Teaching the Next Generation of Challah Bakers


    The new year puts a new challah recipe to the test.

    I hope you have enjoyed your summer! I know mine was jam-packed full of camping, beaching and barbecuing. Most people consider Labor Day the unofficial end of summer, but to me, Rosh Hashanah is the true harbinger of fall. 

    This year, my thoughts have turned too quickly from sunscreen to services: Rosh Hashanah 5774 falls on Sept. 4, only two days after Labor Day. 

    Most families use apples to dip in their honey to symbolize their hope for a sweet new year. My family also uses challah for dipping. On Rosh Hashanah, we use a round challah to signify the cyclical nature of the year.

    My friend Simone Nadav, a Fishtown resident and mother of two, includes her 2-year-old daughter, Bayla, in her challah baking. She says, "Since the holiday of Rosh Hashanah is about beginning a new year, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try two new challah recipes. I like to bake challahs with Bayla — she always has so much fun helping to measure and taste the ingredients.  

    My mother-in-law joined us this morning and gave me new, creative ways to make round challahs. Some we braided and stuffed with raisins, cinnamon and sugar; others, we twisted into round challahs; and some, we just sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the bottom of the pan so that the bottom is sweet!"

    Since The Bubbi Project is all about passing traditions on to the next generation, I asked Simone how she feels about including her daughter in the process. She responded, "As we stood around shaping our challahs, I turned to my mother-in-law and said to her how much I enjoy sharing these special times with Bayla and talking about the Jewish Holidays with her. She already knows we eat challah on Shabbat and at Jewish Holidays.
    I hope to continue making challah and learning from each other for many more years to come. It is such a wonderful feeling to sit at Rosh Hashanah dinner and know you brought forth love and joy in your challah that everyone can now enjoy."
    Simone and Bayla used this recipe by Bonnie Eisner from Audrey Claire's COOK blog:
    7 cups bread flour
    2 packs of rapid rise yeast
    2 very full teaspoons salt (more or less to your taste)
    1/2 cup honey
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups boiling water
    2 eggs
    1) Mix 3 cups of flour, yeast, salt and honey in large mixer bowl on low speed until all ingredients are combined. (It is recommended to use the dough hook in a Kitchenaid mixer for this recipe.)
    2) Slowly add orange juice, vegetable oil and boiling water to the mix. Then, mix in eggs.
    3) Add remaining flour, one cup at a time, while kneading with dough hook, slowly until ball forms.
    4) Roll into ball and set in a greased bowl. Roll the dough around in the bowl to grease the whole ball. Cover with a towel and let rise at least one hour, or until puffy.
    5) Knead again (and add raisins if you desire). Shape into whatever form you prefer — round or braided — and let sit for one hour.
    6) Brush outside of braided dough with beaten egg and sprinkle with topping (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, minced garlic, etc.)

    7) Bake about 35 minutes at 350˚ until top and bottom are golden brown and bread sounds hollow when you tap it with a knife.

    To All Challah Bakers Young and Old,
    The Bubbi Project