Bread is considered a staple of the human diet, a true symbol of our material existence. There is something about the preparation and aroma of bread that is heavenly. To bridge the gap between the material and spiritual worlds, when preparing bread, we are commanded to set aside a piece for G-d. The Torah (Numbers 15:17-21) says: “…It shall be that when you eat the bread of the land, you shall set aside a portion [of dough] for God.”
Challah is what we call the special piece of bread that we set aside when we prepare bread dough. It is the same name that we give to our Shabbos bread. The word challah is derived from the word chol, meaning ordinary. God expects us to take the most ordinary staple and use it to nourish both our body and soul.
It is precisely for that reason that we are commanded to set aside a piece of our bread dough for G-d when we prepare a minimum of five pounds of bread.
After the dough has risen and before forming it into loaves or rolls, place all the dough in front of you and say the following blessing:
ברוך אתה י-י אלקינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציונו להפריש חלה
Ba-Ruch A-tah A-do-noi Elo-hai-nu Me-lech Ha-O-Lam A-sher Ke-di-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sav Ve-tzi-va-nu Le-Haf-rish Cha-lah
Blessed are You, our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.
Separate a walnut-size piece of challah. You may now add a personal prayer in whatever language you prefer.
Keep the blessed piece of challah separate from the rest of the dough and either wrap it in two layers and carefully discard or wrap in foil and bake separately until charred, then discard.