As you probably know, baking is important to me not only because of the delicious tangible products I am getting as a result, but also, the very act of creating something, has an extremely calming effect on my psyche. Especially now, in the special time of coronavirus pandemic, it has become an essential part of my everyday habits. It’s, in a way, a balm for the current chaos. It’s soothing, mediative and it simply brings comfort. And comfort is exactly what we crave most right now.
So today, I would like to present a very simple, but yet very practical recipe you can use everyday – the CHALLAH. Traditionally, in Jewish cuisine, challah is egg bread typically eaten on major Jewish holidays, like Shabbat. Baking challah was considered very spiritual. Today, the word challah is used to describe a beautiful loaf of braided bread that appears in almost all bakeries around the world. And believe me, the smell of freshly baked, selfmade challah puts everybody in a mood of gratitude and happiness.
What you need for this recipe is yeast, which seems to be, along with toilette paper, a very scarce product in the time of pandemic. However, if you’re lucky to be in possession of either fresh or dry yeast, you can start baking.
10g fresh or 5g dry yeast
200g lukewarm milk
300g wheat flour
50g soft unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
½ teaspoon salt
- Pour lukewarm milk, sugar and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients and wait 10 minutes. The yeast should have activated after this time, meaning it looks expanded and foamy.
- Add flour, butter, vanilla sugar, salt and egg yolk (you will use the white to cover the challah before putting it into oven). Use a whisk or a mixer to blend the ingredients thoroughly. Take the dough out of the mixer bowl, shape a ball and place it in another bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for about 2 hours, until the dough doubles its size.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, knead for a moment and devide it into 3 or 4 pieces. Roll every piece, forming a strand.
- Now, you can start with the best part – braiding your challah! For those of you who
know how to braid hair, this should be really easy. As your braided challah is ready, put it on a baking tray covered with a cookie sheet. Leave it for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Next, beat the egg white and use a pastry brush to put a thin layer on the surface of your challah. You can also put some butter crumble on top.
- Heat the oven to 180°C. The challah needs to be baked for about 30 – 40 minutes.
My suggestion is that you try to bake this delicious kind of bread for Easter. I am absolutely sure, your family will be delighted. And, after all, bringing joy to our beloved ones is what baking is for, isn’t it?
Any questions? Just ask me: firstname.lastname@example.org