I didn’t call myself Challah Maidel for naught. I started a baking project on Facebook called Shabbat Challah. Its sort of like a Tehillim group but not quite. Basically, each participant can submit a challah recipe and include a name of someone who is in an unfortunate circumstances be it financial predicaments,illness,marital unrest,shidduchim ( I am referring to singles over the age of 28), infertility,etc. In short, these people need are prayers and we encourage those to have these individuals in mind during the challah baking process. Women are given 3 mitzvot (commandments) in pursuant to Jewish tradition :
1) Hadlakat Nerot (Lighting candles for Shabbat and Chag)
2) Niddah (a time period when a married woman and her husband withhold any sexual and physical contact from the inception of her menstrual cycle until she immerses herself in the mikvah)
3) Hafrashat Challah (Separation of the challah dough.Those who bake challah are commanded to break off a piece of dough and recite a blessing before baking the challah. That piece of dough gets wrapped in a foil and burnt).
Whole wheat challah/bread tends to be more dense and thick. I can guarantee you that my challah recipe is anything but. Its light and fluffy and sweet. I normally add cinnamon since it compliments the honey. If you prefer your Challah more on the doughy side, then reduce the baking time by at least 10 minutes. I’ll also include some braiding techniques later on. I plan on publishing more Challot recipes later on so stay tuned 🙂
For the challah, you will need:
4 cups of whole wheat flour
3 1/2 + 1/2 cups of bread flour (the remaining half for kneading purposes)
2 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tsp of sugar
1 Tsp (or 2 packets) of dry yeast
1 cup of honey
2 eggs + 1 beaten for egg wash
1 Tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil + greasing
Sesame seeds or cinnamon sugar (optional)
Place yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add the water and stir. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until bubbles form.
In a standing mixture (if you don’t own one, then use a spatula to combined ingredients and your hands for kneading ; about 15-20 minutes), add whole wheat flour,2 eggs,oil,cinnamon, and honey. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix till well combined. Slowly add the bread flour and knead using the dough hook attachment until dough texture is elastic. Add a little more flour if necessary.Add some water if the dough is too dry. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover dough loosely with a damp towel or saran wrap and set aside in an non-drafted area for 2:45 -3 hours or until double the size.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Punch dough down. Break off a piece of dough and put aside. Shape the remaining challah dough and place them on a cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle seeds or cinnamon-sugar on top of each challah. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Yields: 4 large Challot