HAPPY OCTOBER! As the leaves begin to change and the air gets a little cooler, I’m always shocked with how fast time is flying. For my first post of the month, I wanted to share my experience with making challah for the very first time.
Inspired by all of the videos and photos of challah (and not challah bread as a friend informed me, as that is redundant) due to the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, I thought that I’d give this delicious treat a try.
Being that I didn’t know anything about its history or what it represented, I thought it would be a good to do a little research. With anything, I try to respect other customs and represent them to the best of my abilities, and a few interesting facts that I learned from an article titled “A Brief History of Challah“, written by Marnie Winston-Macauley on Aish.com, a leading Jewish content site, is that:
- “The word ‘cake’ is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘challah.'”
- “The strands, arms intertwined, symbolize love, truth, peace, creation, freedom, harmony, family connection, unity and justice – following the simultaneous commandments to remember, observe and guard Shabbat (“Shamor” and “Zachor”).”
- “Round loaves on Rosh Hashanah symbolize continuity.”
While looking up recipes, I realized there were so many different types of challah. Aside from just the different flavors, like onion and poppy, there were also so many recipe variations and options to choose from.
I knew that undertaking baking bread for the first time would be a task, so I looked for a recipe that I thought I could handle and found the perfect one on Allrecipes.com that seemed like a great way to get my feet wet. The final result turned out much better than expected and I was super pleased.
I followed the recipe as written, but since I had enough dough to make two loaves (and also since I was feeling daring), I decided to kick it up a notch and make a sweet Cinnamon Raisin Challah in which I added:
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup of raisins
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 a diced onion
- 1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
I had also never braided challah before, so to learn how to do so I used this YouTube Video:
I think when it comes to challah, the sky’s really the limit in how you like it. It was a fun learning experience and one I would definitely try again. If you’ve ever made challah I’d love to hear your experiences as well.