The Kosher Gourmet
Our own Rabbi Rosenblatt is “The Kosher Gourmet”. Classes will not be held this coming year. However please enjoy the following recipes, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call him.
The Kosher Gourmet Challah Recipe2 packets (about 4 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 ½c warm water (105 to 115 degrees), divided
1/3 to ½ c sugar, or to taste
About 6 – 6 ½ c white bread flour or all-purpose unbleached white flour
1/2c softened pareve margarine or vegetable shortening
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1tsp water
Poppy seeds, optional
Mix the yeast with 1/2c of the water and 1tsp of the sugar. Let the mixture rest for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to foam.
Meanwhile, pour about 4 cups of the flour into a large bowl with the remaining sugar, salt, and margarine. Use an electric mixer or a pastry blender to combine the ingredients until they form coarse crumbs. Add the yeast mixture, the remaining 1 cup water, and the eggs and beat the loose dough with the mixer or a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. By hand (or with a heavy duty mixer), slowly stir in just enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it, adding small sprinkles of flour, if necessary; to keep it from sticking, for about 10 minutes, or until it is very smooth and satiny. Put the dough into an oiled bowl and turn the dough so that all sides are oiled. Cover the bowl loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and then a dish towel, to keep the dough moist and dark. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours (depending on the temperature of the room).
Punch down the dough and knead it a few times to remove any air bubbles. Divide the dough in half, for two loaves. Then divide each half into 3, 4, 5, or 6 pieces, depending on the number of strands desired for each loaf. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough piece into a smooth strand and braid the strands. Carefully set the loaves several inches apart on a very large greased or nonstick spray-coated baking sheet (or on 2smaller sheets). Gently rub the surface of each loaf with a little oil to keep the dough from drying out. Cover the loaves loosely with wax paper and let them rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour or longer. (Formed bread dough tends to hold its shape better if allowed to rise slowly at room temperature, rather than in a warm place.)
Gently brush the loaves well with the egg glaze and, if desired, sprinkle them lightly with poppy seeds. Bake the loaves in a pre-heated 375-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the bottom of each load sounds hollow when tapped. (If the loaves are browning too rapidly, loosely cover each one with a tent of aluminum foil.) Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and cool them on wire racks.
Makes 2 large challah, about 1 2/3lbs each.