Monday, September 17, 2018

Raisin Challah

L'Shana Tova! Jappy New Year! As you probably already know, Rosh Hashana marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. You're probably reflecting on all the stuff you did wrong last year, every time you could have been nicer, every time you were selfish, every time you weren't acting the best you could. And if you're like me, you're probably reflecting on all the things you did wrong, knowing that you should make a change next year, but at the same time thinking about how you really don't want to make a change.

Being a "better" person is hard. Sometimes I want to binge watch tv shows instead of getting a full night of sleep before work, sometimes I want to date the "jerk" who I'm way better than and isn't even that cute and doesn't deserve my time, and sometimes I want to eat egg yolks even though I have high cholesterol and my doctor told me I shouldn’t eat them. And at the end of the day I'm really only hurting myself. But why are we so quick to hurt ourselves? Do we justify it by the happiness we feel when we find out something new in the tv show story line (side note - I recommend watching The Blacklist, I watched all of season 1 this past week), or when the jerk is nice to us, or by how good egg yolks taste on toast? Yea probably. But at what point is the bad outweighing the good? So this year, my resolution is to cut out more "bad". I'm not going to lie, I don't think I can give up egg yolks, and really, what will a yolk or two do to me? But I'm going to try to make better choices and cut out as much "bad" as I can. Life can be stressful, other people can be mean, and work can be overwhelming. So if we aren't going to do the best that we can to improve our own lives, who will?

Also, I realize I haven't posted in over a year. Maybe I'll be better in 5779. But here is a photo of us at a bridal shower last weekend as proof that we are still alive. Also, I hope that you like my dress because I think it's very cute and honestly I should have gotten more compliments on it.

Recipe: (makes 1 large challah)
3/4 cup water
2 1/4 tsp yeast
4 tbsp honey
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough, 1 for baste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
3.5 cups flour

Mix 3/4 cup water, 2 1/4 tsp yeast, and 4 tbsp honey in a mixing bowl. Place in a warm place. This could be next to a window that gets sunlight, or I like to place it in a warm oven and then turn off the oven. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam.

In a separate bowl mix 2 eggs and 1/4 cup oil. Add to the yeast mixture after it has foamed. Add salt and flour. Make sure you mix the flour as you are adding it. Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands. Knead dough into a ball.

Oil the large bowl and then roll the ball of dough in the oil. This prevents the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises. Place the ball back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place. Let the bowl sit for about 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove dough from bowl and knead to get out all the air.

Add raisins to the dough and knead evenly through dough.

Separate the dough and roll out each ball into a strand. I did a round challah, which is the typical braid for Rosh Hashana, but you can do whatever shape you want.

After braiding the challah, place on a buttered cookie sheet or pan and cover with plastic wrap and allow the challah to rise for at least 30 minutes in a warm place. This allows the dough to rise again.

Baste with egg wash (1 egg mixed).

Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 or until internal temperature is around 170. If the top of the challah is getting too dark or hard then place a piece of foil on top of it while the inside continues to cook.

L'Shana Tova!