Help for Challah

I make a braided challah yeast bread. In the baking process, the braids always pull apart at the top. Do you have a solution? —C.R., Valparaiso, Indiana

When making braided breads, use your fingertips to gently roll the dough into ropes. If the dough springs back, cover and let it rest for a few minutes before trying again. Be sure the ropes of dough do not have excess flour on them. It can keep them from holding together. Lay the ropes side by side on a well-greased baking sheet. Beginning at the center of the loaf, place the right rope over the center rope. Then put the left rope over the center, the right over the center, left over the center, and so on until the ropes are too short to braid. Pinch ends together; tuck under the loaf. To braid the other end, turn the baking sheet around so the unbraided ropes face you. Place the center rope over the right rope, then the center rope over the left, then the center rope over the right, and so on. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under.