There are two ways to braid five strands; this style looks like two 3-strand braids stacked up on one another. It's one of the more complex braiding sequences, but as with all braiding techniques, not so hard once you get the hang of it. The other method of braiding a 5-strand challah, so that it looks woven, is super easy, a great choice to build up from a 3-strand to this one.
This post is part of my Complete Guide to Baking Challah.
There's a pattern to the 5-strand braid, it's just a little more complicated. Here's how it goes:
(1) Pick up the outermost strand on the right and move it over the center three strands, to the spot one over from the right:
(2) Next, pick up the outermost strand to the right. You're not going to move it over in the same way, but rather over the two strands next to it, stopping in the middle:
(3) And finally: take the strand second from left and twist it over the center strand:
That's the pattern, now you just have to get your hands to remember as you keep going.
As you can see especially in the unbaked challahs, there is a big difference between the two methods of making 5-strand braids:
And here they are, all baked up (these are spelt challahs, hence the color):
After shaping, continue with your challah recipe as usual: leave the loaf to proof while you heat up the oven, brush with egg wash, and bake for the same amount of time.