The first time I tried Challah (pronounced "halla" like "holla at me") I was a freshman in college. My friends and I were mildly intoxicated and there was an innocent challah loaf sitting in my friend's kitchen. The poor thing was demolished in minutes and from then on I gladly accepted any challah offered. Fortunately, several of the families I babysat in college were Jewish, so my challah need was satisfied. The eggy, slightly sweet loaf is a compliment to any meal. Challah is obviously very important to Judaism and has certain times of the year when it is more appropriate to make and eat.
However, since I am not Jewish, I have decided to make it as a vehicle for butter and an accompaniment for soup at dinner. Last week when I elected to make some homemade chicken noodle soup with from scratch chicken stock for my mom and grandma, I knew it needed some challah.
A rainy Friday at my mom's house proved the perfect time to dive into some cooking and baking.
Challah is incredibly versatile. It is truly delicious ripped apart and eaten by itself or toasted with butter and cinnamon sugar or jam. It is also good cut in thick, even slices and used for a unique grilled cheese or moist french toast. Another good use is for crunchy croutons. If you have never tried challah, or tried to make it, soup season is near and all soup's best friend is bread.
I chose to bake challah using a highly rated recipe on allrecipes.com. It turned out great! I had so much fun braiding the dough and look forward to perfecting my braiding skills. I used a four braid design and learned how from this incredibly helpful tutorial. The adapted recipe follows.
- 2 C water
- 1/2 C salted butter
- 2 T honey
- 7 C bread flour
- 1/4 C granulated sugar
- 3 (1/4 ounce) packets active dry yeast
- 1 T salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- Poppy seeds (optional)
Listening to: Strange Trails by Lord Huron