This afternoon I tackled the Chocolate Chip Challah recipe from Chocolate Chip Challah. It used many of the same methods and ingredients as the bread we baked two weeks back. There were three major differences. A sweet potato filled in for the plain potato. Much to the glee of my kids, chocolate chips were added. Last, but certainly not least, as you can see in the picture the recipe suggested a new braiding method. Instead of merely making a braided loaf, or twisting the coil into a round loaf I rolled out six long snakes and made two sizable braids, then twisted each braid into a coiled loaf. Very fun and quite fancy.

My three year old helped me to set out all of the ingredients and had a quizzical look on her face when I pulled out the baby-food grinder. It’s been out of use for awhile but not too long ago it was in daily use. We would boil just about any fruit or veggie and grind it at the table so our kids almost always ate what we were eating. If only there was a gadget once they hit elementary school to help them remember how much they devoured all fruits and vegetables, instead of listing out their acceptable choices. Emily was fascinated as I set it up. She loved spinning the crank and watching the cubes of boiled sweet potato come spiralling out like play-doh hair in their play-doh barber shop or lava from the play-doh volcano. We’ll be using that gadget a lot more now I’m sure. Maybe some peach sauce after the farmer’s market opens- yum.

This recipe is so similar that it too formed a delightful dough. The sweet potato added a lovely golden hue. Jack and Emily loved sticking the chips deep into the dough and watching them pop back up slightly so that the challah dough looked like a giant inflated chocolate chip cookie. I was caught up helping Molly pack for her first girl scout camping trip and was so caught up changing the batteries in her flashlight and sneaking little notes into her bag that I forgot the egg wash- gasp! The good news is thanks to that sweet potato the finished result still looked golden. That being said, as much as we’ve enjoyed some of the sweet challah recipes we’ve tried, this one just didn’t seem like challah at all. I’ll be sure to braid and twist again, the chips were a novelty, but next time I’ll save them for dessert.


Friday was unexpectedly hot, a hectic day full of walkathons and sweaty little ones, leaving little time for baking. By the time we got ’round to baking some challah and making dinner I realized that our air conditioner had decided to take a break. Our friendly electrician came to the rescue, and we said the hamotzi over some leftover challah. After Jack and Emily fell asleep, cozied up together in Jack’s log bed, Molly and I snuck back downstairs and tried out one of her all-time favorite challah recipes- The Best Maple Challah. A few years back, one of her classmates from Hebrew School brought it in and it made such a big impression on her that she insisted that I ask for the recipe. We recently discovered the recipe card and Molly’s been patiently waiting her turn in the cue. It was well worth the wait.

We measured and mixed together, and giggled, delighted to share this secret time, made even more special because it was unplanned and past bedtime. The ratio of ingredients seemed in good proportion, and the lack of sugar for proofing the yeast was made up for by the addition of four tablespoons of maple syrup with the remaining ingredients. The dough was very elastic and smooth, and we took turns kneading. After we tucked our dough ball under a dishtowel Molly went up to bed and I don’t know which one of us was grinning more. The dough doubled in two hours and was easy to roll and braid. An egg yolk, with no added water created a bright, glossy finish. The recipe produces a single crowned challah, which is a good thing because it’s so good we’d gobble up many loaves in no time at all. As it baked, the house smelled delicious and even after I took it out to cool the aroma made it’s way upstairs. The end result was golden and just right. This challah was moist and chewy, tasted faintly maple-y, sort of yeast-y, and very beautiful.

When everyone came down for breakfast Saturday morning they were surprised and excited to see a challah waiting for them. We happily munched away in an unusual silence and when I asked for everyone’s review they each enthusiastically added one superlative on to another- "awesome, amazing, terrific."

This may very well be the Best Maple Challah out there, for me it will always be one that reminds me of sweet Molly moments and forever more sweet dreams. 

Week after week, it’s fascinating to see the different ingredients and techniques for making in theory the same bread. The recipe Aunt Ada’s Challah (With a Twist) from Lisa Rauchwerger’s Chocolate Chip Challah and Other Twists on the Jewish Holiday Table was fun to make and a big hit with the kids. The twist? Our guest-star ingredient this week was a small potato- peeled, quartered, boiled and riced. Don’t have a ricer? Not to worry. Instead of digging around for our baby food ricer I used my garlic press to rice the potato. Emily thought that was pretty cool- "It looks like spaghetti!" The nifty technique? Microwave one cup of water for a minute and a half and then portion out four tablespoons to proof the yeast. After carefully measuring out the water, despite my concerns, that yeast puffed up very dramatically.

The proportions seemed right and the dough mixed together very nicely. It did start out a little crumbly but after 5-10 minutes of kneading was a smooth, compact ball. We left it to rise for two hours and had a lovely walk around our old hometown. We moved three years ago and don’t get back too often, when we do it’s often just for a quick visit to the ice-cream shop. I occasionally spend a morning strolling through the teeny downtown shopping area while everyone’s at school, but it had clearly been a while since Jack and Emily were back in town. We visited some favorite old stomping grounds, stopping outside our old health food store to peer into a giant ceramic planter filled with koi. The last time we were there I hoisted Emily up over the edge to see the fish and this afternoon she ran right up and easily looked down into the pot. The two of them marveled at the fish while I marveled at how much they’re all growing. In that moment that koi pot was like a time machine, a flash of memories in an instant. When we moved to Denville Molly was two and we’d shop there all the time. I’d lift her up to greet the fish on our arrival and once more on our way out to say good-bye, rain or shine. She carefully navigated the little tikes shoping carts though the aisles and we’d fill the cart with goodies. Then Jack came along and he’d peer over his baby carrier to wave at the fish, distraught when we went there one wintry day and the pot had iced over. He was thrilled when spring finally thawed out his fishy friends, but worried again the following winter. The next year I’d scoop him up to take a peek while carefully balancing Emily in the Baby B’jorn. Greetings and good-byes with every visit. Our baby days are past and our littlest one will soon be four, changing and growing every day. The store has a new owner and new name but how wonderful that some things stay the same. I made sure to say good-bye to the fish and promised we’d all be back soon. We drove home, picked up Molly from her schoolbus and tackled the dough.

There are several braiding options listed , but the kids were excited to try the 2 large braided challot with crowns. Each section rolled out nicely, braided easily and within an hour had doubled again and was ready for an egg wash. It took slightly longer to bake than expected but was worth the wait. The end result was moist, sweet (did I mention the 1/4 cup of honey?) and dense. Molly raved "It’s downright delicious!" Emily happily gobbled away, and Jack once again insisted that this was his second favorite recipe, maybe even his most favorite. 

This cookbook is exceptional. There are simple illustrations for each step of kneading, braiding or rolling. The subtitle – An Interactive Family Cookbook- is completely accurate. Each holiday has it’s own section and many have a page with questions to answer together and record.

Delightful cookbook, downright delicious challah and walk down memory lane too.

Well it had to happen sooner or later, again. When I began "the great challah experiment" my hope was to find the best challah recipe. I assumed that each week I’d create a new tasty variation and that by the end of the year it would be a delicious blur. Sadly, twice now, I have attempted a challah recipe that was disappointing.

On January 19th I tried Georgian Challah from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America and created a dry, round, biscuit-looking, rock-like bread. That recipe didn’t have a single egg in it which struck me as odd. The comments I jotted down after attempting it were "thumbs down, no egg, not challah-like, not really good at all."  No egg, no good.

You may recall that last week’s low-cholesterol challah required just one egg for two loaves and used less than 1 egg for the wash. While the end-result wasn’t really challah, it was still tasty and lovely to look at. This past Friday I tried the Golden Challah Bread recipe from Louise Fiszer’ and Jeanette Ferrary’s Jewish Holiday Feasts which calls for 6 egg yolks, and 3 whole eggs. This recipe with it’s nine eggs created the scariest end result since my sister and I attempted to make perfume for our mom for mother’s day when we were little. We gathered magnolia petals that had fallen from our front yard, ripped them, boiled them and added Jean Nate body splash to hide the less than floral scent we were brewing. I still don’t know what was scarier the end result or the slimy mess we left behind. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

The recipe started out with promise. The yeast, water and saffron proofed very nicely. I splurged and bought some saffron after reading for months that it would add a beautiful golden tint. It was only as I began adding all of the eggs, and mixing in the bread flour that something seemed off. I reread the recipe several times to make sure I wasn’t missing a step to add more water. The dough wasn’t smooth and silky, instead it felt clumpy like play-doh. I kneaded it, placed it in the greased bowl, covered it with plastic wrap as suggested and it did easily double in volume. As I punched it down and gave it a quick knead something wasn’t quite right. It was only as I cut it into six equal pieces and attempted to roll out the "snakes" to create the braids that I began to have serious doubts. Usually the only challenge in rolling the snakes is that they are too elastic and want to snap back together. This dough was stubborn to roll out, it resisted any attempt, whether I tried to roll it on the counter or in between my hands like I learned in elementary school. As I braided it, it began to break apart. I mended the loaves and brushed them with a beaten yolk as instructed. The end result was a challah freak show. The braids were twisted and contorted, each end broken free, stretching sadly apart. The glossy egg wash absorbed into the dry loaves leaving behind dark shiny streaks. We had Shabbat dinner at temple so with considerable effort I broke off a hunk, hoping that at least the inside could be salvaged and offered everyone a little nibble. Without exception they grimaced before spitting it back out.(me too)

No eggs, no good. One egg, not bad. Nine eggs, never again.

This week I looked to Joan Nathan for inspiration. She spoke at our Temple two years ago and signed my copy of her cookbook The Jewish Holiday Kitchen: 250 Recipes from Around the World to Make Your Celebrations Special. I picked it up this morning and turned to a recipe that caught my eye that night- Sonia Greenberg’s Low Cholesterol Hallah. How could challah be low-cholesterol? Greenberg’s recipe which yields two nice-sized loaves calls for only one egg in the dough and one as the egg-wash.

I prepared the dough with Emily and left it to rise while dropping her off at preschool. Upon my return home there was still an hour left to rise. The house was cleaned yesterday, a recent gift that I appreciate more and more, so there was nothing urgent to straighten. We had dinner plans at temple tonight for Molly’s Shabbaton Celebration so there was no need to run to the market or start dinner preparations. How incredibly liberating to have an hour to my self. Once again I was so thankful to "have to" sit around and wait for bread to rise. Instead of tying me down, it freed me to do with that hour as I pleased. I sat at the piano and played whatever came into my head. No requests, no need to be quiet, just good old playing. This is sadly a treat that I rarely make time for, but something that brings me joy. There are pieces I learned in high school that still mysteriously, magically flow from my fingers and others that I attempt, much more bravely when noone’s around. The timer beeped and I made my way to the kitchen, punched down the dough, sliced it in half, then each half again into thirds and rolled out six snakes and braided two nice sized loaves. Another rise, I sat back at the piano until a friend arrived and we set out for a walk around the neighborhood.

It was a perfect day for a walk, flowers in bloom, tiny leaves peeking out in every shade of green imaginable and the occasional deer watched us as we made our way up and down the hills and down a path in the woods. I have known this friend since our fourth graders were in "the two’s" at the JCC but I’m pretty sure this was the first time the two of us have had on our own. We walked and talked and something occurred to me as we sat down for berries on the deck looking out on the woods. In all these years of really liking this friend, she’s a phenomenal mother of three bright and beautiful girls, incredibly honest and real, my challah-day waiting-for-dough-to-rise-time gave me permission to set aside this time to be together. Our daughters rarely see each other. We live in different towns and with various commitments their schedules are wholly incompatible but when they do get together at birthdays or the rare get-together it’s as if they were still best friends in pre-school. They are able to reconnect in a moment and to this day if asked to list her best friends Sarah is near the top of the list. It thrills me that grown-ups can reconnect this way too.

What does this have to do with baking challah? Nothing, but everything. In the past, such a ritual seemed old-fashioned and unnecessary, why bake a challah when you can buy one at the bakery or grocery store. So much of my life is spent rushing to get the kids to school, doing the laundry, and running errands, how could I find the time? It turns out that by baking my challah each week, time has found me.  The bread itself is enjoyable, but the process is delicious.

So, what about the bread?

The dough definitely felt different, slightly pebbly but rose nicely, braided easily and baked to a crisp, golden brown. It was tasty, but it wasn’t challah. I couldn’t quite figure it out but my friend Tobi took a nibble tonight and she instantly said what had eluded me. "Croissant" This challah has a crispy, flaky crust and is light and airy. Not quite challah, but not so bad.

So if you’re hesitant to bake a challah because of your cholesterol level give this one a try. If you’re not convinced you have the time, you’ll be amazed how much more time you’ll have.

Another week, another challah. Our oldest, Molly, chose the recipe for this week.  She looked through several cookbooks and when she seemed uninspired we turned to the internet. We checked the food network site  It had three pages of challah recipes but after closer inspection listed just a few recipes to actually make bread but dozens of recipes that required challah. I’ll be placing it in my favorites as a good site to check out when we’ve got an extra loaf or leftovers on hand. She came across a simple recipe that received lots of positive reviews. When she saw melted butter in the ingredient list she was sold. This is how we came to bake Caprial Pence’s Bistro Challah Bread from the show "Cooking Live" .

It was extremely simple to prepare as it requires only five minutes of kneading and one rise making it ideal for a novice and for preparing after work or after-school. It felt good to mix and knead again after last week’s mixer recipe and the dough felt promising- smooth and satiny. I actually made my husband touch it. Though the recipe suggested I "form it into a loaf and place in a greased loaf pan" and no mention was made of an egg wash, I quickly rolled out 4 very long snakes- high marks for not being sticky, braided a four strand braid and brushed it with egg-wash. This cut the baking time significantly and produced a "gi-normous" braided challah- easily 18" long. That would have to be one giant loaf pan! Another first- I sprinkled the baking sheet with cornmeal. This is a method suggested in several other recipes which not only kept the loaf from sticking but gave the bottom of the bread a professional bakery look. Molly was very impressed. There were oohs and aahs when I carried it in to the dining room and the blessings were sung a little bit more quickly as the room filled with the scent of very warm bread.

Family reviews were "Delicious, delicious, delicious. My favorite one…besides Mimi’s challah and the monkey bread." "It was spectacular." "It was so good."

My review: It was easy to prepare and the short prep time meant we could bake it this afternoon and enjoy it hot out of the oven- a real treat. The dough was remarkably not sticky making it easy to roll out and braid. The end result was very light and airy, big and beautiful. It looks like we’ll get a chance to try out one of those leftover recipes this week.

T_ball_087 This week it was our three year old’s turn to pick the challah recipe and she was determined to bake a honey challah. We looked through our cookbooks and found a unique recipe from Jeffrey Nathan’s cookbook Adventures in Jewish Cooking. Honey Challah is simple to make, as the ingredients are mixed together in a heavy-duty mixer and with the simple change from paddle blade to bread hook attachment, there’s no knead to knead and no pile of mixing bowls to wash. We got an early start and before I dropped them off at school the kids helped me to pour the ingredients into the mixer. Within the recommended eight minutes a perfect, smooth ball of dough had formed. This is a great recipe for a first-timer as the directions for creating a braided challah are simple and easy to follow, the best I’ve read yet. I look forward to trying many of the recipes in this book. I had the pleasure of attending a cooking class taught by Nathan a few years ago and the knife he recommended is still one of my favorite ones.

The end result was tasty, the vanilla extract took me by suprise but coupled with the honey create a subtle sweetness. The kids loved it and our son’s Hebrew school class gobbled up the second loaf. Ultimately a sweet bread, but slightly bittersweet experience. As much as I appreciated the neat preparation and end result I missed the kneading and the mess?!?

The Friday morning before Passover, Jack pored through our cookbooks wanting to choose a very special recipe. He was incredibly excited about the Cinnamon-Sugar Challah recipe in an amazing new cookbook- Kosher by Design Picture Perfect Food for the Holidays and Every Day. The recipe calls for 1 batch of challah dough and to save time I flipped a few pages back to a basic challah recipe and we started measuring and pouring. I should have noticed the quantities seemed rather large but he and Emily were having so much fun and before I knew it we had created an enormous mountain of dough. It was only then that I noticed the comments on the following page "Yield: 6-7 challahs."

Not exactly ideal a few short days from Passover, but a good reminder to read before you proceed. It was wonderful sharing the bread with friends and family. The basic recipe was excellent and the cinnamon sugar variation was simple- roll each strand of dough in cinnamon sugar before braiding and egg-washing. It was also a crowd favorite. Jack proudly sampled his wares and claimed "I think that was the best challah I ever made."

Last Friday, determined to not skip a week, but also to "keep Passover" I decided to attempt baking matzo. It would have been wise to read the recipe and realize that I needed kosher for Passover flour to make kosher for Passover matzo (duh) but I reasoned that if we followed the recipe, were sure to get the matzo in the oven within the 18 minute limit, and since our intent was good that it would be mostly kosher and possible to take a little bite. The end result looked like matzo, smelled like matzo, but was so incredibly hard, that it was truly impossible to eat. We each attempted a tiny nibble after we sang the hamotzi before grabbing the store-bought stuff. Next year we’ll try a new recipe with kosher flour.

This brings us to yesterday. Since I had a hectic day  getting ready for a family ed program at Temple I was determined to not repeat the 6-7 loaf mistake and instead was going to prepare a simple recipe my mother taught me when I was little that yields a single loaf. It came from a bread cookbook that she recently rediscovered, The last time I was visiting I meant to copy it down. Instead, Molly called Mimi and carefully wrote it down. I’d like to say that I learned from our giant batch of cinnamon sugar challah and reviewed the recipe prior to beginning, but I did not. I remembered the smooth dough, tinged yellow with food coloring, the chewy texture, the beautiful double-layer braided loaf that my sister and I loved to create. What I forgot  was that it needs to rise for 90 minutes and then again for an hour. As carefully as I tried to schedule the rising and the baking on a school-day overflowing with Girl Scouts, Torah Explorers and so many other things that pulled me away from home for hours at a time, the braided loaf sat on the counter for too long and when we got home from Temple I had to throw it away, unbaked. I was terribly blue. As I lay in bed I thought, I must remember to read before I knead.

Tonight, after tucking three little ones in I snuck back downstairs and followed Molly’s hand-written directions. While yesterday’s batch was lumpy and bumpy this dough was smooth and elastic. It felt like the dough I used to knead with my mom back in our little kitchen. It won’t finish rising and baking until almost 1:30 a.m. but I can tell you before taking a single bite, "I think that was the best challah I ever made."

Challah013crop_2Brownies and charoset and challah oh my!

By 9:30 this morning I had a kitchen full of friends, a pan of brownies cooling, a batch of challah rising and a charoset assembly line in motion.

Why? Jack requested m&m brownies for our Shabbat dessert, I volunteered to prepare Moroccan Charoset Balls for our Women’s Seder this weekend and Molly selected this week’s new challah recipe from one of my favorite new books, Meredith Jacobs’ The Modern Jewish Mom’s Guide to Shabbat. I’d prepared "Meredith’s Challah" from the Modern Jewish Mom’s website a few weeks back and was very pleased with the results so was very excited when Molly selected "Adrienne’s Challah" which the Modern Jewish Mom touts "won the best-tasting challah at my shul."

Adrienne’s Challah is unique for several reasons.

It yields four small loaves, so if you’re reluctant to bake on a weekly basis you can bake once, freeze and have challah for a month. I’ve yet to freeze a large challah because I haven’t seen a zip-loc bag big enough to hold one, but these little loaves would easily fit into a gallon-size bag. The loaves are ideal for portion control, smaller families, and just right for wrapping-up to share.

The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar per 7 cups of flour which is the same amount I’ve used for recipes with 12 cups of flour so it is a sweet treat. Especially when you choose to follow the tantalizing option of adding 1 tablespoon of brown sugar-mmmmm.

Lessons learned this week:

Each recipe teaches me something new. In the past I’ve always measured the water first in my measuring cup, added the yeast, stirred it, let it rest, then poured the mixture into the flour, scraping in the stray yeast that clings to the cup. This is messy, awkward and leaves a gloppy measuring cup behind. Adrienne suggests pouring the yeast into your mixing bowl, adding the water and letting it proof right there in the bowl. Aha! Why didn’t I think of that? Genius.

The recipe calls for glazing the bread with a beaten egg yolk for that glossy finish we love. I also tried a tip I read in the book of drizzling the top of the challah with honey- recommended instead of an egg-wash- but combining both created a shiny, golden brown crust.

I’ve read about the benefits of using "bread flour" and was skeptical, flour is flour, but after trying it this morning plan on stocking up on it. They don’t carry it most grocery stores but it is really worth a try.

Recipe review

Emily- "This tastes like frosting!"

Molly- "Sweet, delicious, moist and fluffy"

Jack- "Great! It looks great and it tastes great too"

Special thanks this week to Tobi and Dana for helping me to prepare the charoset and then washing up the mess while I braided away.

"You’re doing what?"

"Every week?"

Family and friends have been bemused by my recent foray into challah baking. They’re delighted to share the spare loaves, but seem surprised that three months into 2007 I’m still baking a new challah recipe each week. Sharing has become one of my favorite unexpected perks of baking every week. There’s always someone who could use a little extra love, but that’s not why this mishegas began.

This year, as I’ve been studying for my Bat Mitzvah, I’ve come to realize what an important role Shabbat has filled; giving our week a sense of closure and our year a beautiful rhythm. Those of you who know me know that Shabbat dinner has been a special part of our family life for several years. The kids look forward to it and enjoy helping pick a special meal every Friday night. They also get to select a dessert- a weekly treat we enjoy on Friday nights alone. We light the candles, sing the blessings and enjoy making each week special.  This Hanukkah we got the Shabbat Box of Questions and each week we read one of the questions and each take a turn answering- a simple but meaningful way to start a discussion. The kids responses are sometimes silly, but more often than not take my breath away. As my studies progressed I wanted to add a new layer to our Shabbat observance but wasn’t sure how.

In the past, we received a weekly challah from our days at the JCC preschool, then after moving we would pick one out from the bakery or grocery store with mixed results. I occasionally tried baking challah but with so many recipes out there wanted to find the yummiest one. I try to write comments in my cookbooks each time I try a new recipe- noting results and family opinions. As I looked for a special challah recipe for Hanukkah I reviewed recipes I’d tried, looked on-line, pored through my pile of cookbooks and thought- I could bake a different challah every week and never have to repeat a recipe. That thought was quickly pushed aside as I settled on the recipes we wanted to try for Hanukkah.

As the new year approached, a fine time to make resolutions, I still wondered how to deepen my connection to Shabbat. So many loaves later I can’t recall the aha moment, but as I enjoy baking and searching for just the right recipe it seemed reasonable to commit to baking  challah each week and trying a new recipe each week.

Eleven weeks in and I’m so glad I made this commitment. We’ve tried 11 recipes so far, each very different; creating loaves of varying size, texture and taste. I’ve come to learn that for me an optional egg wash is anything but- we like our challah shiny, not dry. I’ve mastered the 4 strand braid which makes a loaf that "looks like it’s made at the bakery." One of these days I’ll splurge on some oval baking pans, but for now our loaves are free-form and just fine. We’ve shared our loaves with family, neighbors, teachers and friends. One week my mother was here to help me and it felt like old times sitting together, taking turns kneading when my arms began to ache- 4 loaves worth of dough is a lot to knead.  Sometimes I have little helpers who gleefully dump the flour or punch down the dough, but more often than not challah time begins after I’ve dropped our kids off at preschool and elementary school and return home alone. At first I played Shabbat music, but have come to enjoy measuring the ingredients, mixing and kneading in silence. It’s meditation, bubbe style, and it means more to me with each passing week. There’s no racing around or running errands on Friday morning- I have plans. While the dough rises I might start dinner preparations, do some homework, or just sit with a cup of coffee. It’s not enough time to start a big project or run to the store. Somehow instead of losing time to bake, I’m finding it. Nothing compares to the aroma of bread baking and everyone loves coming home from school Friday afternoon.

As the weeks pass and more friends discover my new passion they’ve asked me to tell them which recipe is the best- which the easiest and so on. So, much in the same way I jot down notes along the recipe in my cookbooks I’m going to try to share our challah experience on-line. If you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share I’d really appreciate it. If you’d like to join me one morning in my kitchen that would be nice too.  I’ll post soon describing the past 10 challahs, but here is a review of last night’s recipe(s)

This past week Emily got to pick a recipe and she chose "Challah with a Twist" from Tastes of Jewish Tradition by Jody Hirsh, Idy Goodman, Aggie Goldenholz and Susan Roth. This is a great book full of crafts, stories and recipes- an excellent resource, and it turns out an excellent recipe. The twist is a basic challah recipe with six options: Rainbow Challah, Honey of a Challah, Raisin or Nut Challah, Onion Challah, Traditional Sprinkling, Monkey Bread. I could tell as the ingredients folded together that this recipe would be a good one. The proportions were just right and in no time a smooth and silky dough was created. I wasn’t sure about the options Em chose but Rainbow and Monkey Bread Challah were both a big hit. I look forward to trying the other four variations in the future.

Challah04_crop_sm Rainbow Challah requires separating the dough into 4 strands then kneading in food coloring- next time I’ll be sure to wear gloves. We were expecting the dough to turn a uniform shade but instead it was streaked with bright stripes of red, yellow, green and blue. The loaf was enormous, colorful, and when sliced showed stripes of each color. Not for the faint of heart.

Monkey Bread Challah won raves from all the children- ten sampled and ten grinned from ear to ear. Anyone who’s familiar with monkey bread knows that you make little balls of dough, dip them in melted butter and then roll them, first in cinnamon sugar and then in finely chopped nuts. We had an assembly line and quickly rolled, dipped and filled our bundt pan with sticky, sweet balls. Not really challah, but not really bad either. A sweet treat I’m sure we’ll make again and again with spare dough.