By Meredith Jacobs
(Harper), Meredith L. Jacobs
I remember so clearly when I learned to make this challah. My daughter, the one who I just took to college for her freshman year, was in pre-school. It was right around the High Holidays. I walked down the school stairs and the air was filled with the warm smell of fresh challah. Her teacher had made it for the class and then distributed recipes to the moms. I thought it would be a wonderful idea to make challah with my children--help them get involved in the preparation and also, playing with dough would help their fine motor development. I made the dough, divided it in two and gave half to my then 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. I helped them roll each half into long ropes and then circle it around and around (as if you were rolling a rag rug).
The process took all day (I've since learned how to make challot much faster--of course, it's faster when you're not being assisted by a 2 and 4-year-old). But there was nothing like the smell of the challah baking or the taste of the homemade challah. As my mother always said, the house felt like yontif. And that challah was the first in years of weekly homemade challah that brought family and friends to my table each week.
2 cups lukewarm water
3/4-cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 envelopes yeast (each envelope is equal to 2 1/4 teaspoons, so three envelopes is approximately 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon yeast)
1/4-cup lukewarm water
8-10 cups bread flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine sugar, 2 cups water, oil and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the eggs to the sugar mixture.
In a separate cup, mix the yeast in 1/4 cup water. Make sure the water is warm--not cold or hot. Then add the yeast mixture to the first mixture.
Add 4 or 5 cups of flour and mix well. Gradually add 4 or 5 more cups of flour. By judging the feel you will know how much more to add--if the mixture is sticky, add more flour; if it's dry and stringy, add a little water. At this point, it may be easier to mix with your hands than with a spoon.
Now you're ready to knead. Knead dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth.
Once you're finished kneading, pour a little bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and wipe it around the inside of a clean bowl. Put the dough in the oiled bowl and flip the dough over so both sides get a little bit of oil on them. Lay a piece of wax paper over the bowl and then place a dish fowl on top of that. Allow to rise for an hour.
After an hour, punch down and knead for a few minutes. Allow to rise for second time for another 1/2 hour.
After 1/2 hour, braid to shape into traditional round High Holiday loaf (do this on a cookie sheet). Drizzle honey on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.
Enjoy! And from my family to yours, have a very sweet New Year.
Yield: 2-3 loaves
Recipes: Kosher, parve, challah, bread
No time to make Challah dough, no problem!
To purchase click here: Zojirushi Bread Maker (Amazon).
Selecting a Breadmaker can be confusing.
Especially if one has not previously owned a bread machine. So many choices - one paddle or two? vertical loaves or horizontal loaves? A machine that makes a 1 lb. loaf or a 2 lb. loaf? Size of the actual machine? Ease of use? Settings? Decisions... decisions... decisions!
So let's talk! We have recently tested the newest model, of the Zojirushi (pronounced zo-jih-ROO-shee) bread maker, the Virtuoso BB-PAC 20. In fact, since we have grown so attached to it, let's use its nickname, the Zo. It has moved to a position front and center in our kitchen, right up there with our stand mixer, Vitamix, Coffee Maker, and food processor. Not only are we busily making whole wheat bread for weekday sandwiches, challah for Shabbos, and cinnamon rolls (yumm) much too often, but we have also made jam. strawberry jam to be exact. So simple! Making jam was so easy, that we plan to progress to blueberry and peach jam later this summer.
Yes, the Zo is an investment ($275), but if you have the counter or pantry space available, and if you love fresh bread and preserves, we think that it is well worth the price. If you use it often, studies have indicated that over time, homemade bread costs substantially less than store-bought bread, and is, of course, healthier, (We guess that depends on your ingredient choices.)
Why did we select Zojirushi? – We compared many popular bread machines, some less costly, but liked the features on the Zo. The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker (BBBAC20). If you plan to become a regular breadmaker...these features are important.
The Virtuoso bakes a traditional, horizontal-shaped 1 ½ - 2-lb. loaf, has dual kneading blades, 13-hour delay timer, easy to read clock, and many varied menus settings-including basic bread, wheat bread, gluten-free bread, sourdough starter, dough, jam, cake, quick bread and 3 homemade settings for custom recipes. Trust me, we are not techies, but the accompanying recipe book offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for each setting. Additionally, the Virtuoso has an exclusive lid heater, which makes even baking and proper browning possible. The dual paddles ensure thorough mixing and kneading and result in a higher rise. The bread pan includes easy-lift handles, ensuring quick and safe loaf removal of the loaves. And there is a large window to watch what's happening.
And, we must share one of our favorite features..the 13-hour delay timer – which allows us to go to bed and wake up to fresh homemade bread in the morning. Sounds so good, doesn't it? Yes, it's truly amazing. We also especially like the dough cycle, which is perfect for mixing up a batch of cinnamon buns, challah, and rolls.
We find the 2 lb. size loaf convenient, some to slice, some to store and even some to freeze. For Shabbos challah, the Zo delivers fresh challah in a hurry on a Friday morning. One 90-minute cycle provides enough dough to make two 1 lb. loaves. We shape them, place them in loaf pans or on our Silpat mat, let them rise for 1 hour, and bake for 30 minutes. Done! By the way, for those readers who are gluten-free, the Zo even offers a setting for you. So, dear readers, if you are in the market for a breadmaker, do consider the ZO, and share your thoughts (and recipes) with us.
To purchase click here: Zojirushi Bread Maker (Amazon).
*This is not a sponsored post. All recommended products are Koshereye tested. We hope to only provide you with amazing Kosher products and recipes. Koshereye may make a small commission if you purchase a product through our Amazon links.