So let’s get started!
- Why Challa?
Challah is the basis for all Shabbat meals.
All three of them – two on each!
That’s why they have to look good as well as taste good.
- Why make it yourself?
Making your own Challah is not obligatory, but is more of an obligation we women take upon ourselves.
It’s a Mitzvah. And if you get the hang of it – it definitely tastes better than those that you buy…
- Why (on earth) use 70% whole wheat flour?
Now, we’re not vegetarians or anything (actually we once were, but about that – some other time) and we don’t eat only organic or bio-organic food.
But we do like to eat healthy, avoid over fatty-food, and we don’t particularly like consuming industrial poisons.
However, we believe that being happy is part of being healthy too. So if avoiding certain dishes or ingredients makes you miserable – this “health” is not worth it. So we’ve decided to go mid way, and as the 100% whole wheat doesn’t give any satisfactory results (at least in my kitchen), we’ve tried the 70% whole wheat flour. TERRIFIC! I assure you: you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, and – it’s much healthier!
70% WHOLE WHEAT GORGEOUS CHALLA RECIPE
1700 grams (700 grams is about 4 overflowing cups) flour
1 cup brown sugar
2.5 spoons salt
50 grams fresh yeast
0.5 cup olive oil. A little more could do too
1 beaten egg (Jewish warning – watch for blood in a transparent glass)
sesame seeds or other seeds
2. Now that’s what you do:
Put the salt in a bowl.
Over the salt pour 1 kilogram of flour.
Pour the sugar over it, and over the sugar pour the rest of the flour.
Take the yeast and crumble it into the bowl. Cover the yeast completely with some of the surrounding flour.
Now pour on top of it 2 cups of water, and add the oil to the water you just poured on the flour.
The yeast mustn’t touch the salt or the oil directly, and the oil mustn’t touch the flour directly!
Now, begin to make a soft and smooth dough.
Add water as needed – never too much at a time.
The exact quantity of water depends on the present status of the flour, and the weather.
Feel the dough, and experiment.
Knead the dough well, until it’s flexible and nice to touch, and not sticky.
When the dough is ready, roll it, in a bit of olive oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic cling wrap.
Now if you’re Jewish – this is the time you must make HAFRASHAT CHALLA (I’m dying to write something about that in some future post).
If you’re not – just skip.
Put the bowl in the fridge for the night.
In the morning, punch the dough and wait till it doubles volume.
(Letting the dough rise in the fridge slows the process and gives a better tasting dough, but if you don’t have the time to wait the whole night, just leave it to rise about 2 hours outside the fridge, and continue).
Make any kind of shape you want for your Challah.
(For braided Challah instructions click here).
Wait about an hour till it doubles volume, covered with the same cling wrap.
Smear the Challa with the beaten egg with a brush, and spread over it sesame seeds or any other seed you like.
Bake it in an oven for 10 minutes on high temperature, and then about 30-40 minutes. Sometimes, you should leave it in the oven for even more, at 200°C. It all depends on how big your challas are.
Don’t forget to say “Lekoved Shabbes!” (In honour of Holy Shabbat)
Remove from oven to a cooling rack to cool.
Bon Appétit and – Shabbat Shalom!