Monday, September 2, 2013
Ethnic Flavor: The Last Braid of the Year
Welcome back to the land of blogging, us! What, you didn't notice we were gone? Guess we're less important than we thought.
Rosh Hashanah starts in less than sixty hours. Like all the pre-Purim holidays this year, it's crazy early (the first night of Hanukkah is on Thanksgiving, so get ready for turkey followed by jelly donuts - maybe jelly donuts filled with cranberry sauce?) One of the food traditions for Rosh Hashanah is that for whole month of Tishrei (the month that contains Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah), we eat challah that's round, instead of the traditional braid. This past Friday, I made challah for a nice, quiet dinner with Rachel and our dad, since our mom is in Los Angeles with Rebecca. I didn't have a lot of time to make it because I got home on the late side on Thursday night, so I was really happy to find a recipe that requires a lot less rising time than recipes that I've used in the past. It calls for letting the dough rise in a heated oven, which very much cuts down on the rising time. It's from the beautiful Entree to Judaism, a cookbook my friend Amelia gave me for my birthday, which features Jewish recipes from all over the world. The challah recipe actually was a round challah High Holidays recipe, but I braided it instead.
The other unusual thing about this recipe is that it calls for butter or margarine instead of oil. I used Earth Balance margarine, which is almost indistinguishable from butter, and we could really tell when we tasted the challah! Normally, challah comes in two flavor varieties--water (which is more bread-like) or egg (which is more cake-like)--but with this I think I've discovered a new flavor: buttery! It wasn't brioche-level or anything, nor should it be, but it was still extremely tasty and different. I halved the recipe for one loaf and didn't include the food coloring, but it still came out beautifully, in my opinion. Here's the recipe: