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Hafrashas Challah Amounts

Q: I’m mafrish challah every time I bake my 6 pound Shabbos challah recipe, and a neighbor told me I also have to be mafrish challah when I make homemade pizza. Do I have to be mafrish challah from pizza? If yes, how large does the recipe have to be?

A: The general rule is that if one bakes a large enough batter of any of the five primary grains, they must be mafrish challah. Everyone agrees that the five primary grains are wheat, barley, rye, oats, and spelt, but there is a three-way disagreement as to how much of those grains must be in a batter for hafrashas challah to be required, as follows:

Shulchan Aruch (OC 456:1 & YD 324:1) tells us the shiur (quantity) for which hafrashas challah is required is equal to the volume of 43.2 eggs. Thus, the shiur is volumetric and is equal to the displacement of 43.2 eggs. How does that translate into modern measurements? The three primary opinions are Rav Avraham Chaim Na’ah, Rav Moshe Feinstein, and Chazon Ish who respectively are of the opinion that 43.2 eggs is the same volume as 10.5, 15, or 18.25 (eight ounce) cups. The common practice is that if one bakes a batter with less than 10.5 cups of flour they are not mafrish challah, if they use between 10.5 and 18.25 cups they are mafrish without a bracha, and if they use more than 18.25 cups then they are mafrish challah and recite the bracha.

As noted, the shiur for hafrashas challah is a volumetric amount, and it is the same for all of the five primary grains. However the density of the different grains is not the same, and therefore when one converts the shiur into weight the amounts are different depending on which ingredient is being used. We calculated the conversion for wheat flour, oat flour, and whole oats, and found the following: Wheat flour – 2.75 pounds (separate without a bracha) and 4.75 pounds (separate with a bracha); oat flour – 2.5 pounds (no bracha) and 4.25 pounds (with a bracha); whole oats – 2 pounds (no bracha) and 4.25 pounds (with a bracha).

For example, if one bakes oatmeal cookies with 2 pounds of whole oats they should be mafrish challah without a bracha, but if one bakes their own pizza with wheat flour – as in the original question – they would not be mafrish challah unless they used at least 2.75 pounds of flour and would not recite a bracha unless there was at least 4.75 pounds.