Monday, June 18, 2007


Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?

Who must know the way to make a proper home,
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family and run the home,
So Papa's free to read the holy books?

-Fiddler on the Roof

Challah was one of the first breads I ever remember baking. For the first couple years I made it my mom kneaded the dough because I'd get tired and bored, but it was always fun braiding the doughs together, and my mother would invariably end up singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof at least half the time. That seems to have been passed on to me as we made two different Challah recipes in class today. I was singing "Tradition" in my head all day. It got a little old, but I was feeling very nostalgic about memories of family baking, so I kept a smile on my face the whole day.

Challah bread, as most people may know, is a Jewish bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. It is a rich bread or an egg bread and it makes excellent French Toast. We did two different types of Challah, one was a simple egg dough, the other was slightly richer and contained saffron, one of the most expensive spices in culinary. Chef told us in his culinary career thus far, the most he's ever paid for Saffron is $180.00 for 1 ounce. That's about 3/4 of a cup. Why are they so expensive? Saffron comes from a crocus flower. They look like a very thick hair on the outside and must be hand picked to preserve them, making them highly labor intensive. It gives off a subtle flavor and an orange color.

Personally, I think the recipe I've been making since I was 10 years old is the greatest thing ever and doesn't compare to the recipes I did today. My recipe is a lot richer, or maybe I just think it is. So, here's a treat! I'm actually going to post a recipe! I know I don't do this often, but this is one of the greatest recipes of all time, so I want people to know it. Traditiiioonn!


2 Packages dry or compressed yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup light oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8-9 cups flour
1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and pinch of salt
Poppy seeds

Sprinkle yeast over water and mix with a fork until yeast is disolved. Blend in sugar, salt, oil, and eggs. Beat in 4 cups of flour until mixture is smooth. Mix in about 4 more cups to make a soft, workable dough. Knead for 10-12 minutes on floured board. Place in a warm, greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and towel and set aside to triple in bulk-1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let it rest for 10 minutes.
You can form these guys anyway you want, in loaves or braids. I usually did an easy three braid, it doesn't hurt or frustrate. :)
Form, cover, and set aside to double-45 minutes.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppyseed.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Best in the City! Enjoy!


Maria said...

It's so beautiful, Joanny!!!

Yehudit said...

I love your challah post. The linking the tradition to Jewish culture and a yummy receipe for all of us to try and taste.

Yehudit said...

I love your challah post. Linking the tradition to Jewish culture with a yummy recipe for all of us to try and taste. Thank you. Can't wait to taste.