The opening words of today’s Sidra ‘Lech Lecha’ – meaning ‘Go forth’ signal our forefather Avram’s journey and the beginnings of Jewish history.
Cordon Bleu Challah Baking
I’m not a great chef, that may not be obvious to you, but it is all too obvious to my family. I can make a great Curry and boil a mean kettle, but when it comes to baking, lets just say I should stick to singing, although some dispute that as well.
Baking Challah is really a labour of love. It can be very time consuming and until you have put in many hours of practise, can be very frustrating.
My first attempt at this wonderful mitzvah was last week together with with 20 other ladies, me being the only man present. Our presenter Jo, brought along the recipe for her favourite Challah as well as explanations as to how to plait the Challah and the mitzvot and source of Challah making.
First was the 4 cups of flour and even I managed to get this right. Yeast and eggs next checking for blood spots. Oil, salt and warm water and slowly stirring in the warm water. Then the fun started- kneading the dough! You need to knead for at least 20 minutes, adding a little flour if the mix is too sticky. I felt that my mix was too sticky and proceeded to add flour, but overdid it and this accounted for my ROCK at the end of the session.
After 20 minutes my dough was so heavy that I was able to make rusks, not Challah. Anyway, most of the other people seemed to have fared well except one person who forgot the oil and was thus able to make Breadsticks instead.
We then learnt about the laws of Challah making and the sources from the Torah, whilst waiting for the dough to rise. All dough rose except for mine. I have to assume that mine was on strike with the Tube Unions. We then learnt how to plait the Challah. We learnt 2 different methods and I have to say that this was quite enjoyable. After a while though I got confused and decided to make my own design. BIG MISTAKE! I got my Challah in a knot and couldn’t get out of it.
We really all had fun and received a lot of great feedback. All that was left for us to do, was to take home our dear Challot and cook for 30 minutes at 180c.
I was pleasantly surprised when my Challot had baked. They looked amazing and as they say,”the proof is in the eating”.
My son said that this was the best Challah he had ever tasted. The rest of my family were less complimentary with the consolatory words,”It takes a long time to get the Challah right – so don’t worry “.
A really good event enjoyed by all and now on to the next cookery event to be announced imminently!