A great treat for you, dear readers! An in depth look at the history of challah by Libi Astaire, published in Mishpacha Magazine.
Here’s a short excerpt I found fascinating, as the first appearance of challah in the braided shape we know today:
At some point during the 1400s, braided breads using the best available white fl our became popular in Germany, perhaps because braiding the dough helps to keep the bread fresh a bit longer. These breads, known as berchisbrod, started to make an appearance on the Shabbos table, possibly because the German word bercht ( braid) sounds very s imilar to the Hebrew word brachos (blessings). In Southern Germany, this type of challah became known as barches or berches.
Here is a link to the full article: FF 437 – The History of Challah by Libi Astaire