Challah!

I’ve always been really intimidated to make bread from scratch. Between the process and the time it takes for it to rise, knead, rise again, then bake, I was just scared. But I decided to give it a go for the holiday, beginning with challah. I used this recipe and I was VERY happy with the results 🙂

You first have to make the dough- which starts with yeast, warm water, and honey. Let it get foamy, then you add the flour, salt, butter, and eggs. You knead it for a while, form it into a ball, and then the waiting game begins…

You put that dough into a lightly-oiled bowl in a warm spot, covered with a damp towel to rise. I put my oven on 200 (low) and left the door open a bit, and stuck the bowl in there for a bit over an hour.

After it rises and doubles in size, you punch it down, and let it rest again– this time 10 more minutes.

Then the fun begins. While I was planning on just simply dividing the dough into 3 strands and braiding very conventionally, my papa informed me that the traditional way to braid challah includes 8 strands. As soon as he said that, I imagined how that would work. Very similar to lanyard braiding back when I was little.

First roll out 8 strands. I did a combo of squeezing it together and rolling. Worked well.

Keep the dough you’re not working with in a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out.

Once you’ve got your 8 strands, pinch them into pairs at the top. So now you have really 4 long strands. Intertwine these at the top.

Start weaving/braiding. Starting at one end, over under over under…

Then from the other end, UNDER over under over…

Until you reach the very end. Pinch the strands together so it doesn’t come apart.

Tuck the ends under.

Then guess what you do? You let it rise once more! This time on a greased baking sheet. At this point, preheat your oven to 350.

…Covered again with the damp towel.

After 30 minutes of final resting, brush with an egg wash, made of 1 egg and some water.

The egg wash allows the challah to shine!

I was really nervous about how this would turn out, considering I was responsible for the challah on Yom Kippur! I told my dad NOT to buy a challah this year from the bakery…

But I was very, very happy with the outcome!

Even though I was fasting, my will power only held me so far. I had to try a bite. Mmmm…

Thanks to my papa for telling me about the 8 strands. I will never make challah any other way!

The challah along with everything else was laid out before we broke the fast. Since we don’t eat all day, we eat light fare, which is mostly breakfast stuff like bagels, cream cheese, lox, salads, etc…

I love this kind of food! And it tastes especially good since you’re soooo hungry!

My dad made this kugel, which is a sweet noodle casserole made with raisins and cottage cheese and other stuff— it was really good! He topped it with cornflakes for some crunch!

I was SOOOO full last night it was uncomfortable. I think I speak for everyone at the table- and probably anyone who celebrates Yom Kippur when I say that. I think your stomach shrinks all day from fasting then you just eat so much so fast and…you can’t move 🙂 Oh well- it’s so worth it!

There’s always room for cookies though…

So weird—when I woke up this morning I was like, I am MOVING tomorrow… It’s finally hitting me—- a mixture of nerves and mostly excitement… it’s time to pack up last minute things before I leave to become a farmer in California! Ah!

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One Response to Challah!

  1. Pingback: Rosh Hashana- The Dinner | jamelafamela

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