Challah. This bread conjures up so many emotions and memories. No matter where we are in the world, we have challah every Friday night. Since the pandemic erupted, and life slowing down, I have been able to bake challah weekly. When I think of challah, I think of happy children, a table filled with friends and family as we break the bread, little hands of my little helpers picking at the dough and helping me braid, Saturday morning traditions of french toast for breakfast, a kitchen overwhelmed by the aroma of freshly baked bread...
Prior to the Covid era, I use to make large batches of challah and freeze them post-baking so that I only had to make them once a month. Nowadays, as I mentioned, I either bake weekly or make enough for two weeks. I know many are intimidated by baking their own challah but it really is not that difficult and if you bake large batches that you can enjoy in the weeks ahead it becomes a less daunting task. You can also make the dough the night before you bake it and let the first rising happen in the fridge overnight, which will save you two hours of rising time the next day.
I like to try new challah recipes and always give them my own touch. I like the NY Times recipe along with Torey Avey's recipe. My kids, like most kids, love everything chocolate so chocolate chip challah is a must in my home. Rather than top the challah with chocolate chips, I incorporate them into the dough. I use Ghirardelli 65% dark chocolate chips, approximately 2 cups. I have also put cocoa powder into the flour mix or mixed Nutella into the dough. You can have fun with your own culinary expressions! White chocolate chip/peanut butter was a big hit with the family too. Last year I went to a women's challah making class and I learned of savory challah recipes like scallions and black sesame seeds and zatar. Really, you can't go wrong so feel free to experiment. Consider being creative with your egg wash too. I often add brown sugar to it or honey or maple syrup or agave. You get the point.
Challah. May you all be blessed with challah in your lives. Give it a try, you won't regret it!