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
- 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
- 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.
- Process the ingredients in the dough cycle.
- Remove immediately when the machine beeps.
- Preheat oven to 350˚
- Divide the dough in half.
- Divide each half into three sections. Roll each section into a long strand.
- Braid the three strands, pinching the top and bottom ends together.
- Place on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, making the second challah.
- Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Brush the challah with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
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.