challah bread

i usually do not cook while in israel. perhaps it is because i am on a holiday, or just too occupied with other things, maybe it is because i do not have my own kitchen, or just the the fact that my mother in law bella is one of the most amazing cooks i know. whichever the reason is, i always end up coming back home feeling some regret for not cooking at least one thing for my family.

picture was taken with my sister's cell phone

this trip i decided to finally do something. while there, we celebrated the endless high holidays meals, so cooking was a dominant subject. i decided to contribute for the rosh hashanah dinner and challah seemed like the right thing to do. i needed to find a kitchen for the task. bella and my sister in law were too busy in their own kitchen and the only available one was my father’s barren and empty kitchen. being a short day, i woke up early to buy all the needed ingredients and necessary equipment. i shlepped my 6 year old niece shira to the mission and got to work.
the challah can be done in 2 ways, a dairy version with butter, or a parve version with oil. jewish culinary law forbids the mixing of dairy and meats at the same table, so one must know if meat will be served before using butter. rest assure they are both tasty so no compromising is done by doing one over the other.

picture was taken with my sister's cell phone

after 5 hours of mixing, waiting and baking we got ourselves 4 beautiful huge challahs.

4.5 pounds (2 kilo) all purpose white flour
2 tbs salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp instant yeast or 4 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups warm water
2 eggs
2/3 cup sunflower oil

1 beaten egg
combine the yeast with 1 tbs sugar and 1 cup warm water till foamy.
mix rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
when the yeast is done fermenting add it to the bowl as well and start kneading the dough for at least 5 minutes. the dough needs to be flexible and smooth but not sticky. you should be able to work with it.
if the dough is too dry add 1 tbs of water at a time. if it too sticky add four little bit at a time.
transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with clean towel and set aside at a warm place till the dough has doubled in size. about an hour.
remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands.
return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise again for another hour.
transfer the dough back to a flour-dusted surface and divide it to two. cover remaining dough to prevent drying.
divide dough into 3 equal portions. working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a rope. once you have all 3, place ropes lengthwise on a large baking sheet. pinch ends together at untapered ends to seal. braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. cover and let rise 20 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
do the same with the other part of the dough.
Preheat oven to 350F° (170C°).
gently brush the dough with egg yolk mixture and than sprinkle with the sesame.
bake for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. cool on a wire rack.

makes 2 challahs


1 comment:

Miho said...

delish looking challah's Sarit.....yum! I'm sure that all of the meals were beautiful and memorable!

xo M!