Holla for your Challah!

One of the best parts of my Food Systems class is the “food in a food studies classroom” philosophy. As part of our participation grade, we each picked a day to bring in a food item and discuss its culture, history, ingredients…whatever. Last Monday was my day! Can you guess what I made? Well, if you’re a smarty pants, you figured it out from the post’s title.

Just in time for Rosh Hashanah next week, I baked up some hearty and sweet challah! Enjoy (the recipe). My classmates and I already ate it 🙂

Rosh Hashanah Challah (vegetarian)

Makes 2 large round loaves or 4 small loaves

2 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 C)
1 T active dry yeast
1/2 cup, plus 1 T honey
4 T vegetable oil
4 eggs (2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, reserve 2 egg whites for eggwash)
1 T salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 to 1 cup raisins (optional)

Gather your ingredients

1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks, 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 quarters and roll out each ball of dough (8 total). Add raisins to each piece of flat dough and then roll into logs toward you. Let stand for 10 minutes under a damp cloth.
3. After they have risen a bit, pull and roll logs out gently and as long as possible into snakes. Braid 4 snake strands each into round, woven challah (per step by step directions here). Grease two baking trays and place finished rounds on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly beat the remaining 2 egg whites plus 1 T honey and brush a generous amount over each round.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Cover with foil after 20 minutes if too much browning occurs. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing/serving.

The braiding makes it so fancy looking!

My reaction: this challah was heartier and a little dryer because of the half whole wheat/half white flour combo. I’m glad I didn’t use all whole wheat! The raisins added perfect little bursts of sweetness…I used about 1/2 cup and would probably up that a bit more. Also, I brushed the loaves with a little oil and covered with foil after about 20 minutes of baking because the egg white/honey combo was drying out the tops a bit. For my first challah attempt, I really liked it, and I hope my classmates did, too!

Essential to proper bread making: cute apron!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: A Taste of the Food System « Motor City Girl in the Steel City

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: