Thursday, October 8, 2009

Holiday Food and Back from Vacay

I just returned from Toronto. Every time I return to Israel I am amazed by the stark contrast between Canada and Israel. Everything from the culture, to the weather to temperament is different. When I left Toronto it was Fall- and it was freezing. Every day that I went outside and froze I cursed myself for not bringing boots. Funny though- all the Torontonians seemed to think that it wasn't boot weather yet. Seems like I've become too used to the heat; I wouldn't be able to handle a Canadian winter anymore! It feels like summer hasn't ended here. It is thirty degrees every day, and the only indication that seasons are starting to change is the slight drop in temperature at night.

I didn't have much time to post while I was away; helping to prepare for the Jewish Holidays of Sukkot, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana took up most of my kitchen time. The one thing that stayed comsistent throughout my trip was challah- always there for every holiday or Shabbat meal, I made at least twenty for the holidays. So here- a new challah recipe for my first post back.
recipe from Uncommonly Kosher, from Rebecca Spirn
  • 13-14 c. four
  • 4 pkgs. dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 c. warm water
  • 1 c. oil
  • 2 T salt
  • 1 heaping c. sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
  • Poppy or sesame seeds
Dissolve yeast in water that is between 95-105 degrees (fahrenheit). When dissolved, add sugar, salt and half the flour; mix well. Add eggs and oil and then slowly stir in most of the remaining flour. Dough will become quite thick. Until kneading stage, dough can be mixed in a Mix Master. When dough pulls away from sides of the bowl, turn onto floured board and knead for approximately 10 minutes. Add only enough additional flour to make dough manageable. Knead until dough has acquired a life of its own; it should be smooth and elastic, springing back when pressed lightly with fingertip. Place dough into a large, oiled bowl. Turn it over so that the top with be oiled as well. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in four or five places every 20 minutes. Shape loaves and place into well greased bread pans or onto greased cookie sheets. Allow to rise again until doubled in bulk. Brush tops with beaten eggs mixed with a little sugar. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Makes 9 large challahs (one for good luck).

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