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November 18, 2009

When I was little I always used to look forward to Thursdays in pre-school when we celebrated an early Shabbat.  My primary reason for enjoying this celebration was the challah.  We’d make it in the morning and then have fresh, warm bread in the afternoon when we started Shabbat.  I’ve never found bread that quite tasted like I remember that bread tasting, but I’ve maintained my love for challah (and all other bread really…).  So, I was excited to start making my own challah.  And even more excited when I discovered how easy it was!

This recipe comes once again from Peter Reinhart’s cookbook, so I will not reproduce the recipe here (though feel free to email me or leave a comment if you want to know more about it).  The recipe is an enriched dough recipe, so it’s a bit easier than some of the more crusty breads. However, easier does not necessarily mean significantly less time consuming.  Be prepared for it to take about half a day between the mixing and rising.  Most of that time you don’t have to do anything, but you will need to be available to periodically to knead, de-gas, shape, and bake the bread.

The basic recipe in the book makes two loaves, but it can be halved or doubled as desired.  I chose to make two loaves.  That way there was one to have with dinner and one to send home with our dinner guests (though we almost caved and kept it for ourselves!).

The challah itself can be topped with any number of things or left plain.  I chose to use poppy seeds, but sesame seeds are another popular choice, and I imagine topping with toasted onion, while less traditional, could be very tasty as well.

Dough in its final rise

Challah In Oven

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