Baking schlissel challah, the key shaped (or baked with a key) challahs is an Ashenazic Jewish custom which I'm happy to say I have been doing for quite a few years. And the time to do this custom is NOW! Namely when one is baking the challahs for the first Shabbat after Passover. Schlissel means "key" in yiddish, and as far as the meaning of this custom, well you can certainly consult google on this one, but I'll just say that the key is about bringing blessing into our homes and specifically the blessing of livelihood.
There are a few ways in which one can make schlissel challah, and this year I'm doing the three ways I know of in order to cover my bases, and hey, maybe this blog will even start bringing in a little income! I'm putting the key in the photo under one challah, I'm pressing a key into another challah to leave the imprint in the dough before baked, and I've made an old fashioned key shape from challah dough, not the most beautiful key you've ever seen, but my seven year old thought it was great, so that's good enough for me!
And since your next question may be "what recipe do you use?" Well I'll be happy to share that with you soon, so stay tuned!
p.s. The key shaped challah actually turned out nicer looking than I expected, so here it is! And let me tell you, it was delicious too. The exact same recipe that I bake almost every week, but it had a little extra something in it. It even reminded my husband of his grandmother's Moroccan shabbat bread, go figure!