Last week, I wrote about my family’s Sabbath Celebration. For almost five years, this has been a part of my soul’s journey. My faith has risen and fallen, been punched and stretched, and been proofed in the fire a time or two. Celebrating a once a week time of rest from the stresses of life has renewed my spirit and refreshed my faith.
Shelly at Redemptions Beauty has gathered a growing group of kindred spirits… women searching for some Sabbath rest. I love reading of the different soul journeys. I am blessed to be a part of this group. I think it would be amazing to all gather together over hot coffee and warm bread instead of gathering over the internet. I would love to see the reflections of the stories in the eyes and hear the joy in the voice… to break bread with sisters in Christ.
In the meantime, Shelly asked me to share my challah recipe. Quite honestly, this is simply a starting point… a basic bread recipe I have adapted for my family. Enjoy it. Change it. Make it your own. And, if you find yourself eating some amazing challah, I’d love your recipe too!
1 c. warm water
1 pkg or scant T dry yeast
1 t. sugar
dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let sit until bubbly and yeast is growing. If it doesn’t bubble or grow, you either have water that is too hot or too cold or your yeast is bad. Start over with warm water and yeast and you’ll be as good as new. 😉
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. warm milk
1/3 c. honey (or sugar)
1 t. vanilla
3 eggs (1 egg will do it but 3 gives it a richer texture and color)
1 c. flour
add these to the bowl of your favorite mixer and attach the dough hook (it looks like a J). You can mix and knead by hand, if you rather. Sometimes I do just because. Add in your yeast mixture and 3 more cups of flour. Continue adding flour while kneading until your dough is smooth and not sticky. Knead for 5-7 minutes.
Place dough in greased bowl and cover with warm towel or a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled (depending on the warmth of the room 1-2 hours).
Place dough on a floured counter and cut in half. Cut each half into equal thirds. Roll each third into a 12 inch long rope. Starting in the center of one rope, braid the other two into it and pinch and tuck the end under. Repeat on other side of braid. And repeat, again, with the other half of dough (true Jewish challah is braided with 5 strands, instead of 3. Sometimes Emily will do that for me but usually I go the easy route and braid 3).
Place braids on a stone or greased cookie sheet and let rise for 20 minutes while preheating your oven to 350*. Bake on center rack for 40 minutes or until braids are golden brown.
variations: knead in seeds, nuts, dried fruit, or freshly chopped apples for a yummy treat!
In our family, we do not cut the challah. Rather, I serve both loaves (in the OT, we read that on the 6th day the children of Israel gathered manna enough for the Sabbath too) and we each break off the piece or pieces we want (in the NT, Christ’s body was broken for us). Leftover challah that I later slice makes incredible toast or French toast. This is simply my family’s tradition of incorporating some Scripture learning while we enjoy the challah. Feel free to use our tradition, if you’d like. 😉