I’ll bet you thought challah refers to the two braided loaves of bread reserved for Shabbat meals. It does. But challah is also the small chunk of dough we tear off and burn before baking any bread.

Originally, that dough was given to a kohen, a descendant of Aaron who served in the Temple. In Messianic times, we’ll reinstate this practice. Meanwhile, we need to burn that challah before we can eat the bread from which it was taken.

Taking challah tells us that whatever we are given is not for our use alone. If we have wisdom, money or good health, our first step is to put them towards a Divine purpose.

The mitzvah of separating challah applies to every Jew, man or woman. Traditionally, however, this has been one of the special mitzvahs entrusted to the Jewish woman. In her role as the akeret habayit (foundation of the home), the woman is entrusted with mitzvahs that uplift and sanctify mundane activities, and nourish her family physically and spiritually.


Challah is taken from wheat, rye, barley, oat or spelt batches that use at least 59 ounces of flour. If you use less than this but more than 43 ounces, take challah, but don’t recite the blessing.

The liquid you mix with the flour should contain water. If not, add a little water and then take challah with a blessing.

Cakes and cookies sometimes need challah taken, as well. If you’re planning to bake something with more than 10 cups of flour, check the rules here.


After you knead the dough, before shaping it into loaves, place all your dough in a single pan or bowl and recite:

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.

Separate a small piece (approx. one ounce) and say: “This is challah.”

Wrap the challah in foil and place it in the empty broiler or oven, or burn it by any other method.

See our Challah Wizard for more on this subject.