One week into December and with the holidays knocking on our door, we bring you the next installment of our baking video series: how to braid a round challah loaf, straight from our bakers at Bleecker Street Bakery. Sweet and fluffy like a pain au lait, but beautifully braided into a round loaf, this bread will make an applause-worthy centerpiece at your next gathering. Watch the video for an easy tutorial and find all the instructions below.

Happy challah days!

Prepare the dough:

Make a batch of challah dough. After it completes the fermentation stage, weigh out four pieces of dough, 112g each.

Working one at a time, flatten each piece of dough into a square. Fold the top of the dough into the center, and press gently, then fold to the bottom and pinch to create a seam. Place the seam side down, and roll the dough into a long strand, approximately 18″ long.

Braid the dough:

Lay out two strands of dough parallel to one another vertically. Take a third strand and lay it over the center of the vertical strands horizontally, crossing over top of the vertical strand on the left and underneath the strand on the right. Fold up the left vertical strand and lay down the fourth strand horizontally underneath it, and over the right hand vertical strand. You’ll be left with a small square of open space in the middle of all four strands. Move each strand in close together, if needed, so that this open space remains small.

Pick up the bottom right end and cross it to the left over top of the bottom left strand. Moving counterclockwise, pick up the next piece of dough (it will be the horizontal piece on the left!) and cross it over top of the next strand of dough. Continue in this way until you wind up back at the bottom of the loaf, and then move in the opposite direction.

Pick up the lower left hand strand and cross it to the right, over top of the lower right strand. Moving clockwise, take the next piece of dough and cross it over the next, continuing once again until reaching the bottom of the loaf. Begin tucking the loose strands in this same fashion until all strands are tucked in.

Cup your hands around either side of the loaf and turn the bread gently, using the tension created from your work surface to help shape it. Use one hand to press gently upwards from the bottom of the loaf and then continue to spin the loaf with your cupped hands until it takes shape.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise an additional 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Prepare an egg wash: beat one egg with a whisk until it runs very thin, like water. When the loaf is ready to be baked, give it a light but thorough egg wash. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake approximately 25 minutes. Transfer bread to a cooling rack and allow it to cool fully before enjoying.

Catch the rest of the series: How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust [Watch]