Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ethnic Flavor: Well, I Tried

Whenever Rachel and I go to LA, we are treated to the wonderful pretzel challah from Got Kosher? Rebecca, of course, lives in LA, so she can have pretzel challah any time she wants! And now, with the magic of boiling water and baking soda, so can you!

One of my oldest childhood friends moved to Chicago today. She is going to make the world a better place through teaching sixth grade math, and everyone should wish her the best of luck! She came to my house for a long-delayed Shabbat dinner on Friday, and I thought that in her honor, I would make these tasty loaves. I found the recipe in Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-somethings, which my parents thoughtfully bought for me when I moved out of their apartment. 

I titled this post "Well, I Tried," not because of the taste of the challah (amazing) but rather the way it looks, which is totally wonky and strange. I had a lot of trouble extracting the loaves after I dipped them in the boiling mixture, and one ended up kind of weirdly extended while the other one just got completely misshapen. But whatever. Salt! How can you go wrong? (But if you have a better method for extracting them than desperately and spastically maneuvering two spatulas, do let me know.) I halved the recipe and made two loaves but the challot stretched out in the water and were fairly sizable. I doubt that larger loaves would have fit in my boiling solution, but if you have a wider-mouthed pot, be my guest. Also, the dough is very sticky with only 3 (or 6, if you make the whole recipe) cups of flour, so be sure that your hands and your surface are well-floured when you braid the loaves.

As I said, it tasted amazing; plus, it takes less time to rise than my usual challah recipe, so good if you're in a hurry. There's a distinct baking soda taste - unsurprising, in a recipe that involves 2/3 cup of baking soda. It's definitely best warm but I found that it was still moist and delicious the next day. There was no next day after that; Brianna and I ate an entire loaf between us on Friday night, and then my roommates and I made short work of the rest on Saturday. You can find the recipe here; now you don't have to go all the way to Los Angeles to get your fix!

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