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Kashrut notes:

(1) To make your Challah kosher, in addition to the usual rules, you must take challah. To do this, remove a small piece of dough prior to baking and throw it into the oven to burn. This symbolizes the sacrifice and the priest's portion from when the Temple stood.

(2) Challah, like all Jewish breads, traditionally is pareve so that it can be served at milk or meat meals. Recipes including milk or butter are traps for traditional non-vegetarian Jews.


Bread Machine Challah

(Dan's Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water (if you increase oil, decrease water by a similar amount).
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (some people use up to 1/3 cup--this gives a more cake-like bread).
  • 1-2 Tablespoon honey (or sugar), depending on how sweet you like it.
  • 2 eggs beaten. Reserve 1 Tablespoon for wash.
  • 3 cups white flour. For a chewier texture, substitute up to 1 cup of "first clear flour" for an equal amount of white flour.
  • 2 teaspoons yeast (some people have better results with 1 Tbs yeast and 1 and one half tsp salt).
  • sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds and/or raisins

Directions

  • Place all ingredients except 1 Tbs reserved eggs and the seeds or raisins in bread machine in recommended order on "rise only" or pizza dough cycle.
  • After first rise, remove dough, and punch down. If dough is too sticky, covering your hands or the bread board with white flour or corn meal usually is enough to bring it to the right consistency. Don't make the dough too dry -- the challah will be tough.
  • Roll the dough out into a long rope on a floured board. (If you like a sweet challah with raisins, add them now, working them into the dough as you roll it out.) Divide into three equal lengths. Place the three lengths side by side and seal the right ends together, using wet fingers if the dough is dry.
  • Braid. This is done just like braiding hair. Turn the three ropes so that the sealed end is farthest from you and the ropes are extending towards you. Place the left rope over the center rope. Then place the right rope over the new center rope. Repeat until you've reached the end of the ropes.
  • Seal the end with a moistened finger.
  • Don't overwork the dough or the bread will be tough: if your first braid isn't beautiful, try again next week.
  • Dust a board or pizza peel with flour and sesame and/or poppy seeds and place the braided dough on it. Wipe the dough with the reserved egg, using a brush or paper towel. Sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds. Cover it with a tea towel and leave it to rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven (preferably with pizza stone) to 375° F.
  • If you like your challah especially shiny, after dough has risen, gently wipe it with some more reserved egg, using a brush or a paper towel. Add additional poppy and/or sesame seeds if needed. Be careful not to deflate the dough.
  • Carefully place bread on pizza stone in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes at 375°, then turn the oven down to 350° and bake another 15-25 minutes, until loaf is shiny and sounds hollow when tapped. (If you don't have a pizza stone, use a cookie sheet, but the bread won't be as crusty.) 30 minutes at 375° or even 400° gives a crisper, thicker crust.
  • Remove and allow to cool on rack.

Dan's Challah

(KitchenAid Mixer Recipe)

Ingredients
  • 220 grams (1 cup) water. With whole wheat flour, you may need to add a bit more.
  • 1.5-2.0 teaspoons salt.
  • 2 Tablespoons oil.
  • 1.5-2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup.
  • 2 eggs beaten.
  • 550 grams (~4 cups) white flour. For a chewier texture, subsitute up to 1 cup "first clear flour" for white. Or better yet, 280 g white flour, 20 g wheat germ, 250 g white whole wheat flour.
  • 1 teaspoon yeast.
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten.
  • sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds and/or raisins

Directions
  • Place all ingredients except egg yolk and seeds in mixer bowl. (Measure the oil first and then use the same spoon for the honey).
  • Using kneading hook, mix at lowest speed 5 minutes.
    • Dough should be form a sticky ball, with the bottom sticking to the mixing bowl. If it climbs out of the bowl or doesn't stick to bottom at all, add a small amount of water to make it stickier.
  • Cover bowl with towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Mix at lowest speed 4 minutes.
  • Oil a large glass mixing bowl.
  • Place dough in bowl, form it into a ball, and flip upside down so that oiled side is up and seams are down.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 3-5 hours, until doubled. If the room is cool or yeast is old, this may take longer.
  • You can do the mixing on Thursday evening and let the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Allowing the dough to rise too long is not always fatal, but often leaves the bread with a strong yeasty off-flavor. If your dough smells strong, punch it down well to press out all the carbon dioxide, reduce the time for the second rise, and next time use less yeast or don't let it rise as long.
  • Remove dough, and braid.
  • Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500° F.
  • Dust a board or pizza peel with flour and sesame and/or poppy seeds and place the braided dough on it. Or make it easy on yourself: place a piece of parchment paper on your pizza peel, add some seeds, and let the bread rise on that.
  • Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 40 minutes while the oven heats.
  • Gently wipe the dough with the reseved egg yolk, using a brush or paper towel.
  • Sprinkle with poppy and/or sesame seeds.
  • Carefully place bread on pizza stone in preheated oven. This is very easy if you have it on paper -- just put paper and all onto the stone. If you aren't using paper, be sure your peel is well floured.
  • Bake 20 minutes at 450° F, then about 10-15 minutes at 350° until loaf is shiny and brown and sounds hollow when tapped. If you use parchment paper, remove the paper after 10 minutes or it is likely to scorch.
  • Remove and allow to cool on rack.

Janet's Bread Machine recipe

  • 1/2 C + 1 T and a bit more warm water
  • 1-1/2 t sugar
  • 1T yeast
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 C veg oil
  • 2 T honey
  • 1-1/2 t salt
  • raisins

Put it all (except raisins) into the machine. When you take it out, punch down and let rise. Punch down again, roll into a square, add raisins, roll into a long tube, squeeze it out and twist. Let it rise again on a greased baking sheet until it's big. Brush with raw egg, beaten. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 and bake until it sounds hollow. Cover with foil if top darkens too much.


"Varda's Best and Easiest Challah"

from Varda, proprietress of Challah With a Twist, in Harrisburg, PA.
  • Put into a bowl in the order listed:
    • 2 packages rapid rise yeast
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 7-8 cups flour
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 2 cups hot water

  • Mix together and knead either with machine or by hand. Dough should feel tacky for best consistency.
  • Let rise in oiled bowl for 20-30 minutes.
  • Shape into loaves and let rise 15-20 more minutes.
  • Paint with egg mixed with a little water
  • Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 23-26 minutes or until golden brown.

  • E-mail me if you have any questions. Enjoy, Varda


Natural (Sourdough) Challah


Rosh HaShana Challah

Rosh HaShana challah is sweet (for a sweet new year) and round (to symbolize the cycle of the year).

Follow your favorite Shabbat challah recipe, except:

  • Soak 1 cup of raisins in plum brandy or rum or water overnight.
  • Add additional honey, up to 1/3 cup total, depending on how you sweet a bread you want.
  • After the first rise, flatten the dough into a disk and then into a long thin strip. Spread soaked raisins along the center of this strip and then fold it over them to form a long rope.
  • To make a simple round challah: Starting in the middle of your floured rising board or peel, make the rope into a flat spiral. It will look flat and puff up as it rises.
  • To braid:
    • Divide dough into three and roll out into three long and skinny ropes.
    • Braid.
      • Place the three lengths side by side and seal the right ends together, using wet fingers if the dough is dry. Turn the three ropes so that the sealed end is farthest from you and the ropes are extending towards you. Place the left rope over the center rope. Then place the right rope over the new center rope. Repeat until you've reached the end of the ropes. Seal the end.
    • After braiding, coil the braided dough up like a snake, starting in the middle and working out.
    • Don't worry if it looks flat; the center will puff up as it rises.
  • After second egg wash and seeds, dribble a small amount of honey on the braided loaf.

What is First Clear Flour?

First clear flour is a high ash white flour, often used to make rye bread chewy. If you can't get it from your local store, try The Baker's Catalogue/King Arthur Flour.


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