Hungry for Challah?

During the fall semester of my junior year at GW, I studied abroad in London. I tried to immerse myself in the Jewish community, and by doing so, I met many wonderful people with whom I still keep in touch–including an amazing cook. She prepared the most delicious meals and made it all look so easy. Dancing in the kitchen with grace and ease, she would make gourmet Shabbat meals that always pleased her guests. I was inspired! When I returned to school the following semester I started cooking more often, especially for friends on Shabbat. I often use family recipes passed on from great grandmothers, and everyone knows you cannot go wrong with recipes like that. Also, as cheesy as it may sound, I get some of my best dishes from Martha Stewart. But wherever I get the recipes from, I love to entertain and see the joy in peoples faces as they sit together eating good food and enjoying the company of others.

My goal for this blog is to post a recipe every week that is simple and tastes good. I am open to suggestions and I hope you will share some of your favorite dishes with everyone. I learned to cook through trial and error. If you’re not afraid to make some mistakes in the kitchen, cooking could be your new favorite hobby.

Challah

• 4 ½ cups flour (I mix between wheat (2 cups) and white (2 ½ cups)
• ¾ oz packet of rapid rise yeast
• ¼ cup of sugar (I use splenda for baking)
• ½ tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 3 tablespoons honey
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup water (room temperature)
• 8 eggs (I use only the egg whites, but if you want the classic yellow challah then use only the yolks)

It’s so easy! Preheat oven to 365. In one large bowl combine all the ingredients together. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour; if it’s too tough, add more water. Take dough out of the bowl and begin to knead. Form the dough into large ball and place it back into the bowl. Spray paper towel with oil and cover the dough. Let rise for one hour. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead once more. This recipe makes 2 challahs so cut the dough into two halves. Cut each half into 3 pieces. Once you have six pieces roll each piece so its about one foot in length. Pinch 3 pieces together at the top and begin to braid down. Pinch at the bottom and you have a challah! Repeat with the other 3 rolls. Place the challahs on a greased baking sheet. In a separate bowl whisk an egg with some water and brush the challahs with the egg wash. Place in an oven and cook for approximately a half hour to 40 minutes. Check the challahs occasionally, and you should know by touch if it is done.

– If you want to add anything to the challahs like raisins, chocolate chips, or other candies, do so the second time the dough is kneaded, after it has risen.