Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Apple Challah (P)

Apple Challah (P)
Yield: Makes 2 9" round loaves or two 8-1/2"x4-1/2" loaves

  • 2 envelopes instant yeast
  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling the pan and for topping
  • 2-1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 large or approximately 4 medium baking apples

In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 1 cup of the flour, then whisk in the warm water until smooth. Let the slurry stand uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.

Whisk the eggs, oil, salt, and sugar into the puffed yeast slurry until the eggs are well-incorporated and the salt and sugar have dissolved. With your hands or a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining 4 cups flour all at once.

When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface and knead it until it is smooth and firm, no more than 10 minutes. If the dough is too firm to knead easily, add a tbsp. or two of water to it; if it seems too wet, add a few tbsp. of flour.

Place the dough in a warm clean bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let ferment for 1 hour, or until just slightly puffed. While the dough is fermenting, prepare the apples.

Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut each quarter lengthwise in half, then cut each slice crosswise in half if the apple was medium size, or into three pieces if the apple was large; you should end up with large squarish chunks.

Measure out 4-1/2 heaping cups of chunks and transfer them to a covered container.

Sprinkle the dough and your work surface with flour and pull the dough out of the bowl. Cut the dough into two equal pieces and keep one piece covered while you work with the other. Roll out the dough into a 16" square, approximately 1/8" thin.

Scatter 1 heaping cup of the apples over the center third of the dough, then fold up the bottom third to cover them. Press the dough into the apples to try to seal it around them. Scatter another heaping cup over the folded-over apple-filled portion of the dough and fold the top of the dough over it to create a very stuffed letter fold.

Press down on the dough to try to push out any air pockets and to seal it around the apples.

Roll the dough to form a short side into a chunky cylinder, push the dough into the bowl with the smooth side up, and cover it with plastic wrap. Repeat with the other piece of dough and put it in a second covered bowl or other container.

Let the dough ferment for approximately another hour, or until slightly risen and very soft.

Oil two 8" round cake pans or 8-1/2"x4-1/2" loaf pans. Using as much dusting flour as you need, pat each dough half as best as you can into a rough round or log shape, trying to keep the dough's smooth skin intact over the top. You will not be able to deflate the dough much at this point because of the apples.

Slip the dough into the pans smooth side up and cover well with plastic wrap. (The shaped loaves can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, which will only intensify their flavor.) Let the loaves proof until they have risen over the edges of their pans, approximately 30 minutes (or up to 1-1/2 hours if the loaves have been refrigerated.).

Immediately after shaping the reads (or 30 minutes before baking if the loaves have been refrigerated), arrange an oven rack in the lower third position, remove any racks above it, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

When the loaves have risen and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, brush each one with a generous tbsp. of oil, then sprinkle them with a few tbsp. of sugar to form a sugary-oily crust. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 40 minutes of baking, switch the pans from front to back so that the breads brown evenly. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven, unmold them, and let them cool on a rack.

Great Challah Recipes.

I did not peel the apples.

The coating with oil and sugar sounded messy to me, so I simply brushed with egg white, as usual.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Thanksgiving turkey with challah!

Thanksgiving turkey with challah!



  • 1 10-12 pound turkey
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 4 cups cubed challah
  • 1/4 cup oil or margarine
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup canned mushrooms, drained and finely diced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper


  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste



1. Buy a turkey large enough for family and friends - at least a pound for each person. Then add a few extra pounds for leftovers.
2. A frozen turkey will take 24 hours to defrost for every five pounds.

Defrost in the refrigerator; Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. A 20-pound turkey will take 4 days to defrost.

3. Rinse turkey and pat dry.
4. Place sliced onions and celery on bottom of roasting pan. Add water and salt, then place a rack over vegetables.

1. Soak
challah in hot water until soft, squeeze out water.
2. Heat margarine in skillet. Saute vegetables for about 5 minutes.
3. Mix challah and vegetables. Add beaten eggs and spices. Mix well.
4. Stuff into turkey. Bake extra stuffing in greased dish along with turkey, basting with drippings.

Cooking and Basting:

1. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan.
2. Place in a preheated 325 degrees Fahrenheit oven.
3. Baste with the oil and spice mixture to ensure the turkey will be evenly browned.
4. When the skin is a light golden color and the turkey is about two-thirds done, shield the breast loosely with a tent of lightweight foil to prevent overcooking of the breast.
5. Cook until juices run clear. The turkey is done when 180 degrees Fahrenheit is reached in the thigh, 160 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast, or 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the stuffing. Some recommend cooking 15-20 minutes a pound (less if the turkey is unstuffed and more if it is stuffed), but using a meat thermometer is the best method for knowing how long to cook the turkey.
6. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before carving.

Sweet Challah Bread

I have always made my own challah and the one time I tried a sweet challah recipe my family didn't like it and asked me to go back to the same old challah I always make. Well, I found this recipe and tried and everyone in the family LOVED it. Now it's the only recipe I use.

From: "The Jewish Holiday Baker"by Joan Nathan

This is what I call the ultimate challah. Adapted from Brizel's Bakery in Jerusalem, the bread was perfected with the help of Jack Wayne of West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, who comes from a long line of bakers in Lodz, Poland, once a center of Jewish customs and traditions. Zingerman's Bake House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, makes a variation of this crusty, chestnut-colored loaf and mail-orders it throughout the United States.

When you are making this challah, be sure to perform the mitzvah of setting aside about an ounce of the dough (see note). You can throw it away, or wrap it in aluminum foil as some religious bakers do and place it in the oven. Some people save all these challah-offerings and burn them right before Passover. Then take another piece of dough, fill it with jam as they did in Eastern Europe, and bake it for the hungry adult or child who, smelling the aroma of fresh bread, can't wait for the Sabbath to begin.

This recipe calls for two kinds of flour. Bread flour includes more gluten, helpful in the braiding. However, if you can find only all-purpose flour, use that. It also calls for 1/2 - 3/4 cup of sugar, because I like my challah less sweet than many challah eaters, even in my family! If you are going to use just one loaf, perform another mitzvah -- give away the second.

If you are making a month of challahs, as I sometimes do, double the recipe and freeze several just after braiding them. Take them out of the freezer 5 hours before glazing and baking.

1 scant tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs
5 cups bread flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
approximately 1 tablespoon salt
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling

Note: Technically, the separation of challah with a blessing, according to the Talmud, refers only to dough using flour that weighs at least 3 pounds 11 ounces. If the flour weighs less than 2 pounds 11 ounces, you do not have to separate the challah at all, and if it weighs more than 2 pounds 11 ounces and less than 3 pounds 11 ounces, you can separate it without a blessing. The challah is usually blessed after the flour, yeast, water, and other ingredients are mixed.

The dough

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar and the oil and mix well with a whisk or a wooden spoon. Beat in 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time; then gradually stir in the bread flour, 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, and the salt. When you have a dough that holds together, it is ready for kneading.

2. To knead by hand, place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead well, using the heels of your hands to press the dough away and your fingers to bring it back. Continue, turning the dough, for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding the remaining 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour or as needed.

To knead by machine in an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, knead for 5 minutes on medium speed, or until smooth. You can also process half the dough at a time in a food processor fitted with the steel blade; process for about 1 minute.

3. After kneading, place all the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. You can also put the dough in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees for a few minutes and then turned off.

4. When the dough is almost doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and punch it down -- the rougher you are, the more the dough likes it. Return it to the bowl, cover it again and let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes more. Or, if you have to go out, let the dough rise slowly in the refrigerator several hours or overnight and bring it to room temperature when ready to continue.

Braiding and baking the challah

5. To make a 6-braided challah, take half the dough and form into 6 balls. Roll each ball with your hands into a strand about 14 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Pinch the strands together at one end and then gently spread them into 2 groups of 3.

Next, take the outside right strand over 2 to the middle empty space. Then, take the second strand from the left to the far right. Regroup to 3 on each side. Take the outside left strand over 2 to the middle and the second strand from the right over to the far left. Continue this method until all the strands are braided. The key is to always have 3 strands on each side so that you can keep your braid balanced. Make a second loaf the same way. Place the braided loaves in greased 10- by 4-inch loaf pans or on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.

To make loaves symbolizing the 12 shewbread, the consecrated loaves placed on the altar in the Temple of Jerusalem, shape one half of the dough into 12 tight balls and press them together in the bottom of a greased 10- by 4- inch loaf pan. Repeat with the second half of the dough in another pan.

6. Let the challah loaves rise another hour, uncovered. Fifteen minutes before putting the loaves in the oven, beat the remaining egg and brush it gently over them. Five minutes later, lightly brush them again. Then sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds and let dry a few minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the loaves on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more. Turn off the oven and leave the loaves in 5 minutes longer to get a dark-golden crust. Remove and cool on a rack.

Yield: 2 loaves

Variation: Zingerman's Bake House holiday tip
Soak 3/4 cup dark raisins and 1/4 cup yellow raisins in 6 tablespoons dark rum for 1 hour or more. Add the rum-soaked raisins with any leftover rum to the dough after 5 minutes of kneading, adding a few tablespoons more flour to absorb the liquid. If you are using a mixer or food processor, work the raisins in by hand.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How to prepare Shabbos Dinner

A Taste of Shabbos

56K - 100K - 300K
Running Time: 59:13

The Complete Format for the Traditional Shabbat Dinner
Rebbetzin Esther Winner and Helen Zegerman Schwimmer
More than just a cooking video, A Taste of Shabbos presents the historic and cultural background of the foods and traditions that make the Shabbat such a meaningful experience.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Challah Recipes

Challah or hallahis a traditional Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays (except Passover, when leavened bread is not allowed). This association with Judaism is most prevalent in the United States, as challah is also a traditional bread in numerous European countries, such as Hungary, among local non-Jewish peasant populations. Also see: Challah Recipes On Shabbat every Jew is commanded to eat three meals (one on Friday night and two on Saturday). In Judaism, a "meal" includes bread. Hence, Jews will traditionally eat challah at the beginning of their Shabbat meal. As with any other type of bread, the blessing "Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha'olam, hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz" is recited before the challah is eaten. Translated, it means "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth." The dough is made with an especially large number of eggs, and sweetened with honey. The dough is traditionally cut into three rope-shaped pieces and then braided together before baking. An egg wash is applied to the dough to give a golden color after being baked. Poppy or sesame seeds are sprinkled on the bread before baking; the seeds represent manna that God gave to the Israelites to eat while they wandered in the desert. On Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, raisins are added to the dough and the Challah is braided into a special crown shape, representing God's crown. The name refers to a small piece of dough which is reserved and baked separately. This is done in commemoration of when the temple stood in Israel. Originally, during temple times, the dough was given to a Cohen (priest). Since the destruction, the dough is burned and thrown away after a special prayer is said.