Sheilah Kaufman: Hi, this is Sheilah Kaufman, Cooking Teacher, Cookbook Author, Food Editor and Culinary Lecturer. Today we're learning recipes for Rosh Hashanah that you wish New Year's and Yom Kippur, the end of the High Holy Days. We're going to have some fabulous recipes and we're going to begin with challah.
Now making challah is something that's a wonderful activity for children to participate in. This recipe is very easy, it's from my friend Jackie Ben Efraim and we're going to start in just a moment, but challah, back in the days of the temple, when people made challah or bread, they would take small and baked portions to the priest. After the temple was destroyed, people began to break off small portions of their bread and say blessing over and burn it in remembrance of the days of the temple. Those small pieces were called challah, which meant 'offering'. So we're going to start making wonderful challah.
We're going to begin by mixing a tablespoon of yeast with a tablespoon of sugar. Then, we're going to stir in a half a cup of warm, not hot, not boiling, not cold warm water. Some people refer to this as proofing. I'm going to make sure the yeast was alive, doing its job, it will start to foam or get larger. The next step involving more sugar is to dissolve half a cup of sugar and quarter cup of boiling water.
You want to remember, always use liquid measuring cups, cups with the lip, when you're measuring liquids when you bake. You want to stir until the sugar is dissolved, and then we're going to add canola oil, salt, and a pinch of saffron, that's the secret ingredient in this challah. Okay, so here comes the the canola oil, salt, and a pinch, now the pinch really means what you can pinch between two fingers. Now the hot water, the boiling water will help dissolve the saffron. Now we're going to add a quarter cup of cold water. Now that we have dissolved the sugar and the saffron in the hot, we're going to start to cool this mixture down. Again, we're not going to add the eggs until this is absolutely finger-touchable. Well, I can put my finger into the sugar mixture and not burn myself, that means the eggs won't be curdled, and again we're taking a whole egg and an extra egg-white, and we've saved the yolk for the egg wash, and we're stirring all of it into this mixture. Now the real work starts. We're going to put our yeast mixture, which has proofed into the mixing bowl. We're going to add this mixture and then we're going to add the flour. Now Jackie and I like to use the King Arthur bread flour, but if you don't want to use bread flour you can use all-purpose flour, just remember to measure it correctly.
Now the recipe says between 5 and 6 cups measured of course properly in your dry measuring cup of flour -- but depending on where you live and the humidity and whether it's dry is going to determine how much flour is actually needed in the recipe. Also if you can, you want to have a mixer with a dough hook. Not only does this mix everything, but it will need it so that you only have to do a few minutes of kneading on your work surface.
We're going to give the yeast a little stir and pour in our oil and saffron, water and sugar. We just want to get them mixed together, only a minute or two, and we'll start adding our flour. And again, I'm using bread flour. Flour is always added on a low speed because you don't want to overfeed it, so a little bit of flour, it's sticky, not too much, and we want to make a pan cake.
Now to knead, you bring one half towards you, push your way with the heel of your hand, turn one quarter turn, bold in half, push your way with the heel of your hand. Turn one quarter turn, fold in half, push away with the heel of your hand, quarter turn, push away with the heel of your hand, quarter turn push away with the heel of your hand. This is how I learned to knead about 40 years ago.
Now when our dough is kneaded, nice and smooth, you want to take and lightly oil a bowl because now your dough has to rise for an hour. So, I am going to take our dough, we'll throw it in the bowl, take a clean kitchen towel, and put it in a warm spot in your kitchen. I usually put it under one of my kitchen lights and just leave it. When it's risen in an hour we're going to braid it or coil it and then bake it.