Monday, April 18, 2011
Some of the games were a little distressing because it made me painfully aware how inept I am. For example the game - of unscrambling words. One of the words to unscramble was ‘emtipan’ and I kept thinking that must be ‘emit pan’ confusing the meaning to that of ‘slop jar.’ Yeah, I know! Strange indeed are the patterns of my brain! But finally, when I was told it meant ‘nap time’ I could only put up my hands in defeat, shake my head and hang it low. But not for long. There were these adorable children! Just cute enough you could eat them. Delicious kinds! They kept running and playing around the room. Oh boy, how they make my insides turn into mush with their dimpled smiles and outrageous pranks. Had a real good time with them children! That made everything else seem trivial.
Let’s get to the more important reason we are all here, the recipe - Challah. A Jewish bread that is delicious! Some of you may disagree because it has a pronounced taste of egg. But as for me, I love it. It is also very pretty to simply lay it out on your table, and see your guests gush out in surprise. And when you tell them you baked it - priceless!
Water – 1 cup
Yeast - 1 packet active dry yeast
Sugar – 1/4 cup + 1 tspn
Eggs – 3
Bread Flour – 3 ½ - 4 cups
Salt – 1 ½ tspn
Oil – ¼ cup + 2 Tbspn
1. Take a big bowl in which you can knead the dough. Pour 1 cup of warm (110 D F) and add the yeast and about 1 tspn of the sugar. Stir and let it stand. It will froth in about 5 – 10 minutes.
2. Add salt and the remaining sugar to 3 1/2 cups of flour and set aside.
3. Beat the egg lightly and reserve about 2 tbspn to brush the bread later.
4. Add the beaten eggs and oil into the bowl, mix well and add the flour, sugar and salt mixture.
5. Using the hook of your hand blender or stand mixer, beat the bread until it leaves the sides of the pan and come together. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes.
6. Dust a clean surface with flour and slide over the dough. Knead until you get a smooth and supple dough
7. Cover and set aside to rise for about 2 hours.
8. Once it has doubled in size, punch down and tucking in the edges make a round smooth dough.
9. Cut them evenly into 6 pieces.
10. Roll them using a little flour if you need to make long strands.
11. Lay all the six strands side by side and join one end, seal and tuck in.
12. Now you braid and tuck the other end.
13. Brush the bread with egg and lay it on a cookie sheet covered to rise. For about 1/2 an hour to 1.
14. Once it doubles brush them with another coating of the egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 375 D F for 35 – 40 minutes.
15. To test if the bread is done knock over the bread and it should sound hollow.
To learn how to braid the bread see a video here.