The Secret of Challah – How to Separate Challah

Step by step: How to Separate Challah

Cinnamon Raisin Challah

The Secret of ChallahDownload the .PDF version: Click to download PDF file How to Separate Challah

Elegant Pomegranate Challah Rolls For Rosh Hashanah with Full Instructions לחמניות רימון לראש השנה

Braiding Instructions

Four-Strand Challah | Festive Knot Rolls | Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah” | Figure-Eight Rolls | Star-of-David Challah | Grape-Shaped Challah

Four-Strand Challah


1.    Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Knead each part into a smooth ball and  roll each ball into a ropelike strand. Lay the strands side by side and pinch together at the top.

2.     Grasp the leftmost strand and pass it to the right, under the two strands adjacent to it, and then back toward the left, over one strand (the one closest to it now).

3.     Grasp the rightmost strand and pass it to the left, under the two strands adjacent to it (which have already been braided), and then back to the right, over one strand.

4.     Alternately repeat steps 2 and 3.

5.     When done braiding, pinch the ends of the strands together.


Festive Knot Rolls

1.   Form a ball of dough and roll it into a long, ropelike strand, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 1 inch (about 2 cm) in diameter.

2.   Form a loop with one long end and one short end, as shown.

3.   Thread the long end through the loop.

4.   Pinch the two ends together on the bottom of the roll.


Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah


1. Shape the dough into six strands of equal length.

2. Lay three strands horizontally on a floured surface, then weave the other three strands into them vertically. Lift the bottom strands as needed to weave the top strands in. The ends of the strands will stick out.

3. Now braid the ends together on all four sides.

4. Gently tuck the braided edges underneath the middle section. Voila! A round challah!


Braid a Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah

Braid a Round Challah for Rosh Hashanah

Figure-Eight Rolls

1.   Form a ball of dough and roll it into a long, ropelike strand, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 1 inch (about 2 cm) in diameter.

2.   Arrange the strand as shown.

3.   Grasp the short end in your left hand, and with your right hand pass the long end under the short end. Thread the long end through the loop, from the top of the roll to the bottom.

Figure-Eight Rolls instructions

Figure-Eight Rolls instructions

Star-of-David Challah

Star of David Challah instructions

Star of David Challah instructions

Grape-Shaped Challah

Grape Shaped Challah instructions

Grape Shaped Challah instructions


When is Challah Separated?
In order to determine whether our dough requires separating challah, and whether we should separate challah with a blessing or without a blessing, we must consider the type and the amount of flour used and the liquid contents of the dough. Type of FlourThe obligation to separate challah applies to dough made with flour produced from one of, or a combination of, the following five grains: wheat, barley, rye, oat and spelt.

Amount of Flour

The amount of flour used determines whether challah is separated with a blessing or without a blessing, or is not separated at all.These are the amounts of flour required for separating challah (according to the opinion of Rabbi Chaim Naeh; see other opinions)

  • Separate challah with a blessing:

When using at least 1,666.6 grams (3 lbs. 10.8 oz.) of flour.

  • Separate challah without a blessing:

When using flour weighing between 1,230 and 1,666.6 grams
(between 2 lbs. 11.4 oz. and 3 lbs. 10.8 oz.).

  • Do not separate challah:

When using less than 1,230 grams (2 lbs. 11.4 oz.) of flour.
All flour used when preparing the dough, such as flour used when rolling the dough, should be included in the calculations.

When Measuring Flour in Cups

It is preferable to measure the amount of flour in units of weight (grams, pounds, ounces) rather than in cups, because different types of flour have differences in moisture content, and the manner in which the flour is measured affects the measuring results. When flour is measured in cups, it is best to avoid the “gray areas” in the diagram below.

The Amount of Flour Required for Separating Challah – in Cups*


The Amount of Flour Required for Separating Challah – in Cups

* The figures were calculated with a standard 8 oz. (230 cc) measuring cup containing sifted white flour. The figures were calculated based on the opinion of Rabbi Chaim Naeh.

Liquid Contents

In order that challah be separated from the dough, the majority of the dough’s liquid content must be one of the following: water, wine, milk, bee honey, or olive oil.
There is a difference of halachic opinions as to whether the obligation to separate challah applies to dough whose liquid ingredients are only fruit juice or eggs. It is therefore preferable to add a bit of water, wine, milk, bee honey, or olive oil to the dough and separate challah without a blessing.

Different Types of Dough

The mitzvah of separating challah applies not only to challah or bread dough, but also to any dough that meets the requirements of flour and liquids as detailed above, such as the dough of cakes, cookies, and pizza.
If one prepares a dough or batter with the intention of cooking or frying it (such as doughnuts or blintzes), challah should be separated without a blessing. However, if one’s intention is to bake even a small part of it, challah should be separated with a blessing.

Combining Doughs

When preparing more than one dough, and each dough does not have the required amount of flour needed to separate challah, the doughs may be combined, and challah can be separated.
If one is concerned that the different doughs should not get mixed together (such as bread dough and cake batter), they should not be joined.
To combine the doughs, lay them next to one another so that they touch, and separate challah with a blessing. If it is difficult to combine the doughs, one may leave them in their bowls and cover them with a cloth or some other covering so that they appear to be one mass of dough.

Separating Challah After Baking

Challah is usually separated from dough before it has been divided or shaped. In some cases, however, challah needs to be separated from the finished product, after the baking is done.

  • When separating challah from cake batter, challah may be separated after the cake has been baked, since it is difficult to separate a portion of unbaked cake batter.
  • If you have forgotten to separate challah from any type of dough before it was baked, you can separate challah after baking.

If you are separating challah from baked goods, cover them all with a cloth or place into one container. Then take a piece from one of the baked goods and say the blessing if required.
Remember not to partake of the baked goods until challah has been separated.

Amount of Flour – Different Halachic Opinions

Amount of Flour - Different Halachic Opinions

Amount of Flour – Different Halachic Opinions

Prayers for Hafrashat Challah
The moment of separating challah is an especially propitious moment for praying for family and loved ones. You may, of course, offer a personal prayer in your own words, or you can say one of the following.

ֿPrayers to be recited before separating challah:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁתְּבָרֵךְ עִסָּתֵנוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁשָּׁלַחְתָּ בְּרָכָה בְּעִסּוֹת אִמּוֹתֵינוּ שָׂרָה, רִבְקָה, רָחֵל וְלֵאָה, וִיקֻיַּם בָּנוּ הַפָּסוּק: “וְרֵאשִׁית עֲרִיסוֹתֵיכֶם תִּתְּנוּ לַכֹּהֵן לְהַנִּיחַ בְּרָכָה אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ”

May it be Your will, our G-d, the G-d of our Fathers, that You bless our dough, as You blessed the dough of our Mothers, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah. And may we be blessed as in the verse: “You shall give the first yield of your dough to the kohen to make a blessing rest upon your home.” (Ezekiel 44:30)

Some have the custom to recite the following verse twice before reciting the blessing for separating challah (Sefer Chukei HaNashim):

וִיהִי נׁעַם אֲדׁנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ.

May the pleasantness of the L-rd our G-d be upon us; establish for us the work of our hands; establish the work of our hands (Psalms 90:17).

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁהַמִּצְוָה שֶׁל הַפְרָשַׁת חַלָּה תֵּחָשֵׁב כְּאִלּוּ קִיַּמְתִּיהָ בְּכָל פְּרָטֶיהָ וְדִקְדוּקֶיהָ, וְתֵחָשֵׁב הֲרָמַת הַחַלָּה שֶׁאֲנִי מְרִימָה, כְּמוֹ הַקָּרְבָּן שֶׁהֻקְרַב עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ, שֶׁנִּתְקַבֵּל בְּרָצוֹן. וּכְמוֹ שֶׁלְּפָנִים הָיְתָה הַחַלָּה נְתוּנָה לַכֹּהֵן וְהָיְתָה זוֹ לְכַפָּרַת עֲוֹנוֹת, כָּךְ תִּהְיֶה לְכַפָּרָה לַעֲוֹנוֹתַי, וְאָז אֶהְיֶה כְּאִלּוּ נוֹלַדְתִּי מֵחָדָשׁ, נְקִיָּה מֵחֵטְא וְעָוֹן. וְאוּכַל לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת שַׁבַּת קֹדֶשׁ וְהַיָּמִים הַטּוֹבִים עִם בַּעֲלִי (וִילָדֵינוּ), לִהְיוֹת נִזּוֹנִים מִקְּדֻשַּׁת הַיָּמִים הָאֵלֶּה. וּמֵהַשְׁפָּעָתָהּ שֶׁל מִצְוַת חַלָּה, יִהְיוּ יְלָדֵינוּ נִזּוֹנִים תָּמִיד מִיָּדָיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בְּרֹב רַחֲמָיו וַחֲסָדָיו, וּבְרֹב אַהֲבָה, וְשֶׁתִּתְקַבֵּל מִצְוַת חַלָּה כְּאִלּוּ נָתַתִּי מַעֲשֵׂר. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהִנְנִי מְקַיֶּמֶת מִצְוַת חַלָּה בְּכָל לֵב, כָּךְ יִתְעוֹרְרוּ רַחֲמָיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְשָׁמְרֵנִי מִצַּעַר וּמִמַּכְאוֹבִים כָּל הַיָּמִים, אָמֵן:

May it be Your will, our G-d, the G-d of our Fathers, that the mitzvah of separating challah be considered as if I observed every one of its details. May my raising of the challah be considered as the sacrifice that was offered on the altar, which was willingly accepted. Just as giving the challah to the kohen in the past served to atone for sins, so may it atone for my sins and I shall be like a person reborn, free of sin and transgression. May I be able to observe the holy Shabbat and Festivals with my husband (and our children), and be nourished from the holiness of these days. May the influence of the mitzvah of challah enable our children to be always nourished by the hands of the Holy One blessed be He, with His abundant mercy, loving-kindness, and great love; and the mitzvah of challah be accepted as though I have given a tithe. And now, as I am fulfilling the mitzvah of challah with all my heart, so may the compassion of the Holy One Blessed be He be aroused to keep me from sorrow and pain always, Amen.

How to Separate Challah

Halachos of Hafrashas Challah

From the OU Orthodox Union January 18, 2008
Which items require Hafrashas Challah? If one bakes bread, cake, crackers, or cookies with flour from the five grains, one must separate challah. This is true whether one prepares a thick or a thin (pourable) dough.1 It is generally assumed that the five grains are wheat, barley, oats, spelt, and rye. If one bakes with other grains there is no obligation to separate challah.
The Dough: Challah is not separated from some loose batters and sweet pastries (as opposed to a heavy batter/dough, like that of bread or babka).. Therefore, when baking cakes and pastries in quantities large enough to warrant challah being taken, consult with a competent rabbinic authority.
The Flour: Challah is separated when the dough is made of one or more of the following five grains: wheat, rye, barley, oat or spelt.
The Liquid: Any liquid content of the dough qualifies to require separating Challah (e.g. water, oil, juice, eggs etc.). However, in order to definitely be able to recite the blessing, some of the liquid content should be water. Therefore, when baking a recipe that does not call for water, it is advisable to nevertheless add a little water into the mix.
The Dough: Challah is not separated from some loose batters and sweet pastries (as opposed to a heavy batter/dough, like that of bread or babka).. Therefore, when baking cakes and pastries in quantities large enough to warrant challah being taken, consult with a competent rabbinic authority.
How much do I have to bake? If one bakes with the volume of 43 1/5 beitzim of flour, one must be mafrish challah.2 There is a difference of opinion when translating this amount into contemporary terms. According to some opinions, one is obligated to separate challah when kneading dough that contains more than 2 2/3 pounds of flour.3 Others have the practice to separate challah only if the dough is made with close to four pounds of flour. However, the common practice is to recite a beracha only if five pounds of flour is used in the dough.
The Quantity: In order to separate challah and recite the blessing, the dough should contain at least 59 ounces of flour (i.e. 3 lbs. 11 oz., or 1 and 2/3 kilograms). If the amount of flour is between 43 (2 lbs. 11 oz.) and 59 ounces (1.230 to 1.666 kilograms), challah should be separated without a blessing. But if the dough contains less than 43 ounces of flour, challah is not separated.
When is the hafrasha done? When baking bread or a cake with a thick dough, one should separate challah after kneading the dough but before the bread is baked.4 However, when baking a cake with a batter that can be poured, the challah is separated after the cake is baked.5
When separating challah for several batches of dough at one time (when each one contains the shiur challah), all of the dough should be in close proximity to each other at the time of the declaration. If the dough is not in a bowl or container, it is sufficient for all of the dough to be in the same room as the person who is separating the challah. However, if the batches of dough are in bowls or containers, one should be careful (לכתחילה) that while separating the challah the bowls should be open and touching.7
However, if one or all of the containers does not contain the shiur challah, this method does not suffice.8 In such a situation, one should place all of the dough into one large container before separating challah. Similarly, if one bakes several small batches of bread or cake and then puts them all together in a bag, container, or freezer,9 one must separate challah if the combined batches make up a shiur challah. For example, if one baked cookies in three separate batches with each batch containing two pounds of flour and he then placed all of the cookies into a cookie jar, one must separate challah from the cookies.10
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Do-It-Yourself Taking Challah

How to separate challah from dough

Jerusalemcats Comments: [If you have made Aliyah to Israel and there is the Beit Hamikdash, You are dealing with Kodesh, You need to do Netilat Yadayim and go to Step 6]

1. Place the dough in front of you, before it has been formed into any sort of shape.

If you are separating challah from a loose batter, or if you forgot to separate challah before baking, see “Separating Challah After Baking.”

2. Some have the custom to give charity or wash hands (netilat yadayim) without a blessing before fulfilling the mitzvah.[Your hands are now in a state of Taharah (ritual purity)]

This is a favorable time for personal requests and prayers (see prayers for Hafrashat Challah).

3. Recite the blessing.

It is the custom to stand while performing this mitzvah.


[ברוך אתה יְיָ אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציונו להפריש חלה [מין העיסָה


Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.


prayer1 - Separate Challah Prayer-Ashkenazim

Separate Challah Prayer-Ashkenazim


prayer2 - Separate Challah Prayer-Sephardim

Separate Challah Prayer-Sephardim

4. Remove a small piece from the dough, lift it, and say:

prayer3 - Separate Challah Prayer-Say-This is Challah

Separate Challah Prayer-Say-This is Challah

The piece of dough can be of any size. The custom is to separate a kazayit – 28 grams (approximately one ounce), or the size of a ping-pong ball. [If you have made Aliyah to Israel and there is the Beit Hamikdash go to step 6]

5. Burn the separated dough or wrap it in two layers and discard it.

It is preferable to burn the piece of dough that has been separated, but not in the oven. If the challah is burned on the gas range, it should first be well wrapped in aluminum foil so that the dough does not touch the grate. Another option is to place the piece of dough inside a tin-can and burn it on a lit gas range.
If burning the challah cannot easily be done, it may be wrapped in two layers of a material such as aluminum foil or plastic bags and discarded.

6. Contact The Temple Institute to locate a Kohen in your Area.

Customs and Segulot
The following are some special spiritual benefits credited to the mitzvah of separating challah, along with some customs practiced while performing the mitzvah of seperating  challah:

  • While preparing challah and other foods for Shabbat, it is customary to say, “lichvod Shabbat kodesh,”  “in honor of the holy Shabbat.”
  • Some have the custom, while kneading the dough, to recite Psalms and pray for people who are in need of G-d’s help and salvation.
  • Because of the great merit credited to the mitzvah of separating challah, it is worthy to bake especially for the sake of fulfilling this mitzvah at least once a year, ideally during the Ten Days of Repentance (Siddur Kol Eliyahu).
  • The following custom has recently become common in Jewish communities: Forty women devote their prayers while separating challah to the merit of a person in need of salvation (such as recovery from illness, a worthy mate, or the birth of a child).
  • The mitzvah of separating challah is recognized as a segulah for an easy, safe birth. It is customary to separate challah at least once in the ninth month of pregnancy.
  •  According to our Sages, the mitzvah of separating challah brings with it a blessing for a good livelihood into our home.


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