Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Ok. So here is my famous Challah recipe. This is for the basic challah. experiment like I do...

Ingredients for two challah loaves.

1 1/3 cups tepid water
1 Tbs. (15g.) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
up to 4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt

First: Dissolve the sugar in the water then mix in and dissolve the yeast. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Second: Mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Then mix in the egg and the oil and finally the salt.

Third: Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a smooth very slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes until nice and smooth. Add a little flour as necessary but make sure the dough stays a little sticky. If you add too much the bread will be heavy and dense.

Fourth: Move the dough to an oiled bowl turning in the bowl to coat the dough with oil, then cover and place in a warm place (the oven heated for 3 minutes to 50 degrees centigrade) until it doubles. This is about 1 and a half hours.

Fifth: Remove the dough from the bowl, punch down, and then shape into loaves. I divide the dough into two halves then each half into 3 or 4 pieces. Each piece becomes a 'snake' which I then braid into loaves. Place the shaped loaves onto an oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise until about doubled. This will take about 45 minutes.

Sixth: About 15 minutes before the bread finishes rising, start to preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Fahrenheit). When the bread is finished rising place in the center of the oven for about 22 minutes or so. The bread will get quite brown. It is done when you tap it on the bottom and it sounds hollow. Cool on a rack.

Once you have this down pat you can experiment.

Try using honey instead of the sugar. Or brown sugar (this will make brown bread). Or molasses (even darker).

Try using melted butter or margarine instead of the oil. Or try olive oil instead of the vegetable oil. (Richer)

Brush a slightly beaten egg (or just the yolk, or just the white) with a little water over the bread just before putting it in the oven. You can sprinkle it with sesame seeds or poppy seeds it you like. Or sunflower seeds.

Try mixing some raisins into the dough after the first rise. Or dried cranberries. Or some chopped walnuts.

Have fun!! It's delicious just plain or with any of the alternatives.

A Tentative Start

It has taken a long time getting to this place... Actually putting down thoughts about where I am and where I'm going. The events of the past year, closing my department and forcing me to look for work elsewhere have been very stressful even when I don't show it!! I have been forced to examine certain aspects of my external persona... something I am uncomfortable with. And to face facts... Firstly, I have come to admit openly (before only to myself) that I find Computer Graphics boring. It wasn't always that way, but it sure is now.

I had this epiphany only recently while on a working tour of printing plants in Kiryat Malachi. Suddenly it hit me... this is soooo boring I want something else!!! The what, of course, has been percolating for a long time. I love to cook and bake. I collect recipes and cookbooks. I read cookbooks before going to bed at night. I subscribe to recipe sites online. I think I'm hooked. But what can I do with this?

It is definitely scary to think of going it on my own and leaving the security of a steady paying job. The prospects, however, are tantalizing and exciting at the same time. Can I do this? Yes!! Will it be hard? You bet!! Not the least I will have to contend with criticism of family and friends who will think this is just nuts...

But... I love to bake especially bread and will be posting recipes here. I would also appreciate getting tips and recipes. Right now I'm checking out cooking and baking schools around the country and planning for next year. I'll keep you posted.