Star of David-shaped challah takes social media by storm

Amid war, many Israelis turn to baking challahs to raise their spirits and bring the comforting aroma of baking into homes

While most of us are at home grappling with the sadness and uncertainty that accompany war, some turn to the kitchen to alleviate their stress, and what could be more comforting than the aroma of fresh challah filling the house?
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
Read more:
Since the outbreak of Operation Swords of Iron, more and more people are finding solace in baking (a phenomenon also known as "stress baking"), but the trend that has taken the Internet by storm goes a step further: bakers are posting photos and videos of challahs in various shapes, with the Star of David challah emerging as a prominent symbol reflective of these times.
1 View gallery
חלת מגן דויד
חלת מגן דויד
Star of David-shaped challah
(Photo: Shelly Bar-Niv)
So where did the trend start and why is the challah starring in it? "I started with the challahs during the pandemic," says pastry chef Shelly Bar-Niv, "I'm a trained pastry chef and I fell even more in love with dough. For every holiday and significant event, I would braid challahs in shapes and colors to honor it. The day before the war started, I even posted a Torah scroll-shaped challah for Simchat Torah. With the war coming and Israeli flags everywhere, it was only natural to create a Star of David challah."
"The challah is the most Jewish and Israeli thing there is," explains culinary expert and blogger Rachel Krut. "Now, exactly what happened during the pandemic is happening again when yeast pastries were all the rage because they are the most comforting, soft, and for us, they symbolize home the most."
"Yeast dough also connects to comfort due to its softness and the memories of Friday dinners with the entire family. It's like a grandmother's recipe; suddenly, there's a moment that connects to a collective food experience that transcends ethnicities and sectors - something we all relate to."
During the pandemic, when most people found themselves confined to their homes looking to keep the kids busy, we rediscovered baking. “What's happening now is exactly what happened during COVID,” claims Krut.
@maya.bendahan עם ישראל חי 🇮🇱💙 500 גרם קמח כף שמרים יבשים חצי כף מלח רבע כוס שמן רבע כוס סוכר כוס ורבע מים ללוש את כל החומרים 10 דקות. להתפיח את הבצק עד הכפלת הנפח כשעה. לחלק ל 18 כדורים של כ45 גרם. כל כדור לגלגל לרצועה. לקלוע 6 צמות ארוכות ודקות ולהרכיב את המגן דוד. להתפיח את החלה כ 40-45 דקות. למרוח ביצה טרופה מעורבבת עם מעט סילאן. לחמם תנור ל 190 מעלות ולאפות כ 20-25 דקות עד השחמה. #חלה #חלות #חלתמגןדוד #מגןדוד #חרבותברזל #עםישראלחי #ביחדננצח ♬ לצאת מדיכאון - יגל אושרי
“People are at home with their children looking for activities, and there's something therapeutic about dough - working with it is healing and soothing, the kids enjoy playing with the dough, and they get to eat it in the end. So, people have returned to bread-making at home."
“Moreover, this trend also joined the need that was present in the early days of the war when supermarket shelves suddenly became empty. People discovered that they could make their own pitas and bread at home, so it started from a necessity and turned into a trend.”
Where did this trend come from? “The person who raised awareness about the shaped challahs is Idan Chabasov, a baker and the Instagram sensation known as Challah Prince who posts challah videos. He baked Jerusalem bagels and Star of David-shaped challah.
Before the war, he would bake challahs in the shapes of flowers, and then he started with the Star of David, and since then, he's been doing incredible things. This trend joins the baking of key-shaped challahs which has been around for many years before, with all that they symbolize, and the Star of David challah joined that. Everyone wants to add something from what’s happening outside to their food.”
And what's the next thing? "Now, as the supermarkets have restocked and the children are spending much more time at home, the trend of baking challahs is on the decline, and there is a clear rise in the need for one-pot meals. Suddenly, parents who used to prepare sandwiches for school now need to cook lunch, so the demand for one-pot meals is increasing."

Star of David challah recipe

By Shelly Bar-Niv
  • 210 grams of water
  • 1 size L egg
  • 45 grams of oil
  • 500 grams of flour
  • 8 grams of dry yeast
  • 70 grams of sugar
  • 10 grams of salt
  1. Place all the ingredients in a mixer in the given order. Knead with a dough hook in the mixer for 10-12 minutes, until the dough is soft, flexible, and not sticky.
  2. Form a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, then cover with cling film and let it rest for an hour.
  3. After an hour, take the dough out onto a countertop.
To create the Star of David shape:
  1. Prepare three braids with five strands each, and three triangles made from three strands each. Allow to proof for half an hour to an hour.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 20-25 minutes.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.