Saturday, January 22, 2011


My family and i try to celebrate Shabbat every Friday night.  We are not a very religious family but I love having a nice Shabbat dinner with my favorite people,  it is a great way to end a long week.  We say a few prayers and eat a really nice dinner. I try to bake home made Challah every Friday night!  Of course there are Fridays I just don't have the time for baking.  There is nothing better than homemade Challah.  We have some really great Bakery's around here and still nothing compares to home made Challah.

This recipe comes from a great book I found many years ago. It is called "The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat" by Meredith L. Jacobs.  It has some recipes in it but it also gives some really nice ideas of how to incorporate the kids into Shabbat like making crafts and other activities as well.

Here is what you'll need:

  • 2 packages of Yeast
  • 7 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt (don't forget this..I have before and it was a BIG mistake)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup Canola or Vegetable oil

In a small bowl pour 2 cups warm water over the two packages of yeast and stir once, very gently.

Let sit with a plate over the bowl for a few minutes.  This is a very important part and if you don't activate the yeast properly it will not rise.

Here it is activated!!
Bubbly and smells like yeast.

 Now beat two eggs and one egg white together.  Leave the remaining egg yolk to the side.  
This will be used to coat the Challah before baking.

Now combine the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and salt to the yeast and water mixture.

Now add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix together.

Once mixed add the oil and the rest of the flour and  mix again.  This will be difficult to mix with anything other than your hands so dig in and get ready to get sticky!!!!

You will have to start to knead it on a floured counter top. 

Once combined and shaped into a large ball, add 1 tbsp of oil and with a paper towel spread the oil all over the bowl.

Now warm your oven to 200 degrees and then shut it off.  Take a kitchen towel and wet it with hot water. Wring the towel out and place the towel over the bowl and place the bowl in the warm oven which is now off.

Let this sit for 1 hour.  After one hour take the bowl out of the oven and hopefully the dough has risen. It usually doubles in size , maybe a little less.
(if it has not risen you still have a chance to save it)

Punch the dough down and reposition the dough in the bowl, even if your dough has not this step sometimes it just needs to be moved and it will rise the second time. Don't ask why...because I have no idea.. 

Warm the oven again and shut it off.

Then wring the towel out with hot water again and place back into the oven and let it sit for a half hour.

Again the dough should have risen to twice its size maybe a little less.

My baking Cutie!!!!

 Now place the risen dough on a floured surface.

My little cutie got her own dough to play with..what fun!!!

Now cut the dough in half.

Then cut the half of the dough into thirds

Roll each piece of dough into even strips

Now its time to braid the dough.  Pinch the three rolled pieces together and braid the pieces together.

Now pinch the other end of the braided bread

Now do the same step to the other dough.

Place the braided breads onto greased baking trays.

Warm your oven once again to 200 degrees and shut off. Now place the breads into the warm oven to rise...this should take about 30 to 45 minutes.

Nobody ever said home baked bread was easy.  It is definitely a labor of Love..But so worth it!

Once the breads have risen.  Take them out of the oven.  Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Now take the reserved egg yolk and with a pastry brush the yolk over the breads.

Place the breads in the 350 degree oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.  The breads should be browned on the top and bottom.

There you have Home Made Challah.  
It is not an easy thing to make but it is so rewarding to watch your family enjoy every morsel.

Shabbat Shalom!

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