Sunday, August 17, 2008

Challah Rolls

Growing up, my mother would make Challah only sporadically. One holiday, when I was around sixteen, my mother made whole wheat honey challot (plural of challah). It was after that that I decided that I wanted to learn how to make challot. And learn I did. It's been over five years since then and my challot have come a long way. I used to bring my very first challot to the Friday night Shabbat meal and my father used to swing the heavy loaves like baseball bats. But after faithfully making challot every week (something I still do), tweaking my technique, I now can say that I make light and fluffy challot. Now I live in Israel, but when I'm at home (as I will be this Thursday!) I ALWAYS make the challot. I'm adamant that no bakery challot enter my house when I'm there. The commandment of baking challah is a special one that women have taken upon themselves and so it is something that I feel deeply connected to. From the kneading (ONLY by hand, never machine!) to the separating of the portion, there is something deeply spiritual about it, and I'm always so happy to make it, especially for others. It is this love for challot that has led me to buy any available book on the subject and collect numberous recipes. It never stops. But it has led me to discover Maggie Glezer's A Blessing of Bread, my favorite baking book in my entire collection. I pick up this book for reference or just to read, over and over again. Run, not walk, to get this book. Even if you're not Jewish or interested in this bread, the recipes are wonderful. I personally am a water challah type gal, meaning no eggs but I always like to try out new recipes. This recipe is "My Challah", an egg challah rather than a water one. I used sugar, because my sister insists honey is too expensive here, and while the results were good, I think honey would have added that special something. I'll try it that way next time. The eggs give the finished bread a beautiful yellow crumb and gloriously golden brown and smooth crust. I chose to make rolls because my sister had no use for full loaves. Don't worry, this won't be the last time Challah appears on my blog.

The eggs, oil, water, yeast, salt, and sugar in the mixing bowl.

All mixed together.

Covered in snowy white flour!

The dough coming together.

The dough having it's autolyse.
Ready for rising!

Baked and on their way to Yeastspotting.


Anonymous said...

Maggie Glezer's Challah is indeed great; it is one of my favorite Challah recipes. I find that it is a very slow riser, but it makes a delicious Challah. Leftovers must be frozen, or made into Pain Perdu (French Toast).
I will urge you now to try to make Brioche. While it does not have the religious significance of Challah, it is a very luxurious bread, and quite a challenge to make (especially by hand), but you will be rewarded...

Chavi said...

Will try that while I'm in New York.. where I have the mixer as backup if I need!

Susan said...

I love reading Glezer's book but I confess I have not made many of the recipes from it yet. Challah, here I come!

Chavi said...

Susan, give them a try, You will not be disappointed. It's actually the only baking book that I'm bringing back with me to New York today. It never gets old! Let me know how your experiments go!