Thursday, August 28, 2008

Challah (Barhesz or "szombati kalács")


Challah (hallah) (Hebrew:חלה) also known as khale (eastern Yiddish), barches (German and western Yiddish), "barhesz" or "szombati kalács" (Hungarian) is a special braided bread eaten by Ashkenazi and by some groups of Sephardic Jews on the Sabbath and holidays.


Maybe my callach is just a simple milk-loaf, because the kosher has 6 or rather 8 braids, which you can read more about here.

The authentic kosher challah looks similar like the traditional Hungarian Easter braided bread (or milk-loaf). Honestly in spite of the fact, that I originates from a half Jewish family it was the first time that I baked challah. Couple of weeks ago when I was watching Világfalu on dvd (World village, series by András Kepes) I decided that sometimes I would prepare jewish or kosher foods too. Finally Fűszeres Eszter's blog inspirated me to bake challah. Thank you! :)

According to Jewish tradition, Sabbath and holiday meals begin with a blessing over two loaves of bread. This "double loaf" (in Hebrew: lechem mishneh) commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion fell before the Sabbath and holidays. It is these loaves, recognizable by their traditional braided style, that are commonly referred to as challah. Read more!


Ingredients for the CLASSIC CHALLAH

1 ounces fresh yeast or
2 packages dry yeast
1,75 cups warm water
0,33 cup sugar
1 Tbsps. salt
6 or 7 cups flour
3 eggs, slightly beaten
0,5 cup oil
GLAZE:1 egg, beaten, Poppy or sesame seeds (2 to 4 loaves)


Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. When dissolved, add sugar, salt, and half of the flour. Mix well. Add eggs and oil, then slowly stir in most of the remaining flour — dough will become quite thick. (Until the kneading stage, dough can be mixed in an electric mixer.)
When dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl, turn onto floured board and knead for about 10 minutes. Add only enough flour to make dough manageable. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic and springs back when pressed lighty with fingertip.Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Turn it so the top is oiled as well. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in four or five places every 20 minutes.
Separate challah with a blessing. Divide dough into four to six parts and shape into loaves; place in well-greased bread pans or on greased baking sheet. Let rise until double in bulk. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush tops of loaves.

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