Challah!

With Rosh ha Shana almost upon us, I thought you it would be nice to re-publish one of my favorite challah recipes.

This is the most important mitzvah for a Jewish woman – backing and taking the challah. It’s way past midnight and I am too tired to write, but had to post this picture, mostly for my girls to see 🙂
This one, specifically for my dad, has olives inside. For me – zata’ar.
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1.5 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar or honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
2 tsp salt
3 cups regular white flour (sifted)
1.5 cups whole wheat flour (sifted)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped olives
1 tbsp za’atar
In a cup mix dry yeast with honey and warm water. Let stand for about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a big mixing bowl put together eggs, honey, salt, oil and half the flour and mix it. Gradually add the rest of the flour. Don’t forget to add the yeast mixture 🙂
Once the dough starts forming a ball, knead it adding the flour so it forms nicely and stops sticking to your hands. Closer to the end add olives and za’atar and knead a little more to incorporate them.Oil the dough ball, cover the bowl with plastic, parchment or foil and a kitchen towel and put it on a warm surface for about an hour.
For best results use this hour for Dvar Torah!
Prepare baking Sheets that are large enough to hold two or three challot depending on the size you want. This amount of dough should be enough for 2 nice sized ones.Split the dough in half and each half in 3 parts. Roll each part with your hands to form long rolls and make braided challot. Put them far enough from each other on a baking sheet.
If you want them to shine, brush them with egg wash with a pastry brush and sprinkle with more za’atar or just sesame seeds. Leave them in a warm place for another 40 minutes or so. Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for about 30-35 min. To get the nicely golden color, first, preheat the oven to 410 F, put the challah in for about 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 F and continue baking until done. If you gather your friends and have 3 times as much flour, you get a chance to say a brachah for a challah – the biggest mitzvah a woman can do. (you can’t do this alone unless you bake challot for a family of 10)
Well, it’s been some time since I first written this post and I’ve baked many challot since then. I have to say that I tried a few recipes, made them with raisins, plain, poppy seeds, olives, etc.Challot
I believe that this one is the best recipe. You need to have about 1/3 of the whole wheat flour vs. regular white. Then, the challah will be soft, rise well and you will want more. Not too big a sin against your health/weight watching considering we only eat bread once a week for Shabbat.

So, Challah it is!

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