Grandma H's Challah

I tend to use my bread machine for most bread making. However, I was first taught how to make challah the old-fashioned way from my mom (my children's Grandma H)…lots of kneading and patience! Although she doesn’t have the original recipe she used, over the last several years, she has used the one below that she adapted from the California Kosher cookbook.

What You Need

1 packet yeast (1/4 ounce = approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)

5 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3 eggs

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 egg yolk, beaten

Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix yeast with 1/4 cup of the warm water. Cover and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

  2. Put flour, and raisins (if using), in a bowl and push to sides to make a well.

  3. Add yeast, eggs, honey, oil, salt, vanilla, and the balance of the warm water into the flour well. Stir until all ingredients are well mixed.

  4. Flour a board. Knead dough until soft and elastic.

    • A technique that Grandma H always uses during the kneading process is to continue to add enough flour while kneading so that the dough doesn’t stick to the board.

    • She also has a test to know when the kneading is done. Punch your finger into the dough. When the depression bounces back, it is ready.

  5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise 1 hour at room temperature.

  6. Uncover and punch down on the dough. Re-cover the bowl. Let rise again until double in bulk (about 45 minutes).

  7. Place parchment paper or foil on a cookie baking sheet.

  8. Separate the dough into three equal sections on a floured board. Using your palms, roll each section into long, thick rolls of even size.

  9. Place the three rolls onto the prepared cookie sheet and braid them together. Tuck the ends under to hold the braided dough together.

  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  11. Cover again with the towel and let rise about 30 minutes or until it is double in bulk.

  12. Mix egg yolk with 1-2 tablespoons water. Once the dough has risen, brush the egg yolk mixture on the dough. If using the sesame seeds, sprinkle them on now.

  13. Bake for about 1 hour or until the bottom is golden brown.

Total Prep Time: 3 ½-4 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serves: 10-12

Recipe by Hedy Mishkind

Miracle No Knead Bread

What You Need

3 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 ½ cups room temperature water

Instructions

Dough prep:

  1. ​In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together until well mixed. 

  2. Stir in the water until a chunky, thick dough forms. 

  3. If needed, you can add a little more water, just enough to get it barely wet throughout. It’s going to look scrappy and weird, but don’t worry!

  4. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature. I leave it overnight.

Prep for baking:

  1. ​When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Stick a 6-quart enamel coasted cast iron Dutch oven (or an ovenproof stock pot with a lid, which is what I use) in the oven for about 30 minutes.

  3. At this point, the dough should be big, puffy, and pretty loose, with little bubbles in it.

  4. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface (I use a wood cutting board). REMEMBER DO NOT KNEAD!

  5. Gently shape the dough into a ball with flour on the outside.

  6. Set onto parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap while pot continues to heat up. Remove the pot from the oven (be careful, it will be very hot).

Bake:

  1. ​Remove plastic wrap from dough.

  2. Lift parchment paper with the dough on it and place carefully into the hot pot (be careful not to touch the pot).

  3. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove cover and bake another 10-15 minutes to get the exterior nice and golden brown and crispy.

Total Prep Time: 10 minutes - 18 hours

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

Serves: 8

Recipe from www.pinchofyum.com

Pita Bread

I love thick fluffy pita bread! There is one market near me where I can buy some, but when my friend passed along a recipe, I decided to try to make pita bread. I had success!

What You Need

3 cups flour (may need a little more)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon yeast

1 ½ cup lukewarm water

Instructions

  1. In a mixer or bread maker, first add dry ingredients and then add the liquid. Mix for 10 minutes on medium speed. If too sticky, add more flour.

  2. Remove dough from bowl onto a floured surface.

  3. Roll into a log. Divide into six equal parts. Make balls from each part.

  4. Put balls on a towel and cover with another towel. Let stand for 7 minutes.

  5. Flatten each ball into a pita shape.

  6. Return pita to the towel and cover again with another towel. Let stand for 30 minutes.

  7. Place a skillet (nonstick or regular) on medium heat and let heat up for 5 minutes.

  8. Place one pita into skillet and let it sit for apx. 15 seconds (if you see bubbles, it’s ready - don’t worry if you don’t).

  9. Flip it over and let cook for another 15 seconds.

  10. Continue to flip until the outside of the pita has a nice golden color.

    • It may start to rise during this process, but it’s ok if it doesn’t.

Total Prep Time: 55 minutes - 1 hour

Cook Time: 1-2 minutes

Serves: 3-6 (makes 6 pita)

Recipe by Sahar