Last weekend was the anniversary of my Mom’s passing and as is tradition within our synagogue one is asked to share a story of a loved one who has passed. My German born Mom knew her way around the kitchen and loved to bake unlike her Mom. When asked if she had a favorite recipe I don’t really think she did but butter had to be a main ingredient.
She was always adding new recipes to her repertoire. Since she was an avid bridge player she was always returning home with new dessert recipes from her bridge luncheons.
At holiday time the oven was always working overtime with wondrous smells wafting throughout the house. Mom also delved into bread making and even if the recipe required oil, the table was never missing a stick of butter to schmear on the finished product.
Before Natureman’s operation my spirituality group got together for a program on Challah( Jewish braided egg bread), its history, how to make it, a sampling and a special tutorial on braiding.
Natureman is the bread maker in the End of the Rainbow Valley and he was kind enough to make up a Challah recipe for us to have some challah ready for the meeting.
Below is one of our household’s favorite Challah recipes from friend Keren’s Mom darkening our preferences when there was a choice!
Sally’s Challah Recipe
2c warm water
2 pkgs dry yeast
½ c oil
2 t salt
⅓ c sugar or honey
7 c flour (4 white 3 whole wheat)
*Place warm water into mixing bowl. Add yeast.
*When yeast is dissolved add sugar, eggs, oil and salt and 3 c flour and mix with electric mixer.
*Add 4 more c flour and mix in with wooden spoon.
* Knead until dough pushes back continue to add flour until it loses stickiness.
* Put in warm place to rise until it doubles in bulk (~40 minutes)
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Punch down, knead.
* Divide dough into whatever sizes you want. Cover with cloth.
** Recite blessing. (see below)
Braid and put on cookie sheets and set to rise for 20 minutes.
An egg wash on top results in a beautiful finish. ( See photo below)
Bake until brown (~15-25 minutes)
The word ‘Challah’ originated in olden days for the bread dough given to the Priests to use as a sacrifice.
*Tradition has one removing some dough the size of a roll to discard or burn while reciting the following blessing: Boruch atah adonai elohaynu ho dom asher kidshany bmitzvosov vitzevany l’tlafrish challah.
Keren who had brought her risen mother’s dough recipe, demonstrated dividing her recipe dough to make 4 loaves .
Each of the four dough piece was divided into and rolled into 4 strands pieces then braided into a loaf. ( See last photo for the finished project.)
For us to practice braiding I had brought 6 strands of twine rope for each participant as practicing with the dough would have really overworked it the twine served its purpose for making braids of 3, 4, 6 strands. Another member Heidi B had made a hand out of braiding instructions and was kind enough to demonstrate making each braid as we followed replicating with our twine. If you want instructions, I can send them to you.
We could smell it baking as we continued our challah program .
Of course there was butter to top it!
Here’s to you Mom and the love of baking!
*For a round challah Tory Avey alias Shiksa in the Kitchen has a great tutorial and recipe for Apple Challah for more advanced challah makers.Google her.