We recently admired these napkin rings at a friend’s house Friday night. “My daughter, Breina, made them”, the hostess told us proudly. They tasted as good as they looked and are a great project for tween girls!
Breina's Challah Napkin Rings
The challah recipe I use is (using a KitchenAid mixer with a bread hook):
7 ½ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 pkg rapid-rise yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 cup very hot water
paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls
Pam "Baking" spray or other spray pareve "butter"
1 more egg
Put the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into the bowl.
Break and check the eggs, putting them into a glass measuring cup.
Add oil to the measuring cup until the total of eggs + oil adds up to 1 cup of liquid.
Add the liquid to the bowl where you have the dry ingredients.
Start the mixer using the bread hook to mix everything together.
As the mixer works, slowly drizzle in the hot water until you have "enough." (Too much water makes it too sticky, so add it slowly and let it get mixed in.)
Let it mix until it looks good.
Transfer the dough into a glass bowl, and cover it with saran wrap for at least an hour. Depending on weather, it may need longer to rise.
While the dough is rising, prepare the paper towel rolls (toilet paper rolls):
Cover each roll with foil on the outside, folding the excess into the middle of the roll.
Smooth it out so it looks like a silver roll.
Now, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the dough has risen, take three small pieces of dough and roll them between your hands into snakes; then, braid the three snakes together.
Spray one silver roll lightly with the baking spray, and wrap your braided dough snake around the roll. This is the only hard part: on what will be the 'bottom' or underside of the napkin ring, you have to join the ends of the snake and mush them together. They can overlap a bit. Tear off any extra braided dough and re-use. You can get at least two snakes onto a toilet paper roll, and at least three on a paper towel roll, possibly more (but avoid putting them too close together, as they will rise).
Place the rolls with the snakes onto a baking sheet heavily dusted with cinnamon.
While they are rising, sprinkle colored baking sugar or other decorations on the snakes.
If you like, once the snakes are on the rolls, you can brush them with an egg wash, which will make the decorations stick better onto the snakes.
Using this recipe, we can make 8 skinny napkin rings and still have enough for two modest challahs, or 10 bigger napkin rings and one nice sized challah.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, but check at 35 minutes because sometimes the skinny napkin rings start to get toasty by then and can come out.
Remove the entire roll with the napkin rings on it from the baking sheet, and let to cool on cooling trays.
When they're not too hot to touch, you can slide the silver rolls out of the middle of the napkin rings. This can also wait until they are cool if necessary.
Arrange the napkin rings on your guest's plates with a decorative napkin in the hole.
Step back and enjoy your glorious Shabbos table!