Friday, February 05, 2010

Snow-inspired Challah

There’s something about being socked in by a big snow that makes me feel so domestic.  I got up thinking about bread -- homemade bread, challah to be precise.

The only yeast I could find said “Best if used before July 2009.”  Figuring that yeast didn’t just completely stop working on the expiration date, I decided to chance it.

I was surprised to learn my husband had never had the thrill of baking bread.  How could a good Jewish boy have gone through 63 years of life without ever kneading a challah?  So I convinced him to help. 

We shared kneading and then put the dough ball in for the first rising, hoping it would feel inspired to double in size.  And indeed it did, taking on the elasticity characteristic of dough with air in it.

I punched it down and divided it into 4 pieces for braiding.  We each made long ropey pieces which were then woven together.  The scraps went into making a tiny braid to adorn the top.

Another hour rising for a second time.  And then we will wash it with egg yolk and add poppy seeds.

The best part of bread-making is smelling the loaf as it cooks in the oven.  It will take great restraint not to just whip into that challah when it emerges hot from the oven.

Then it’s on to making a turkey breast for dinner.  The plan is to have enough food already made so that when we inevitably lose power, which I imagine will happen at about 15”, we will not starve.


Blogger Rayna said...

I ran to the supermarket to fill the empty fridge and pantry. Came home and made a big pot of soup, a roast, and a banana bread. Forgot to buy yeast! The last packet I used didn't work very well.
Maybe I should try Irish soda bread...

8:24 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Rayna -- My challah was far from spectacular in terms of appearance, but it tasted good. I have had a problem with my last few attempts where the dough almost rises too much. I think maybe the warm oven where I have been letting it rise has been too warm. Or else maybe I need to use more flour. I used to be able to make a challah that maintained the shape of the braids!

It's a matter of experimenting, much along the lines of your recent post.

BTW, could you believe the lines at the store? The shelves were almost bare where I shopped last night.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

That looks delicious. I love bread, all kinds of bread.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I made a spinach quiche with multiple cheeses and a sautee of squash/carrot/celery/onions and herbs for my first snow dinner.

Like you, my biggest concern overall is losing power. I've done hot dark house and cold dark house before and neither is fun. We rely too much anymore on electricity. Thank God for a gas stove.

Oh. And did I mention my clothes dryer broke?

3:06 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

oh beautiful

now my bread machine, great as it is, could never do this

6:33 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Yum! We're in cooking mode, too. I guess that's what people do when it snows, right? (Fortunately I don't think we have to worry about power loss -- hope not, anyway.)

6:39 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

we're not getting the snow you are but I may have to make bread anyhow after reading about that challah!

How much snow do you have?

9:21 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Gorgeous! I baked bread Friday, too.

8:46 PM  

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