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Jew Food 101: Challah

2011 February 20
by Dylan


Bread. There are so, so many different kinds throughout the world! The French have baguettes, the British have biscuits, Indians have naan, Christians have crackers (or “wafers,” right?) the Russians have black bread and the Italians have ciabatta (and a billion others). My point is this–bread is a staple food of every culture throughout the world.

Now, I’m sure you’re all thinking I’m about to talk about Matzot, our unleavened bread that’s mostly eaten at Passover. Well, listen up goys, I’ve got some news for you–Passover only lasts a week, not an entire year. Our most well-known bread would have to be challah, a sweet, braided egg bread usually made every Friday night/Saturday for Shabbat. Braiding it can be a bit difficult, but if made correctly, it’s delicious. It’s also not unusual to see challah with raisins or chocolate chips. They’re both great, but I always stick with the original!

Now, breaking bread is usually one of the first things that follows a service, but happens prior to dinner. The Kiddush, or blessing over the wine is first, and it’s then followed by the Ha-motzi, or the blessing over the bread. Here’s the Hebrew for it:

Hebrew
Hebrew
Now, I have no idea what that means, but I can read and pronounce every word! Remember it’s read from right to left, because we Jews are super-awesome when it comes to archaic languages. What does it mean for you? Well, it simply means that you’ll never be as Jewey OR awesome as I am. Be sure to check out an audio version of the prayer at the end of this post! Anyways, here’s my favorite recipe for challah–it’s simple, easy and delicious [Recipe after the Break]:

Breach Machine Challah II (directly from AllRecipes)

Ingredients

  • – 1 cup warm water
  • – 1/2 cup white sugar
  • – 1 tablespoon honey
  • – 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • – 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • – 2 eggs, room temperature
  • – 4 cups bread flour
  • – 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • – 1 egg, beaten
  • – 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Place warm water, sugar, honey, vegetable oil, salt, 2 eggs, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle; press Start.
  2. After the machine is done, take the dough out, and place it on a very lightly floured board, punch the dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Then divide into 3 equal pieces, roll into ropes about 12 to 14 inches, and braid into a loaf. Do the same with the remaining other half. Gently put the loaves on a greased cookie sheet, mist with water, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm, draft free place, until double in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water.
  5. Brush risen loaves with egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. If it begins to brown too soon, cover with foil.

OMG! It’s some Jew reciting the Ha-motzi!

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One Response leave one →
  1. Simmy permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Awesome blog! I just added it to my bookmarks!

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