Challah bread would be best if I could call out for my deceased female members of my family on my mother's side. Each and every member of my family made the best Challah bread, not just for the Sabbath on Friday...which was never really explained to me when I was a young child, but for other Jewish holiday traditions as well.
I never had to make my own Challah bread all theses years, up until the late nineties after my last aunt passed away...then, the tradition was broken. I was way too busy working days, at an affluent Jewish Country Club and 3 nights a week working for a mega wealthy household in Palm Beach as a Private Chef. Good thing I didn't have to do any bread baking...that would require a "separate position!"...end of that story!
If any one should doubt what this bread is all about, here's a little history behind it!
The braided challah, which is made with eggs, is the Jewish Sabbath‑and‑holiday bread. It is surrounded by folklore and tradition and loaded with symbolism. On festive occasions a blessing is said over two loaves, symbolizing the two portions of the manna that was distributed on Fridays to the children of Israel during their Exodus from Egypt. The breads are covered on the table by a decorative challah cover or a white napkin, which represents the dew that collected on the manna in the morning. Poppy and sesame seeds sprinkled on the bread also symbolize the manna that fell from heaven.
Challah is made in various sizes and shapes, all of which have a meaning.
Braided ones, which may have three, four, or six strands, are the most common, and because they look like arms intertwined, symbolize love.
Three braids symbolize truth, peace, and justice.
Twelve humps from two small or one large braided bread recall the miracle of the 12 loaves for the 12 tribes of Israel. Round loaves, “where there is no beginning and no end,” are baked for Rosh Hashanah to symbolize continuity. Ladder and hand shapes are served at the meal before the fast of Yom Kippur—the ladder signifying that we should ascend to great heights, the hand that we may be inscribed for a good year. On Purim, small triangular loaves symbolize Haman’s ears; at Shavuot, two oblongs side by side represent the Tablets of the Law. The bulkah is a segmented rectangular challah.
Sweet challahs with honey or raisins are baked during the festive season to bring joy and happiness.
The name “challah” is derived from the Hebrew word used for “portion” in the Biblical commandment “of the first of your dough you shall give unto the Lord a portion for a gift throughout your generations.
Linking to: Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoon corn oil
2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water
(I used one whole egg, beaten with ! Tbsp. water)
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
In a small bowl, combine the water and 1 Tbsp. of the flour; sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the egg and oil.
In a food processor, combine the remaining flour, the sugar, and salt. With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture through the feed tube until the dough just forms a ball. Knead the dough by pulsing until it is smooth and elastic, about 30 times.
Spray a large bow with nonstick spray: place dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough rise in a warm draft free place
until it double in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down the
dough; lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour.
Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in volume, about 1 hour.
Points value: 2
Note: this is an excellent small loaf of bread to bake, if you're not planning to make 2 loaves. 1 1/2 cups of flour, is such a small amount, compared to 3 to 5 cups used when baking breads. Simple and easy, just need practice with the braiding!
Not much to say about my weekend indulges...I practically ate the entire little loaf of bread by myself, before I got to share it with my family. Although, I did manage to lose 1 more pound...Total: 14lbs, and still going!