Well after I did that, I figured that the ambient heat created by baking couldn't hurt matters.
So I began an experiment I've wanted to do ever since viewing this video:
This woman is AWESOME! She sounds like Julia Child but she's making CHALLAH. What could be better? I loved her simple instructions and since I usually stick to the 6 strand challah and a 4 strand roll (different from what is demonstrated in the video above) courtesy of my friend Hadassah, I thought it might be fun to experiment with some of the other permutations. My only complaint about this video is that she never shows the finished baked product. I set out to rectify this. I fashioned challahs using 5, 7, 8 and 9 strands. Here is what they looked like unbaked.
Maybe it's because I'm used to 6 strands and the 8 strand is just the 6 on steriods, but I far and away preferred the height that you get with that formation. While I found the 7 strand quite pretty, it was a little wide and flat for my taste. After baking, my preferences were the same:
They are all beautiful and they were quite enjoyable to make. Here is one last photo of 5,7,8 and 9 (from left to right) for better size comparison.