Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yom Kippur Challah

I was invited to a break fast, the feasting that is held the evening of Yom Kippur. This meal marks the end of the Day of Atonement, a solemn observation spent in prayer and fasting. I felt I should bring something appropriate. I decided on Challah, a rich egg bread and traditional Sabbath food. In my usual cloud of fog, I forgot the eggs, but any bread fresh from the oven is a real treat. I took the loaf over just as it finished baking. I have requests for the recipe. So I had to forsake my usual pinch of this, dash of that cooking and re-make the Challah by measuring.

For two large loaves take:
2 cakes yeast
1 ¾ cups of warm water
½ tablespoon of salt
¼ to ½ cup honey, dark and rich
¼ cup of olive oil, good virgin kind
pinch of saffron
Let this mixture sit until the yeast becomes foamy
If you are making egg Challah
Add 4 eggs and mix well
Omit for water Challah
I do this in a mixer with a dough hook
But start with my regular beaters
Adding 7 cups of sifted flour or more as needed (can’t be exact here)
One cup at a time, using regular beaters until the dough begins to get too thick
Then switch to a dough hook
Mix for about 5 minutes per cup
This saves a lot of kneading
Place on floured board and Knead until satin smooth
This step creates a mesh of linked gluten molecules that gives bread is shape
Return dough to bowl, coat lightly with olive oil and cover with a damp towel
Let rise until doubled in bulk
Punch down and cut into six equal-ish pieces
Form each piece into a log with a satin finish
This means the dough should be smooth without any breaks or folds
Let rest for about 5 minutes
Roll and stretch logs
Let rise again until doubled in bulk
Brush with egg for a glossy finish, sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds if desired
Bake for 45 min to an hour in a 350 degree oven
Bread is done when you knock on it and it sounds hollow

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

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