I have really been absent from blogging for a while. Lots has been going on. My husband is working in Brussels and has been gone most of the time since June. School has begun and I have been having some camera trouble. My first son left for college a few weeks ago and I am still trying to get used to not seeing his face every day. It is an adjustment for me. But he is very happy and hit the ground running and I am thrilled...but I miss him terribly. There is a hole in the family. But this is life and I am happy that he is happy and that is all that counts. He came home for Rosh Hashana last weekend and that really surprised me. He is at UPenn...so it is not all that far. He called and said "Mom...I need the soup...I am coming home. "He got on a train and he was here in two hours. I made his chicken soup and some challah...It was so good to see him.
Challah is most often braided, sometimes in very intricate 6 strand braids. And sometimes double on top of the other. But for the New Year the tradition is to have a round or turban shaped challah. The round shape symbolizes a perfect year to come. Sometimes raisins or honey are added to make it extra sweet.
I used the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes recipe to make two round Challahs for Rosh Hashana.
One with golden raisins and the other plain with dots of black sesame and white sesame....
Master Challah Dough
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
The book contains several master dough recipes, and this is an enriched sweet dough, perfect for a loaf of Challah (the braided dough) You start by mixing the master dough first. Let that rest overnight in the refrigerator, then the next day, pinch off a cantaloupe sized piece of dough for your recipe. Return the rest to the refrigerator to use for another day.
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
2 packages instant yeast
1 1/2 tbl kosher salt
4 lg eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
egg wash ( 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Poppy or sesame seeds
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, honey, melted butter, yeast and salt. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14 cup food processor wit hdough attachment, or a heavy duty stand mixer(with dough hook) Ifg you are not using a machine you may need to wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Cover(not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses( or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, tthough it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded(not airtight)container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1- pound portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using, Then allow the usual rest and rise time.
On Baking day, butter or grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper or silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated with flour and cut off a 1 pound piece(grapefruit size).
Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.
Divide the ball into thirds, using a dough scraper or knife. Roll the balls between your hands, stretching to form each into a long , thin rope. If the dough resists shaping, let it rest fro 5 minutes and try again. Braid the ropes, starting from the center and working to one end. Turn the loaf over, rotate it and braid from the center out to the remaining end. This produces a loaf with a more uniform thickness than when braided end to end.
Allow the bread to rest and rise on the prepared sheet for one hour and 20 minutes(or 40 minutes if you are using fresh unrefrigerated dough.
Twenty minute before baking time, pre-heat the oven to 350* If you are not using a stone in the oven, 5 minutes is adequate. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time. The challah is done when golden brown, and the braids near the center of the loaf offer resistance to pressure. Due to the fat in the dough ,challah will not from a hard,crackling crust.
Allow to cool before slicing or eating...
Here is the method for the Round Raisin Challah used for the Jewish New Year...
Round Raisin Challah
This dough also makes fabulous cinnamon Rolls....
will follow with those...actually the picture of the cinnamon rolls you see in my sidebar are made with this dough.
So far the New Year has been very sweet indeed...