You may have seen bakeries make "kiddush-sized" challah loaves, two little loaves roughly the size of one regular-sized challah. This is handy if you're not having a large group, so that you can be sure to have whole loaves for all the Shabbat meals without having tons left over. I often make my standard challah recipe into kiddush loaves. Here's how I do it.
This post is part of my Complete Guide to Baking Challah.
Because it's preferable for Shabbat and holiday meals to make kiddush and then say hamotzi, the blessing for bread, over two whole loaves, the amount of bread you need can get a bit much if you're not hosting a larger group. A good solution for this is to bake up smaller loaves. This way they're beautiful, festive, and traditional, but also don't leave you with tons of bread.
Dividing the dough: how many parts?
You can divide a standard challah recipe, which generally makes two large loaves, into three or four kiddush loaves. I divide it in four if I want two whole loaves for each of the three Shabbat meals. If I don't need loaves for seudah shlishit (or on holidays if we're not hosting) I divide it into three. I then slice one on Friday night and one or both at Saturday kiddush.
How many strands for each kiddush-sized loaf?
Because you're using a smaller amount of dough, it can get tricky to subdivide the smaller portions into multiple strands. I like making 4-strand braids for my kiddush loaves because they bake evenly, slice well, and look kinda schmancy. A regular 3-strand braid works well, too. I think more than 4 might get a bit too small as loaves.
How long to bake smaller loaves
Kiddush loaves take a shorter amount to bake, but not that much. Start checking them at 20 minutes for 4 loaves, or 25 minutes for 3 loaves. They should be golden and well risen (and reach an internal temperature of around 190F / 90C).