It seems like a simple recipe but there’s so much Jewish history and love behind it. This particular Challah recipe was given to my guest, Dr. Beth Ricanati by a good friend of hers many years ago in a class at the JCC on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Please enjoy the experience of baking this Challah and of course sharing in the eating!
- 2 1/4 tsp Yeast loose
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 cup warm water almost too warm, but not hot!
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup oil
- 4+ cups flour
- Mix yeast, sugar & warm water together in small bowl (1); let stand ~ 10 min. This mixture will start to bubble.Meanwhile, in a lg mixing bowl, mix eggs, salt, sugar, oil & 2 c flour together (2). Now is a great time to say, “I am making this dough in the merit of _____ (name someone…maybe a friend who is sick that week, or someone you are happy for, sad for, mad at, etc.)
Add yeast mixture (1) to flour mixture (2). Add ~ 1½ cups of flour to mixture. Dough should start to form a ball, separating from the bowl.Place dough on a floured surface & knead, lifting up with one hand & then the other. Knead at least 5 mins as dough becomes increasingly elastic. If still sticky, add a bit more flour to dough. Knead dough into a ball.Place dough back into oiled bowl, cover & place bowl somewhere warm for 1 – 1½ hours to rise, ~ doubling in volume.Preheat oven to 375º. Remove cover from bowl, place dough on floured surface. Take a small piece of dough (~size of an egg), double wrap in plastic wrap & say the prayer over separating the challah (technically only say if more than 5 lbs of flour used, but more on that later)*. Discard this piece of wrapped dough & cont.Punch out dough one more time. Cut dough in half, one for each challah. Then divide each half into 3 equal pcs. Roll out each piece, crimp together at the top and braid into a loaf. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with second ball of dough. May let rise again at this step.Paint each challah with a mixture made of egg yolk plus a little water. Bake ~ 25 – 30 mins, or until bread rises & is golden brown. Remove, cool. Place challah on platter, cover and wait for Shabbas dinner. Eat and enjoy!*Baruch Ata A-Do-Nay Elo-haynu Melech Ha-Olam Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvotav V’Tziyvanu L”Hafrish Challah. (Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to separate the Challah.)