The Mitzvah

It is a positive Biblical commandment (Mitzvah #385) to separate a portion of dough, which, during the time of the Temple (Bais Hamikdash) is to be given to a Kohen. The Mitzvah is refered to as “Hafrashas Challah”, or separating Challah. Therefore, when one makes enough dough, one should separate a piece of the dough, as will be explained below.


  1. The dough must be suitable for making bread.
  2. The dough must be from one of the 5 following grains: wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye.
  3.  As this is a Mitzvah, a blessing can be recited when making dough from at least 12 cups of flour.
    1. If the dough is made from less than 8 cups of flour, no separation is required.
    2. If the dough is from between 8 cups and 12 cups, you should separate some dough as per the procedure but not make the blessing but rather just say, “Haray Ze Challah”, (הרי זה חלה).
  4. The separation (and blessing) should be done after the kneading process but before baking.
    1. If you are working with a batter rather than a dough, the separation should be done after baking the cake.
  5. The blessing for dough made from at least 12 cups of flour is, “Boruch Ato Hashem (Adon..) Elo(h)ainu Melech Ha’o’lom, Asher Kidishanu Bi’mitzvosov Vi’tzeevanu, Li’hafrish Challah Min Ho’eeso”.
  6.  Separate the piece.
  7. Burn the piece.
  8. Dispose of the piece.

The Procedure

  1. Cut off a piece of dough larger than the size of an olive, but do not detach it completely from the dough, leaving it partially attached.
  2. While standing, hold the semi-detached piece in your hand, make the blessing (see #5 above), detach it completely and say “This is Challah, Harai Zeh Challah” (הרי זה חלה).
  3. You should not speak after making the blessing until after you say Harai Zeh Challah.
  4.  You should take the piece of Challah you have separated, double-wrap it in silver foil, place it in the oven and let let it burn to crisp. 
  5.  You may bake other items in the oven while your Challah is being burned.
  6. Once your Challah has been burned to a crisp, you can put in in the “green bin”.


  1. The Chofetz Chaim says that it is preferable (if you can) to make your own Challah than buy from a bakery.  It is considered an honour for Shabbos (Kovod Shabbos) to make your own Challah.
  2. The Rabbi’s (Chazal) tell us that by doing the Mitzvah of Challah,  one brings blessings (Brocho) into the house.
  3. It is mentioned in Tradition that the time of separating Challah is an opportune time to pray  (be Mispallel) to have good children.
  4. Some women have a tradition (Minhag) to give charity (Tzedakah) after separating the Challah.
  5. The RM”A says the preferable time to bake Challah is on Friday (Erev Shabbos).
  6. It is preferable to be standing while separating the  Challah and making the blessing.


Question. If I make dough from rice, or something else not mentioned above, do I need to separate? Answer. No.

Question.  If my intention is to only fry or boil the dough such as in doughnuts, do I still need to separate Challah? Answer.  No.

Question. Is a single man also required to separate Challah? Answer. Yes, men and women are equally required to separate Challah, however, this is usually done by women.

Question. What if I forgot to separate Challah, may I eat the bread?  Answer.  You should separate a piece from your baked bread. However, if you only realized this on Shabbos, if you live in Israel, you should not eat from the bread at all but rather wait until after Shabbos and separate Challah.  If you live outside of Israel, since you cannot separate Challah on Shabbos, you may eat the bread but you should leave over a small portion and separate Challah after Shabbos. 

Question: Is it preferable to make Challah every week even if you will make less than the required Shiur to make a Brocho or make it less often to be able to separate Challah with a Brocho. Answer: It is preferable to make it less often to be able to take Challah with a Brocho.

Question: The answer to the previous question was to make Challah less often to be able to make a Brocho. The question is do you have to bake the entire dough or can you freeze part of the dough and bake it the following week. Answer: You can freeze the remaining dough or bake it and take it out five or ten minute before it is fully baked and the following week bake it for 5, 10 minutes so you will have fresh Challos.

Question: How do you dispose of the Challah? Answer: The best way to dispose of the Challah is to burn it. You should double wrap it with aluminium foil and burn it in the oven/toaster oven. You should make sure it is burnt completely. The best way to accomplish that to burn it through and through is to flatten it.

Question. What if I am unable to burn the separated piece (Challah)? Answer. You may wrap it up (double wrap it) and put it in the garbage. It is not respectful of the Challah to put it in the garbage without wrapping it.

Question. May I bake other items in the oven while I am burning the Challah or should the oven be empty? Answer. You may bake other food in the oven while the Challah is being burnt since it is double wrapped.  After the Challah is completely burnt you may wrap it up, put it in a bag and dispose of it in the garbage. If you are not able to burn it you may wrap it up (double wrap it) and put it in the Garbage. It is not respectful of the Challah to put it in the garbage without wrapping it.

Question: Do you have to separate Challah from cakes, cookies etc.?  Answer: If the batter is a thick constituency and you used more than 8 cups of flour you must separate Challah. If the batter is a loose constituency and more than 8 cups of flour was used you should put the cakes/cookies after you baked them into a bowl (or a baking tin) and separate Challah. You cannot separate Challah from the batter, you have to wait till after it is baked to separate Challah.

Question: If the Challos get attached while baking are they still considered whole? Can they be used for Lechem Mishna on Shabbos? Answer: Challos that get attached when baking may be separated and are still considered Sholem (whole) and can be used for Lechem Mishna.

Question: If you like to have  hot Challah, can you bring the Challos to the table after Kiddush?  Answer: The usual practice is to have the Challos on the table when you light however you may bring the Challos to the table after Kiddush. You don’t have to have the Challos on the table when you make Kiddush.