Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Jewish Holiday Baker's Ultimate Challah

One of my closest friends and her husband came to visit Israel this week and I had the greatest pleasure of spending an entire morning with her, just catching up on our lives. We walked around town, window shopping and picking up odds and ends, checking out shoes, and scarves and hats. A good friend, she put up with me popping into all the used book stores that I saw. She was the one responsible for this latest find, the now out of print The Jewish Holiday Baker, by Joan Nathan. This is a book I've wanted but couldnt get and here it was, in almost mint condition for only 45 shekels. The day just kept getting better. Naturally, the first recipe I chose to make was The Ultimate Challah. I know I rave about all the challot that I made, but these really are The Ultimate Challah of the sweet persuasion. This recipe will now be my go to sweet/egg challah. I just couldnt stop eating it, especially the middle parts which were slightly doughy. The dough kneaded so beautifully and braided so easily; they held their shape beautifully- just look at how they turned out. They also kept really well into Shabbat afternoon. These really are challot to be proud of and they'll probably grace many a table. This recipe uses only one kilo of flour but yields three nice sized loaves. Feel free to double it if desired. Don't be surprised if things are quiet on the challah front from here on out... These challot have been Yeastspotted!

The Ultimate Challah
from The Jewish Holiday Baker

1 tbsp instant yeast
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 kilo flour
5 eggs plus 1 for glazing
2/3 cup oil
1 3/4 cups water

Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk. Add all of the wet ingredients and using your hand or a spoon mix to form a shaggy dough. Leave to rest for ten minutes. Knead the dough on a floured work surface until firm and smooth. Grease the top, cover with plastic or foil and refrigerate overnight. Remove the dough from the fridge the next morning. Scale and shape. Allow to proof until doubled in size. Brush with egg glaze. Preheat the oven to 350. Glaze the breads with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown and beautiful and a thermometer registers 190. Cool on a wire rack.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, so this is your favorite. Funny, as you know, I just made two Joan Nathan challahs! Not this, though. This is my sister's favorite, too, although I think she has strayed . . .

Jonathan Kandell said...

Nathan keeps adjusting it. Her recent adapted version of this challah, in tablet magazine, cut the eggs from 5 to 2 (!) and the oil from 2/3c down to 1/2c. It was still very good, though I had to use much less than a kilo of flour.

Chavi said...

Good to know. I have recently become a vegan so I omit eggs from my challah completely. But good to know that it's edging in a more "healthful" direction.