roll all three balls into long pieces and braid evenly.
- Brush with a beaten egg and top with sesame seeds, zaatar spice, or everything spice from the bagel store. Sprinkle with a little salt.
- Let rise another 1 1/2 hours.
- Bake at 350 degress for 22-30 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned and challah looks baked.
- Check out these recipes for Whole Wheat Challah, Gauranteed Hamotzei Challah and Honey Eucalyptus Challah.