Now is the perfect time to be exploring Jewish cuisine, as most of the food-centric Jewish holidays are fast approaching. The first is Rosh Hashanah. It is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. This year it begins on September 29 at sundown.
The tradition of round challah and its symbolism
Eating symbolic foods is common during the celebrations of many Jewish holidays. At Rosh Hashanah, these foods are intended to ensure that everybody has a good, happy, and successful new year. Many have the custom to begin the Rosh Hashanah meal with round challah bread. In addition to that, most foods served for Rosh Hashanah are sweet to symbolize our hope for a sweet year. Rosh Hashanah dinner often begins with everyone dipping slices of apple into honey to represent our hope for a sweet new year.
Another Rosh Hashanah tradition is to braid challah in a round shape. Some believe the round shape represents a crown for God. Others say that the circular shape represents the cyclical nature of the year– as one year draws to a close, another year begins, and so the circle continues.
Other symbolic foods for Rosh Hashanah and their meanings
Round food is an important feature as it represents the passage of time and the cycle of the year, so be sure to bake your challah in a circle. The round challahs have no end, symbolizing (and actualizing) our wish for a year in which life and blessings continue without end. It is customary for Rosh Hashanah challah bread to be studded with sweet raisins, which are made from grapes.
Apple Honey Challah is one of Zomick’s kosher bakery’s most popular Rosh Hashanah recipes. This beautiful braided Zomick’s challah is sweetened with honey and stuffed with tender apple pieces. There’s nothing quite like that first slice of Rosh Hashanah challah, drizzled generously with honey, to put a smile on your face.
Whether or not you are Jewish and plan to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, you should try making challah at home. It is a forgiving project and one that you can do with your kids. Plus, the results are so much better than the commercial challahs. Drizzle apple cider glaze over the top of the Apple Challah Bread Recipe and you have a festive holiday bread perfect for any occasion!