Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Challah...Holla!

Oh Challah...were have you been all our lives. This is a Jewish egg bread, often braided for a beautiful presentation. Top it with sesame or poppy seeds or try adding raisins to the batter for a special touch. Here's the recipe:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour. 
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 
  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired. 
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Here's our favorite recipe for Challah French Toast that we created during the weekend. So good!

  • 14 slices challah, sliced 1 inch thick (cut larger slices in half)
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp Rompope (mexican eggnog) or  Kahlua
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

To serve:
  • Pure honey
  • Seasonal fruit salad (strawberries, mango, blueberries, orange slices, melon)
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar (optional)

  1. Slice the challah in 1-inch thick slices. Toast the the challah in a pan . 
  2. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, almond extract, cinnamon, rompope, vanilla and salt. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoon butter  in a very large saute pan (can be the same where you toast) over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. 
  4. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter as needed, until it's all cooked. 
  5. Serve hot with honey, fruit salad, and/or confectioners' sugar. 
recipe via: cafeole

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