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Challah and Variations (P, TNT)
Source: "Classic Jewish Cooking," by Sarah Finkel
Yield: 2 to 3 loaves, or about a dozen rolls

8 cups flour
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1-1/3 oz. (40g) fresh yeast
2 cups lukewarm water (don't hurry putting all the water sometimes you need only 1-1/2 cups)
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil

Put 2 cups of flour into mixing bowl, add sugar, crumbled yeast and warm water. Mix with electrical mixer on slow speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt, eggs, oil, and the flour (use dough hook). Mix 2 or more minutes on medium speed until smooth.

Place into a clean bowl, smear top with a little oil and turn in the bowl so it will be oiled on all sides. Cover with clean towel and let stand in a warm place to rise until double (about 2 hours), or in the oven with pilot light and it will rise in less than 1 hour.

Punch down, cover and let rise again for 1 hour.

Punch down. Divide for 2 to 3 challahs, reserving a handful from each for small top braid. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Round Challah:
Roll into strip 20"x2", circle in around itself in a 8" to 9" round pan. Make miniature braid and fasten it securely on top center of encircled dough, let rise 45 minutes in warm place. Brush top with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

Place in cold oven. Turn on heat to 375°F for 10 minutes, then to 350°F for additional 35 to 45 minutes until brown. To test whether done, tap bottom of challah for hollow sound, if doesn't sound hollow, return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Whole Wheat Challah:
Substitute 5 to 6 cups whole wheat flour for equal quantity of white flour.

Various Shaped Dinner Rolls:
Cloverleaf: Place 3 small balls into muffin tins, brush well with melted shortening, cover and let rise.

Bowknots: Roll dough into strips, tie a knot, bake on greased baking sheet.

Butterflies: Roll dough into rectangle 1/4"x8". Brush with margarine, roll as for jellyroll. Cut unto 2" long pieces. Press center of each one with round handle of knife.

Bread Sticks: Roll 1/4 of dough into rectangle 1/4"x8", cut in strips 2" wide, Roll each strip between your hands to form sticks. Place on greased baking pan and brush with mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp. warm water. Sprinkle with coarse salt or sesame seeds. Let rise until not quite double, bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.

Rosettes: Same procedures as for bowknots.

Brioches: Divide in 16 portions, remove 1/4 of each ball for knob on top. Place in fluted muffin tin, make depression in center, place the top, let rise, brush with egg wash, bake 12 minutes at 450°F.

Napkin Rings: Small braids formed around a carton cylinder (like the one from toilet paper roll) covered first by foil, then parchment.

Reduce baking time for all rolls.

Poster's Notes:
After posting my feedback about Kosher by Design challah-napkin rings yesterday, I have received several private mails asking for my challah recipe. The recipe is actually Sarah Finkel's, author of "Classic Jewish Cooking" (great jewish cookbook). Since it is a fantastic recipe to which I am faithful for 20 years, I am posting my favorite recipe (simplified version in an electrical mixer).

Posted by Viviane Barzel

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A