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Daily Cheapskate's 2014 Shlissel Challah Contest: we have two winners!

I've got some great news: we had so many beautiful entries to the Daily Cheapskate 2014 Shlissel Challah, I decided that we needed to have two grand prize winners.

Rhodes Bread Dough has graciously decided to join us as a second sponsor of this contest, alongside Artscroll, and has generously given Daily Cheapskate a fantastic gift basket (value, $50.00, including a Home Baked Favorites Cookbook, A Kids Ideas with Frozen Dough Cookbook, a large Rhodes oven mitt, rolling pin and some coupons for free Rhodes products) to give to a second winner of the contest.

AND, Rhodes will be mailing each contest entrant a $1.00 coupon off any Rhodes product, just for entering the contest!  (Entrants, please email to me your full name and mailing address by the end of this week in order to receive the coupon.)

A giant thank you to both Artscroll and Rhodes for sponsoring this contest!

Mandy D.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah, all the way from Eretz Yisroel

The winner of the Artscroll cookbook, Starters & Sides Made Easy, is Mandy D., currently of Ma'alot, Israel.  Congratulations Mandy!

Sora K.'s 2014 Shlissel challah

And the winner of the Rhodes gift basket is Sora K. from Baltimore, Maryland.  Congratulations Sora!

Mandy and to Sora, your Shlissel Challot were beautiful.  And a big Yasher Koach to all of the other entrants.  May your challahs serve as a true segulah to parnassah over the course of this year (and hopefully, Daily Cheapskate will help you with keeping some of that parnassah in your bank accounts!).  It was very difficult choosing a winner amongst the skillfully-shaped challahs.  Entrants, make sure you contact me asap to receive your high-value Rhodes coupon via mail.


Back here is my 2011/2012 Shlissel Challah post.  and here's my 2013 Shlissel Challah post on last year's Shlissel Challah controversy.  I've got some great pictures in both posts, so be sure to take a look.  Forgive me for doing a little copying and pasting as I recopy some facts on the background of this fun custom.

What is "Shlissel Challah?"  Literally, it means "key" challah in Yiddish/German.  It is a  custom among Ashkenazic Jews to either place the key to their house inside the first post-Passover challah, or to make the challah in the actual shape of a key, and it is considered a "segulah for parnassah" or a foretoken for prosperity for the coming year.   If you are interested in the Jewish sources for this wonderful custom, please click on this wonderful explanatory post here.  If you are able to read Hebrew, here is a special prayer for recitation when you are making your shlissel challah.  Read the laws of Hafrashat Challah (separating the challah) here.

Last year, there was some controversy regarding the origin of the custom a la this fascinating article on Mesora.org, entitled The Loaf of Idolatry, which was refuted by this piece that appeared on VosIzNeias.com, entitled Shlissel Challah, an Analysis.  The argument is far from settled, but I've made my peace with it.

I don't believe that baking a challah in the shape of a key is going to ensure my husband and me a year of prosperity.  The shlissel challah is not magical. But if it serves as a reminder to me that God is the source for all of our sustenance and the Keeper of the key to our parnassah, and it brings out appreciation and acknowledgment for all that He has given us, that is one excellent segulah. And if a segulah is not a potent, magical object, but a prop or reminder, then suddenly its origins don't really seem all that important, as long as it creates change and dveykus in those who use it.

I make my shlissel challah with my favorite, delicious, frugal shortcut: Rhodes dough. You can get the recipe for Rhodes dough Shlissel Challah on my 2012 post, over here.

Some Shlissel Challah baking tips:
  • If you're baking the challah in the shape of a key, keep the shape thin all around.  Challah rises!  And swells, and gets bumpy and misshapen, etc.  The thinner you keep it, the less room it will have to rise into an unrecognizable shape.
  • Don't let the dough over-rise.  I usually let the dough rise twice, punching it down in between.  But for shlissel challah, I let it rise once. 
  • Initially, make the oven hotter than what you're used to (I turn it to 400 degrees F), and then once the dough forms a crust (about 10 minutes), turn the oven down to a normal baking temp (I turn it down to 350).
  • If you're baking a regular challah and putting a key in it:  1) first wash the key very well in hot soapy water (keys are dirty and germy) 2) wrap the key in parchment paper or foil before you bury it in the challah; keys contain lead. 3) put the key in a very obvious, easy place to find in your challah.  You don't want to be paying someone's dental bills because they bit down on your key!

If you've decided to bake Shlissel Challah this year, I hope you will send me your pictures so that I can post them here and on my Shlissel Challah Pinterest board.  If I get a dozen or more submissions, I'm going to pick the one that I think is the prettiest (a totally subjective and informal choice) and award the sender with a prize that has been generously donated by Artscroll.com:  Starters and Sides Made Easy by Leah Schapira Victoria Dwek (value $15.99).

UPDATE:  We now have a second sponsor of the Daily Cheapskate Shlissel Challah Contest, Rhodes Bake N Serve!  They are generously donating a beautiful gift basket to a second winner, (including a Home Baked Favorites Cookbook, A Kids Ideas with Frozen Dough Cookbook, a large Rhodes oven mitt, rolling pin and some coupons for free Rhodes products).

You can either email the pictures to me at frugalskate at gmail dot com, or post them on the Daily Cheapskate Facebook page.  I'll have chosen a winner by Monday morning!

Disclosure:  Both Artscroll and Rhodes co-sponsored this contest.  Neither Artscroll nor Rhodes has compensated me in any way for running this contest on DailyCheapskate.com. Artscroll is providing me with Starters & Sides Made Easy to give away to one winner , retail value $15.99., and Rhodes is providing me with one gift basket to give to a second winner, retail value $50.00. Rhodes is also providing me with coupons worth $1.00 of any Rhodes item to give to each contest entrant.

Ayala G.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Caroline B.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Robyn A.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Karen S.' 2014 Shlissel Challah

Fagil F.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah
Toby G.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Sara J.C.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Chani Y.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah
Sara K.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Tova B.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Rachel D.T.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Chana G.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Rivka C.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Esther S.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah
Devorah K.S.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Yael Z.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah
Michelle Y.'s Chocolate 2014 Shlissel Challah
Devorah F.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Shayna H.L.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Eva G.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Kimberly N.'s 2014 Shlissel Challah

Shaindel S.'s Shlissel Challah
My 2014 Shlissel Challah

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