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Oh, That Heavenly Challah!

September 22, 2005
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During Rosh Hashanah, challah is often shaped into forms other than the usual braid. It may look like wings to associate man with the angels or like a ladder to facilitate our prayers reaching heaven.

In a round form, such as this recipes provided courtesy of Jewish Holiday Feasts, the challah recalls the crown of God's kingdom - or the circle of life.

Round Raisin Challah
2 packages dry yeast
1/8 tsp. saffron threads
2/3 cup warm water (about 100? Fahrenheit)
5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 eggs, lightly beaten
7 Tbsps.vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps. salt
41/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 cups raisins
1 egg yolk, beaten

In a large bowl, soak the yeast and saffron in water for about 5 minutes.

Stir in egg yolks, eggs, oil, sugar and salt.

Add enough flour to form a stiff but sticky dough, about 41?2 cups.

Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes, working raisins into the dough while kneading.

Form into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn dough to grease entire surface. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and knead briefly. Roll dough into a rope about 24 inches long.

Coil rope into a spiral round loaf. Place on a greased cookie sheet.

Brush with beaten yolk and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375?.

Bake the challah until it's a dark golden-brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool thoroughly before slicing thickly.

Makes 1 loaf.

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