The shabbat bread can be one whole loaf, or two pieces, two matzot (which is the unleavened bread of Pesaj1), or loafs in different shapes: round, angular, flattened, spiralled, etc. it is also possible to use for the blessing two slices of bread, or two small buns, a sponge cake or other cake, two intertwined loafs or one loaf with a double braid. The minimum size, in order to be able to bless and eat it, is that of an olive, and the usual size, that of an egg.
The inclusion of two intertwined loafs, or jalot, in Shabbat is not of recent date. In the Modern Age (16th century, according to the writings of Rabbi Kirchan), the Jewish communities of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine included braided loafs in the Shabbat table; it was a traditional shape of medieval German celebratory baking. This custom of braiding has been transferred to the Sephardic world after World War II.
For some researchers and specialists of the Torah, the braided loaf, always kneaded and blessed by the women of the family, symbolizes the desire of fertility, as well as the intertwining of family bonds.