Sunday, 10 January 2016

Challah bread rolls

Having visited Israel so many times, one of the things that keep me going back are the friends I've made there. In a decade since my first trip many things have changed in our lives, too.

Jobs have changed, relationships come and gone. Businesses have gone under, dreams have been crushed. 

Jean size has gone up, as has the hairline of some of us. There are definitely more wrinkles, many of them from laughing, but some tears have been shed, too. Life certainly doesn't get any easier as an adult, but luckily friendships have stood the test of time. As has the love for our respective football teams. 

This challah recipe is a souvenir from one of them. A lovely girl, in spite of her horrible taste in football (Liverpool FC). 

Challah is a sweeter than average, eggy Jewish bread that is traditionally made for Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Usually it gets braided into an oblong, loaf-like shape except for Rosh ha-Shana, Jewish New Year, when challah is round. 

At the beginning of a Shabbat meal both the wine and bread are blessed and the challah is passed on from one diner to the next. Each breaks a piece of the bread and dips it in salt.

Challah also makes just about the best French toast!

Traditionally before the dough is shaped into breads, a small piece is broken off, wrapped in foil and burnt in the oven to remind about the offerings made for the priests at the Temple. 

You can also bake the dough into bread rolls, in which case this recipe yields 20-30 rolls (depending on the size). The original recipe calls for 2 sachets of dry yeast but as I learnt from one accidental incident, one will do just fine, too.

For instructions on how to fold the dough into the braided shape, just see here and here




2 loaves or 20-30 bread rolls

Challah bread rolls:

1/2 l luke warm water
1-2 sachets (รก 11 g) dry yeast
1,25 dl sugar
3 eggs, beaten
100 g butter, melted and slightly cooled
1,5 tsp salt
appr. 1 kg flour (14-16 dl)

Also:

1 egg
1 tbsp water
sesame seeds/ poppy seeds, salt

Dissolve yeast into the water. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes until frothy. Add sugar, butter and eggs into the mixture. Combine salt and flour and start adding that into the yeast mixture 1 dl at a time until shaggy dough forms. 

Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth, elastic dough that won't stick. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film and kitchen towel. Leave to rise in a warm, drought-free place until it's doubled in size - 60 - 90 minutes. 

Pour into the work surface and punch the air out. Divide into two and shape either into 2 loaves or cut each half into about 12 similar sized portions. Keep remaining portions covered as you're working on each portion. Roll into a thin rope and cut into 4.

Place the lengths of rope in an interwoven hashtag-like formation. Fold each rope underneath the next and tuck the ends underneath the rolls. Place on a parchment-lined trays, cover and leave to rise.

Brush with egg ad water mixture and sprinkle seeds (and some fleur de sel) on top of the rolls. Bake at 200 until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. 

Serve as they are or use as burger buns. 




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