Friday, April 29, 2011

Challah Dough

If you'd like to make Key-Challah but don't have a recipe, here's a lowfat and delicious one.

Pour into a large bowl:
6 1/2 cups of warm water

Stir in:
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of dry yeast

When this has started to bubble, add:
5 lbs. of unbleached white or whole-wheat white flour (I prefer King Arthur)
1/2 cup of vegetable or canola oil
1-2 Tablespoons of salt

Mix the dough and knead until smooth.  Grease the bowl with a small quantity of oil and coat both sides of the dough.  Cover it with a clean dishtowel and set it to rise away from any drafts. 

When the dough has doubled, punch it down, kneading it.  This is an auspicious time to pray.

Now we perform the mitzvah of hafrashat challah.
  1. Say the following blessing: "Baruch Atah Adonoi Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu lehafrish challah."  Blessed are You My L-rd Our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.  
  2. Remove a piece of dough larger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball.  Lift it up and say, "Harei zu challah." This is the challah.  
  3. Burn this piece on your burners or over-bake in the oven and then discarded. 
    Divide the remaining dough into six or eight pieces.  If you don't need all the challah for this Shabbat, you can place the portioned dough into plastic bags and freeze them for next week (just remove them Thursday night and set them to thaw).   Line your baking pans with parchment paper (or use these handy paper molds) for easy clean-up. Shape each piece of dough into a challah - in this case, one of the "key" shapes.

     Brush the loaves with 1 beaten egg and sprinkle on your favorite topping: sesame seeds, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, chopped dried onion, salt -- or combine them.

    Bake at 350 for 35-50 minutes (depending on the size of your loaves).  You may want to rotate the pans halfway through for even baking.

    Shabbat Shalom!
For more on the mitzvah of hafrashat challah, see here and here.  Or listen to these classes about challah, while you work.

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