It’s funny, the kind of food you fall in love with. I grew up in a pretty Christian neighbourhood, but not too far away was a big Jewish area, and that always had a strong pull for me. Early Sunday mornings were spent buying bagels, and words do not begin to describe my love of lox. But it wasn’t until high school, when I became friends with a Jewish girl and started being invited regularly to Sabbath dinners when I really started to appreciate the food of that culture.
I don’t ever eat Jewish food now, because there pretty much are no Jewish people in Vancouver.
I mean, there are a few. But it’s slim pickings.
Which is why I found myself on a hot summer day making challah.
Challah is brioches sister, the prettier sister.
The main difference is that there is no dairy in challah, instead the eggy dough has olive oil added to it, instead of butter- this keeps it Kosher, but as I don’t keep Kosher (as I’m not Jewish) I slather butter on mine once it’s cooked.
This will also make the best damn French toast you have ever had.
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 tbsp Dry Yeast
1 3/4 cup Luke Warm Water
1 tbsp Honey
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 tbsp Salt
7-9 cups AP Flour
1/4 cup Sesame or Poppy Seeds (optional)
In a large bowl mix together the yeast, water and honey. You can also do this in the bowl of a standing mixer.
When it starts to get foamy add in the oil and 4 eggs, stir to combine.
Slowly add in the flour.
I only needed 7 cups, but you may need more. Once the flour is combined, begin to knead.
If you use you’re Kitchenaid it may be a bit much for your machine- I am lazy and didn’t want to knead it, so I split the dough in two and did it that way.
I drank a glass of wine.
Put the dough in a greased bowl. Let is rise for an hour, then punch it down, and let is rise for another half hour.
Divide the dough into two portions. You can make them into loaves, braided loaves, buns (the best hamburger buns!).
I did a 6 piece braid, which is the classic way to make challah. I could try to explain it to you, but I would probably nto do a very good job. does a great one though- at about 2;12 the braiding part of the tutorial starts.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Mix together your remaining egg with a pinch of salt. Brush it on the top of your loaf. Allow it to sit for another 20 minutes, and then brush again. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and it feels hollow when you tap it.
Allow to cool completely before slicing into it!