Friday, May 27, 2011

Shout-Out: Jalapeno Jallah

jalapenochallah1When The Jazz and I were in Costa Rica for our luna de miel, we hung out with some of the Jewish community. It was a lovely experience. One of the things we really enjoyed was the transliteration of the gutteral Hebrew sound as "j." This creates many transliterations like "shajarit," "minja," and "jazzan." So I present to you, Jalapeno Jallah.

I take NO credit what-so-ever for this recipe. I stole it from Leigh Ann, the Frugal Ima, A Frugal Ima Super-Frugal Recipe: Jalapeno Bread. Since we're having dairy Shabbat, I used shredded cheddar. I added a few TBSP of oil because I couldn't get it to stick together.  This week's braid is a four-strander that I found on youtube because I couldn't remember how I normally do this.  (This happens to me almost every week.  I like five-braids and six-braids.  But when I want to do a four-braid, I can never remember how to do it.)  I actually forgot to egg-wash it. But I don't think it needs it. It's quite lovely.
Other things on the menu include mango, blueberry, peach salad, mexican vegetarian lasagna (my own mixture of things), guacamole, and strawberry ice cream. The Jazz will also sample this week's major win, Banana Chocolate Chip Jallah. Not the healthiest Shabbat ever, but you only live once, right?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Challah

So, The Hazz is out of town at the Cantor's Convention this week. I'm all alone (boo hoo), and I've managed to slightly mess up my back (most likely picking up a toddler... not even an impressive injury). So, as I type this, I'm horizontal on the couch.

Okay, pity party over, I still felt like making a practice challah. AND OMG ROFL WTF BBQ IT. IS. AMAZING. We had 3 overripe bananas in the house, so I picked up some chocolate chips and here goes! I didn't end up needing all three bananas, so I threw in a few banana chocolate chip muffins for good measure. (Don't worry... I'm putting the muffins and one of the challot in the freezer... otherwise The Hazz will come back from Canada and I'll be enormous).
3/4 c water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 egg plus 1 more for egg wash
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c mashed ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 bananas...)
3 c flour plus about 1 additional cup
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 c chocolate chips (guesstimate)

Proof the yeast in the hot water with the honey.  Using a wooden spoon, mix in the oil, 1 egg, and banana.  Using a stand mixer (especially if your back is sore like mine) mix in the first 3 cups of flour, adding in the fourth cup as much as necessary.

Let rise about 2 hours or until nearly doubled in size.  Punch out the air bubbles and knead in the chocolate chips.  It's a somewhat sticky dough, so I opted for a three-strand braid.  Let rise again an additional 30 minutes.  Top with egg wash. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.


Friday, May 20, 2011

View of Shabbat - May 20th

I attempted a wheat challah again in addition to a Small Batch of white. Honestly, the wheat's a fail. Every. Time. What am I doing wrong? This time, I used the Small Batch Roll Method/Recipe with the following wheat proportion: 2 cups white flour, 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup wheat gluten. I also used sugar instead of honey to proof the yeast because a friend recommended it working better for whole wheat flour. Well, it certainly looks pretty but it's FLAT. FLAT FLAT FLAT. I don't understand. It rose so nicely in the bowl, it rose so nicely braided. :( Oh well, I'm sure it will be tasty.

Shabbat Shalom!

It's a lovely white though, isn't it? At least I'm doing something right.

Friday, May 13, 2011

View of Shabbat - May 13th


A bat mitzvah at the synagogue means we don't have the cook for Friday or Saturday.  Which means, I just get to back to bake.  To bake for nosh.  To bake for fun.  Joy. I made a Almond Cinnamon Sugar Challah in braided and round, a round Nutella, and two plain with cinnamon sugar on top rolls. I'm going to admit it: one of the rolls has already been eaten since I took this photo. Nom. Nom nom nom.

Shabbat Shalom and have a great weekend!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spelt Challah

spelt2Today, we tried a regular challah and a spelt challah. The more I read about spelt, the more I'm fascinated by it. It's actually mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 9:30, Isaiah 28:25, and Ezekiel 4:9) and is a very, very ancient grain.

That said, boy I found it really hard to work with! I had read online that since spelt lacks the elasticity of wheat flour (something about the proteins breaking down... I think...?), not to knead it very much and to cut down the water used. I did both of these things, but my dough was almost polenta and certainly not elastic or stretchy at all. SUPER DENSE. Here's what I did.

spelt71/2 c water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil
3 c flour
1 1/4 tsp salt

Proof yeast in hot water with honey. Add oil and eggs. Mix in spelt with spatula and knead by hand, adding more spelt if super sticky. I basically just kneaded until combined and then gave it a few good turns. While I usually use my Kitchen Aid, most of what I read said not to, so I kneaded everything by hand.

Let rise LESS TIME than you would regular dough. I let it rise about two hours, until it had gotten larger, but not really doubled yet. This is where mine got weird. While I trust not to let it rise very much, my dough had no elasticity. Braid in your desired style. Let rise an additional 30 minutes. Bake 30-35 minutes (it was longer than wheat dough) at 350.
The verdict. We like it. I made a couple rolls so that we could sample it before Shabbat (shhh...). It's definitely a little flakier that regular dough, but we really don't like all whole wheat challah. I think this would be a good substitute. So, I give it an A-. Weird to work with, but it's got a lovely nutty flavor.

Basic Challah Recipe #1 - Small Batch Modified Update

This is a modification of our Basic Challah Recipe #1 with Honey and the Small Batch for Rolls. The only major tweaking from the small batch version is the amount of eggs -- 2 instead of one. While the roll version works great for what it's intended for (non-egg-washed dinner rolls), I was finding it a little lame for Shabbat challah. SO we added an egg. Now it's perfect.


3/4 c water
2 1/4 tsp active dry or instant yeast (1 packet)
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
1/4 c vegetable oil
3 c flour (I usually use bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour or a combination of the two)
1 1/4 tsp salt

The following instructions are copied from my Basic Challah Recipe #1 with Honey directions.  Because this recipe is on the small-side, expect to get two smallish challot or one nice big one.

Place very warm (but not hot, I usually let me faucet run for a bit) water in mixing bowl.  Add yeast and honey, mixing lightly. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so... I usually do less... until you see little eruptions.
Add eggs and vegetable oil and mix with wood spoon.  
If you have a stand mixer, add flour and salt and beat with dough hook.  Remember: salt kills yeast. Don't put the salt in with the yeast.  Wait until you've added some of the flour.

If the dough is not holding together as a ball, add a bit more oil or water.  If the dough is very sticky, add more flour.  The dough is ready when it sticks together as a ball and is not sticky to the touch when you poke your finger in (5-10 minutes of beating).  Turn the ball out onto a floured work surface and punch a few times until very smooth.
Place in oiled bowl and cover in plastic wrap or a towel.

Allow to rise at least one hour, preferably more (usually about an hour and a half), until dough has doubled in size.  I only do one rise as a ball, but you can do more.  I'm not convinced it does much to the texture but some people swear by it.

Punch down the ball in the bowl and remove.  Punch out all air bubbles.  Braid in your preferred method.  Allow to rise 20-30 minutes. Top with an egg wash (I use the yolk and white) and sesame or poppy seeds if you like.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  (You can read about my oven temperature methods here... basically I put it at 375 for 5 minutes.  Then I turn the heat down to 350 and bake for 10 more minutes.  Then I rotate the pans 180 degrees and bake between 10 and 15 more minutes.)  You can use a bread thermometer (180-200 degrees) or poke at the seams.  If they seem doughy, give it more time.  You can always add foil if the top seems like its browning too fast.  I often have to foil five- and six-stranded challot because they're so much fatter.

Shabbat Shalom!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Midweek Plan... and one to try

This week, I'll be making Spelt Challah for one of the loaves.  I haven't found a recipe yet, so if you've got one that is great, let me know.  I'm excited to try this ancient grain.

Also, I just discovered this cute shape for Challah into Birds.  I definitely want to try... aren't the darling?

Have a great week :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

View of Shabbat - April 29th

Chocolate Chip Challah (and the macro zoom and focus on my camera) is one of my most favorite things.  I've found that you can really achieve this sucessfully in several ways.  Either, you can knead the chocolate chips in pre-rise.  Or, you can knead them in at braiding, being careful not to overknead.  I think I actually like the latter option better because the chocolate is almost completely infused into the bread, rather than poking out.  It's a nice surprise!

A quick shot before Shabbat... sorry it's a bit blurry :)