Tag Archives: Jewish cooking

Bread Machine Challah Bread

I love challah bread.

It always reminds me of when I was a little girl, playing with my dolls up in my room on Friday nights. Mama and Bubbye would spend every Friday cooking and cleaning all day to get ready for the Sabbath meal. Mama would call me downstairs to set the table. My sisters, Sadie and Sophie, would help Bubbye in the kitchen, tapping on the bread to listen for the hollow sound, indicating that it was finished baking. The smells of fried fish, potatoes and onions, and fresh baked bread wafted through the house, and we would eagerly await the arrival of cousin Moyshe, to help us celebrate the Sabbath.

Oh, wait. That wasn’t me.

That was Rebecca, An American Girl ®.

Every single time I make challah bread, my daughter informs me that in 1914, challah was only baked on the Sabbath or holidays, because each loaf required 2 eggs, and eggs were expensive.

And she tells me that you can tell if it’s done by tapping on it and listening for the hollow sound.

God bless you, American Girl. Your dolls may be freakin’ expensive, but you sure have taught my daughter some history.

Bread Machine Challah Bread

from food.com

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • poppy seeds, optional

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients except for the beaten egg and the poppy seeds into the bread machine pan, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Process the ingredients in the dough cycle.
  3. Remove immediately when the machine beeps.
  4. Preheat oven to 350˚
  5. Divide the dough in half.
  6. Divide each half into three sections. Roll each section into a long strand.
  7. Braid the three strands, pinching the top and bottom ends together.
  8. Place on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough, making the second challah.
  10. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  11. Brush the challah with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired.
  12. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Click here for printable

Bread Machine Challah Bread

Isn’t it so pretty?

On food.com, this recipe is titled, “The Best Bread Machine Challah Bread.” Those bragging fools sure aren’t kidding! It really is the best. And I should know. Me and Moyshe have had our share of challah breads!

Oops, there I go again.

Well, this may not be New York City in 1914 (if it was, I’d be soooo confused about this computer I’m using) but we still love our challah bread. I make this a lot (eggs aren’t quite the hardship they were back then). We make sandwiches  with it, use it to make french toast, eat it with soup, or dip honey in it. And did I mention it was pretty?

So make this bread for Rosh Hoshana this week. Make your Bubbye proud. And if you don’t have a Bubbye, make it for Rebecca’s Bubbye. And Moyshe. But you can eat it yourself, because they aren’t real.

The End.


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Chicken Soup with Noodles or Matzo Balls

I know what you’re thinking.

‘Haven’t I heard you talk about observing the season of Lent? Now you’re making chicken soup? What does a goyim know about cooking Jewish penicillin?’

Well, don’t worry. I’m only half goyim. The nice Jewish girl half of me will be doing the cooking today. The shikse is taking a nap.

There are as many recipes for chicken soup out there as there are Bubbyes who make them. But no matter what recipe you use, nothing beats a bowl of nice, hot chicken soup, whether you’re sick or not.

Chicken Soup with Noodles or Matzo Balls

  • 1 whole 4-5 lb chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into large chunks, or handful of baby carrots
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 rounded tsp chicken bouillon
  • noodles or matzo balls (see recipe for details)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • large handful chopped, fresh dill

Directions:

  1. Put chicken in a large stockpot and just cover with water. Add next 4 ingredients. I also like to sprinkle a bit of thyme and sage in there (or poultry seasoning), but that’s optional. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, occasionally skimming the fat off the top.
  2. Make the matzo balls, if using (see below).
  3. Strain the broth. Set the chicken aside to cool.
  4. Bring broth to a boil and add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and seasonings (bay leaf through bouillon). Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Add noodles, if using. My husband likes a lot of noodles, so I add about 2-3 cups of wide egg noodles. Cook for about 15 minutes, until noodles are done.
  6. Remove from heat. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick off the meat and add to the soup. I usually add about 2 cups of the chicken and then put the rest in the freezer to use for another soup recipe later.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh dill. I do 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt.
Chicken Noodle Soup

Personally, I prefer matzo balls. The noodles just don’t stay on my spoon, and then they’re sloppy. I usually just make a big pot of chicken soup and freeze it in batches. Then on the day I’m serving it I’ll add either noodles or matzo balls, depending on my mood, or which sick person I’m making it for, and their preference.

This is my mom’s (Bubbye’s) matzo ball recipe:

Bubbye’s Matzo Balls

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  1. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  2. Beat yolks, then fold into egg whites. Fold in matzo meal 1 spoonful at a time. Add salt, pepper, and melted butter. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Form matzo mixture into balls (remember that they will grow as they cook). Drop into boiling water. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.

Matzo Ball Soup

We were having matzo ball soup the day I asked The Critics what they thought. Here’s what they said:

Batman: Mommy, I LOVE this soup!

Sarah Crewe: It’s good!

Curious George: Matzo ball soup is my favorite! He then ate only the matzo balls, and cried when I said he had to eat the veggies, too. He said: If I have to eat the carrots, then I don’t like it.

Elmo ate at least 3 bowls

Don Corleone: This is really good!

And finally, I leave you with the old blind man/soup scene in Young Frankenstein. Two of my Critics watched this clip with me. I was cracking up, while they kept saying, “Why is it so funny? I don’t understand…”

My 6-year-old always says, “Grownups think weird things are funny.”

Yeah, right back atcha, kiddo!