Tag Archives: Challah

So Much

Ohman ohman ohmy.  So much to cover.

 

I know, i promised a more thorough thought through the horrors of bullying, but you know what, i’m sure my viewpoint on that is not going to be anything that anybody really wants to hear, so we’ll just let it go.

 

Although if somebody decides they are dying to know my opinion on Bullying, just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to write something more up.

 

However, there are other things.

 

First off, I have a job interview!  Tuesday morning at 10am.

 

I will not jinx this by saying much more than that, but please if you are a believer in finger crossing, I would greatly appreciate the cramped knuckles in my general direction (for most of you this is down).

 

Ok, you can let go now.  No, seriously.  It’s ok. You can let go.  Well I didn’t ask you to get your fingers stuck, now did I?

 

Sheesh.

 

Alright, in other adventures, we haven’t really trekked or tramped anywhere of much lately, been busy meeting the friends, planning my domination of his house (nearly complete), and cooking on the weekends.  Sometimes the food is stellar, other times not so much.

 

Sometimes, we have meals that are halfway there between stellar and average.  Like tonight.  Tonight was store bought chicken skewers with butternut squash.  I tried to season the squash savory, but I really didn’t like the results.  It also cooled far too long.  the skewers, however, were just barely tolerable.  High levels of salt, mostly fat and sinew, and the flavor was eh.  Not a repeat purchase.

 

Today, however, was a successful day in the kitchen.  I took the leftover Challah and turned it into a rather tasty bread pudding (yes a sweet treat that even E will eat), and then tonight, discovering the tomatoes that we bought last week still lingering in our fridge, I decided to try my hand at tomato soup.

 

I peeled, seeded and sliced the tomatoes, I sauteed up some red onion in olive oil and butter, added in garlic, and some spices, and then stewed everything in some vegetable broth.  after the tomatoes had broken down and the liquid had reduced by almost half, I poured it into my new Food Processor (YESSSSSSS) and pureed it up.

 

POOF

 

Tomato soup.  Fascinating.  I was going to let E take it to work tomorrow, but he still has Hot & sour soup leftovers that he has to finish up.  So I get the Tomato soup tomorrow for lunch.

 

Score!

 

I might make myself some rice to put into it.  Shocking!

 

hmm.

 

that’s about it for the moment, but yes.  If you are a thinking, praying, hoping, wishing, finger crossing and uncrossing, kind thoughts type of person, send some of that magic karma my way on Tuesday 10am  (that’s around 5pm EST Monday).

 

I’m gonna need the good vibes.

Challah

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of making this blog something of a food thing.  I talk about my food, I post pictures and recipes and make you all jealous.

 

But I thought that might be a bit cruel of me. Plus, I just can’t seem to get myself organized enough to make this blog look the way I want it to look.  At least, not just yet.  So, You are going to be subjected to my randomness while I try to make things work out.

 

that being said, today, we are going to make bread. Challah bread to be exact.  what is Challah?  Challah is a traditional Jewish egg bread.  My family version is made with honey and we often add raisins to the braids.  But the bread that we are making today is not the raisin kind.  Challah is traditionally braided for most normal occasions, like the Sabbath.  But on Rosh Hashanah the Challah is braided and then formed and baked into a circle to symbolize the never ending circle of life.  Challah is typically eaten plain, although it can be slathered in butter and drizzled with honey.  Some places will even use Challah as French toast!  Madness (delicious madness!)

 

So, now that the talky talky part is over, let’s start with making the ingredients!

 

 

What you need is flour, water (not pictured), sugar, yeast, eggs, salt, honey, and vegetable oil.  Don’t worry about the amounts yet, we’ll get to those in a little bit.

 

In one bowl, you take your sugar, lukewarm water and your yeast, and you combine them in a process called ‘blooming’.  I learned that from watching Emeril.  A long time ago.  Basically, you make certain the sugar is dissolved and the yeast is well mixed in. Let it bubble and double until the combination looks frothy and foamy. Like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, combine your hot water, salt, oil, and honey.  let it cool down just slightly and then add in your eggs.  Beat until well combined.  It will be a bit frothy.    And look like this:

 

 

Once this is done, your yeast (if you did it right) should be bubbly and frothy and yummy.  Just pour the yeast into the liquids and combine.  Then, you start adding your flour, 1 cup at a time.

 

Eventually, your dough will start to form.

 

 

From there, turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead until elastic and fun.  Yes, you will need more flour.  I never really use all of the flour that the recipe calls for, but I do use most of it.  I’ve found that hand mixing the dough uses less flour than when I used to make this in a mixer.

 

Your dough should be elastic and smooth.  At this point, take another bowl (yes there are a lot of bowls used in this. I’m up to four total) and grease it up. I use vegetable oil.  Place your ball of dough into the bowl and make sure that all sides of the dough are also covered in oil.

 

 

At this point, I cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and set it up to rise.  Usually on top of the microwave near the oven.  The oven which I’ve had warming up to about 100C.  That’s not going to be the baking temperature, but I wanted the kitchen to be nice and warm.

 

 

Leave the bread to rise for about an hour or until double in bulk.  Now comes the fun part.

 

On your still floured surface, knead out your dough one more time for about five minutes.  Then, you split your dough into 3 equal parts.  Or as equal as you can get them.

 

 

No, they’re not really even or equal.  Nobody’s perfect.  I like to divide the dough naturally, but I suppose you could slice it into three equal parts. I just don’t like to be mean like that.

 

Prepare to braid!

 

 

I am anticipating any and all jokes and finding none of them to be funny.

 

Braid away!  Just like you would braid hair. If you’re a guy and trying to do this and you don’t know how to braid hair? Well, I am unfortunately not the best tutor for that type of instruction. Youtube might help?

 

 

Now, once again you let your bread rest for an hour, or until double in size.  What happens then?  Well for me, I like to use a milk wash, but most recipes will tell you to use an egg wash.  Either way is up to you.  But you wash your bread.  And then you put it into the oven at 325 F ( I don’t know my conversions very well) for about 45 minutes.  The bread should be golden brown and sound hollow when it comes out of the oven.

 

 

And that, my loves, Is how to make Challah.  And now, the Recipe!

 

 

Honey Challah (all measurements are in US terms)

4.5-5 cups of flour

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1.5 packets of yeast, or 1.5 tbsp yeast

1 cup hot water, not boiling

1 tsp salt

3 eggs

3 tbsp honey

2 tbsp oil

 

–In a small bowl combine lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast together. Set aside until doubled, about ten minutes.

–Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine hot water, salt, honey, and oil together. Let cool slightly. Add in eggs. Beat to combine.

–Stir yeast mixture into liquid mixture until just combined.

–Begin adding flour into liquids one cup at a time.  Dough should form easily and begin to pull away from sides of the bowl like a sticky mess. Add more flour until stirring with anything other than your hands is not an option.

–Flour a clean surface and turn out dough onto flour.  Continue to add flour to dough as necessary, kneading as you go.

–Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  time vary but approximately 6 minutes.

–You will most likely have flour leftover, do not worry, this is normal, save it to the side.

–Oil a large mixing bowl and place your doughball inside the bowl, coating it all over with oil.  Cover with a damn cloth and let rise for one hour in a warm place.

–Dough should be double in volume. gently knock it down and turn out onto the still floured surface.  Knead for about five minutes more and then divide into three equal (or as equal as possible) portions.

–Shape three portions into long rolls, lay them out side by side on your counter and pinch one end together.  Braid and pinch the final end.

–Place braid onto your cookie sheet and cover once again with a damn towel. allow to rise another hour or until double in bulk. Preheat your oven at this time to 325 F.

–top with a wash. Egg and water, egg and milk, just milk, whatever you desire.

–Place bread into the oven for 45 minute, or until golden. Bread should sound hollow when tapped.

–Slice, butter, honey drizzle, enjoy. Share with family and friends, if you feel like it.

 

 

There are variations with raisin filling, but that will come at a later point.  For now, enjoy your challah!

Menu Planning

So, we went food shopping last night.  and now my fridge is full of wonderfully delicious stuff.  mostly meat and veggies.  So, now I have to figure out what I’m going to do with it all this week!

 

last night, I hardboiled some eggs, so I think I’ll mix up some egg salad for tomorrow’s lunch.

 

I’ll take the 3lbs of ground beef (or the 1.5kg of mince roughly) and split it up into two packets.  One might be used to make some hamburgers later this week.  Maybe I can use the other to make some hamburger soup?  Or possibly some individual sized meatloafs! I have muffin tins now!

 

The chicken will be split up, half will be frozen, the other half will be cut up and slipped into some tandoori marinade.  Haven’t had tandoori in almost two weeks! Time to fix that!  maybe the other chicken will go into the freezer for use later in the weeks with some chicken soup!

 

I have a new food processor! So maybe I’ll take a night and make some carrot soup!  I might need to go get some potatoes and possibly a small squash to add to it.  we bough like 2kg of carrots last night!

 

Plenty of greens for soups and salads, and that’s not even counting the steaks that we have! Not to mention the cans of tuna for casserole and salad.

 

Now I should just get a brick of cheese and a slicer, so I can make some grilled cheese and tomato soup and that’s almost a full week right there!  At least!

 

OOH!

 

Challah’s Out of the oven!

 

I promise there will be a post containing the recipe and pictures to come later!  but here’s a sneak peek!

 

Lazy Lassie

Do you know what’s nice?

 

Nothing.

 

Nothing is nice. Laying about and doing nothing.  Oh sure, we got some chores done, like the dishes.  And yeah, we went out and did grocery shopping and the like.  But overall, nothing feels good.

 

Waking up, eating breakfast, and then going back for a mid morning nap.  waking up, having lunch, and then just lazing about.

 

It’s a fantastic way to spend a weekend.

 

Tomorrow, I bake some Challah.  E is probably going to go out on his motorbike for a short ride, or a long ride, and I am going to bake some bread.

 

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to make the bread.

 

I’ll post pictures and recipe and everything tomorrow night.

 

So. Excited.

 

Ok, enough excitement, back to being a lazy lazy lassie.