Friday, February 7, 2014

Making Challah

Every Friday I make challah, which is a traditional Jewish bread made with eggs. Now my husband and I aren't all that religious, but having a nice sit-down family meal on Friday nights is an important tradition to both of us. And having a nice challah is a part of that.

When I was a little girl, my parents and I went to my Bubbie and Grandpa's house every Friday night for dinner. Either my grandmother or my mother would bring a challah, but they were always store bough. Even after my grandmother passed away, and shabbos dinners moved to my parent's house, the challahs were always from a local bakery.

Before I got married, I'd made challah with my mother once or twice, but we never had the time to do it on a weekly basis. After I got married, I decided that I wanted to be the kind of woman who made her own challah every week.

And you know what, it was a lot easier (and less time consuming) that I thought!

I found a nice recipe on-line at and it's still the one I use every week. I'm not going to walk you through the every single step here, because you can just follow the link. Just a tip, I cut the recipe in half. There's only the two of us (unless you count the snake), and we were throwing a lot of bread away at the end of every week.

So, how do you make a challah?

Step 1: Gather all of your ingredients together.

We switched from the 5lbs bags of flour over to the 10lbs bags, because we were going through so much of it. Then my mom bought us a 25lbs bag from Sam's Club for something like $8! Thank you mom!

Step 2: Mix!

We got a KitchenAid stand mixer as a wedding gift. It was something that I had been drooling over for years, but it's a very expensive piece of equipment, and I couldn't justify the cost. But now that I have one, I don't know what I ever did without it!
Another tip, use a rubber-band to hold the "lock" switch in place. Trust me on this one. Especially if you're making a dough, that switch will not stay in place without a little extra help!

Step 3: Raise the Dough

It might take a few hours, but your dough should go from a tiny little ball (like the picture on the left) to an exploded looking dough-balloon (like the picture on the right).

Step 4: Braid!

One thing that I before I braid, is cut the dough in half and stick half in a loaf pan. That way, we'll have bread for sandwiches throughout the week.
It's taken me a long time to perfect my braiding technique, and the only tip I can give is to start in the middle. It might sound crazy, but trust me on this one, it'll come out so pretty!

Step 5: Bake it

The only thing left to do is to bake your challah! It'll be ready to come out of the oven when your whole apartment (or house, or igloo, or whatever) starts to smell like fresh baked bread! It's wonderful, and I've never had to set a timer for my bread!

So there you have it, 5 easy steps to a delicious challah! Enjoy and have a good Shabbos!

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