Monday, September 6, 2021

The EVOO Challah with Jam & Craisins

L'Shana Tova! Happy New Year! This year has been a crazy blur! Teaching third graders both remote and hybrid was no easy feat. I am so glad we are back in person this year, and I no longer have to say "you're on mute" umpteen times a day!

I also got married a month ago!! My husband, Max, is a one of a kind mensch! Of course I found him with the help of Jswipe, a Jewish dating app! After five years together we tied the knot in Duxbury, MA on a perfectly 70 degree day (thankfully no shvitzing with that kind of weather). Now that I am a wife we joke about "stepping up my game" and make more challah because the more challah the merrier!      

In this recipe, we decided to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. When we make our favorite banana bread recipe we make the same oil switch, so we figured why not give it a try with the challah. Holy fluffy challah! This ingredient change is one we plan to keep.

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 olive oil
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
Blueberry & strawberry jam

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 1 1/4 tsp salt and 3 1/2 cups 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.

Separate the dough and roll out each ball into four strands. Flatten the strand and fill with jam and craisins. close up the dough strands so they are ready for braiding. (This challah had 2 blueberry jam strands and 2 strawberry jam & craisin strands)

I did a round challah, which is the typical braid for Rosh Hashana, but you can do whatever shape you like.

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 with a splash of water).

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!