Now that Pesach is over, it is appropriate to have a discussion about challah. We look forward on a weekly basis to that special taste of challah that marks the beginning of our Shabbos. There are so many variations that we have been developed over centuries. If you choose to bake your own because you don’t want to stand in line in the bakery, you may enjoy the following recipe. If you have never made challah before, you may want to begin as it is a very wonderful mitzvah that a woman can participate in.
There are also many things one can do with leftover challah, since there’s no point in wasting food.You can make breadcrumbs; you can use it for Sunday morning French toast; you can make croutons for your favorite salad; you can make a challah kugel for which I provide the recipe below. My mom uses her leftover challah in her meatloaf. She soaks the challah; squeezes out the water and adds it right into the mixture.
(Pareve. To make it milchig use butter and half and half.)
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 16 oz container coffee rich
4 cups ground challah
¼ cup melted margarine
Mix all in large bowl; pour into a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for one hour
Combine 3 Tbs.of dry yeast with ¾ cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. flour
Let stand 10 minutes until bubbly
In a separate bowl, combine
2 ¼ cup warm water
1 cup oil
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tab kosher salt
11-13 cups flour
Mix yeast mixture with ingredients in 2nd bowl except for flour. Mix well. Gradually add 11 cups of flour. If you need to, you may add the other 2 cups (do this if you find the dough very moist and hard to work with) Let rise two hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Punch down and shape. Let rise for another ½ hour. Brush with egg yolks (I add vanilla to this to give it a great flavor)
Bake 350 for 40 minutes.
Tip: after the dough rises, it can be punched down and then frozen into loaves. Defrost, shape and let rise ½ hour and bake.
Other fun uses for challah dough:
If you want to make a beautiful cornucopia for Thanksgiving or for a Sheva Brochot, take a round pizza pan(disposable type) roll it into a cone shape. Tape it up or staple to hold. Defrost about 4 boxes of Kineret Challah dough (or make your own!!!) until soft and pliable. Starting from one end of the cone that has been pre-sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, wrap dough around the tin until fully covered by the strand so that it resembles a piece of pottery.. This can be coated with egg yolks to give it an amazing sheen. Put on a large cookie sheet and bake at 350 until brown. Remove the tin very carefully. You can fill this with anything—fruit, cookies, mini-challah rolls or use your imagination.. It makes an amazing centerpiece
Another challah tip: if you need your dough to rise faster, plug in your heating pad and place the bowl of dough on top of it. Be sure to protect your countertop from the heat..
We’d love to hear your favorite challah recipes and tips and any family history that may go along with them.
By Gail Hochman