Happy New Year! 2011 is now officially here and time for new adventures, new recipes, and some new resolutions. Last year I resolved to go to the gym…and idea that worked well until I was transferred a good distance down the road. I also resolved to try putting myself first a little bit more often, which has proven to be much harder than I ever thought possible. So that resolution has come back, in a slightly different form. This year I am going to relax more and spend more time with my family and friends….and also attempt to leave work at work. I am also making a resolution to blog more, as part of my plan to relax more. Cooking for me is a safety zone, a place where I can get away from everything and focus on creating new dishes and reworking old dishes. Today’s dish is one from the old dish category, in fact this is a very old dish. I don’t remember the first time I had challah, but I do remember making a very similar bread when I was younger around the holidays. I remember my mom had to mess around with it every few hours, and I remember standing in kitchen while she braided it. When it came time to braid my bread I tried to remember how she did, but for some reason the only thing that kept popping up in my mind were the multi colored cherries she use to put on top of it. While her breads might have been works of art suitable for passing out to the neighbors, mine is…well…edible. I guess in the end that is all that really mater. It should also be noted that I cheated on the first part of this bread and used my bread maker in order to form the dough.
– 1 cup water
– 2 eggs
– 2tbsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 3 cups flour
– 1 1/2 tsp yeast
1. Add ingredients to bread machine based on instructions. Set to dough mode. For best results do not use the quick rise setting.
2. Divide dough into three sections. Flour hands and then roll each section into a strand, then braid the strands together. In order to make a circular braid bring the ends together and gently press to create a seal. Place dough is a dry location and allow to rise for 45minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375
4. Bake bread for 40minutes, or until a light golden brown color.
The amount of time needed to make this bread is well worth it because in the end you have a bread that is perfect for soaking up a nice warm soup or for making a sandwich. If you wind up with some threatening to turn on you, Challah French Toast is the perfect quick fix breakfast/lunch/dinner. There are also TONS of websites out there that will show you other techniques for braiding, and I have to so there are some very talented bakers out there. I think I will stick to three strands for now, but maybe I should add making a 4 braid Challah to my list of things to do in 2011.