I learned to cook at a very early age, always attempting to emulate my mom and dad in the kitchen. My parents love to entertain, and I remember endless dinner parties growing up, always filled with loud laughter, fragrant food and lots and lots of wine. Even when we were young, my parents would often include my sister Sam and me at the table when they hosted dinner parties, and I think we channel our parents’ passion for entertaining as adults.
Sam and I were encouraged to cook when we were young, and every December, my dad and I would spend countless hours in the kitchen baking cookies. When I was just 11 years old, my parents gave me “Baking with Julia,” as a Christmas present, and I attribute so much of my passion for baking to the time spent with my dad and the inspiration I’ve gotten from that book. I used to love watching Julia Childs on TV, and I would jokingly mimic her distinct and familiar voice. She always made it look so easy, and even though I was 4 feet nothing and could barely reach the counter tops, I began flagging every recipe I wanted to try from my new prized possession.
The first recipe I attempted to make from “Baking with Julia”, was Challah bread. I’m pretty sure at that age I wasn’t even sure what Challah was, but I stared dreamily at the beautifully braided, golden brown laof pictured in the book and I knew I wanted to make it. I sort of knew how to braid hair, why couldn’t I braid bread? Even though I have memories of doing this all on my own, I’m sure I had to have some help from the parents. Though not all attempts at recipes from the cookbook were a success (have you ever tried baking french bread? It’s near impossible), the Challah turned out absolutely perfectly.
As we buttered our toast the next morning, my mom told me to put a note in the book to remind myself of tips in the future – a little trick her mom used to do. Now, every year I open up to the crinkled 91st page and am reminded immediately of one of the best memories of my childhood: making Challah for the first time and knowing that I was immediately hooked on baking.
I’ve been baking Challah for almost 2 decades, and it’s always turned out wonderfully. Many times, I cut the dough into quarters, rather than halves, and bake up 4 smaller loaves to give away as gifts. It makes amazing toast, smothered in butter and homemade jam, and is the perfect bread for making french toast or bread pudding. Challah is a wonderful recipe to add to your holiday tradition.
Note: Make sure you read this recipe all the way through before you plan to bake Challah. This bread requires 3 rises, and can take upwards of 4 hours to make. While the recipe is not difficult, it is time consuming, so make sure you allow yourself enough time. One of my favorite things about this recipe, is it’s perfect to make on a cold, dreary winter day. It’s the perfect excuse to stay in your pjs and not leave the house all day. Adapted from Baking with Julia INGREDIENTS For the dough For the glaze RECIPE
Note: Make sure you read this recipe all the way through before you plan to bake Challah. This bread requires 3 rises, and can take upwards of 4 hours to make. While the recipe is not difficult, it is time consuming, so make sure you allow yourself enough time. One of my favorite things about this recipe, is it’s perfect to make on a cold, dreary winter day. It’s the perfect excuse to stay in your pjs and not leave the house all day.
Adapted from Baking with Julia
For the dough
For the glaze
3 thoughts on “Challah”
It’s enormous that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our discussion made here.
I wonder if you could help me… My mother use to make Challah when I was a child and she had lost the recipe. I think yous is close to hers except hers had Brandy in it. She got the recipe from an old cookbook at a synagogue. Ya…good luck finding that one again. But my question is can you substitute any of the ingredients to add the Brandy. If so, which one and how much. I am hoping you can help. If not, thank you for reading and I plan on trying your recipe out. It will be my first time making bread…ever. (Little scared) 🙂
Hi Priscilla, Brandy in Challah sounds delicious! I searched through a few recipes online and it looks like you can probably substitute 1-2 tablespoons of the milk for the Brandy. Try adding the Brandy to the milk and butter mixture when you add the honey and sugar. I hope it turns out delicious! Challah is one of my all time favorite things to bake during the holidays. Thank you for stopping by! -Cassie