traditional challah | what's on my plate

As I sat down to write this post, I realized how quickly time flies by.  The opening line of this post was going to be “A few years ago I made my first loaf of challah”.  I then went to look at my original post and discovered that my first challah attempt dated back to 2008.  Yes, 5 years ago.  It honestly feels like it was last year.  A lot can happen in five years.  Five years ago I had decided to stop working in the television industry and transitioned to work at a marketing agency in Toronto.  I was living at home and was still getting settled into life in Toronto after 6 years in NYC.   I also realized that it has been 6 years since I’ve started this blog. SIX YEARS. Crazy.

Well, since making my first challah 5 years ago, I haven’t made it since!  Living in Toronto, it’s super easy to find a loaf of challah, especially in my neighbourhood. Growing up, challah was definitely one of my favourite breads (right up there with Jamaican hardo bread). I grew up in a diverse neighbourhood and went to an elementary school that put an emphasis on learning about different cultures (but without being obnoxious or preachy about it).  I had the same teacher for 4 years in elementary school and she happened to be Jewish (and incidentally most of my besties at the time were Jewish too) so we learned a lot about Jewish culture, history and of course food.  Which is why I’d come home and ask my Jamaican mom to make me latkes or to venture to a Jewish bakery or deli to buy some challah or the “good” bagels.

The other day I had an intense craving for challah. Unfortunately my usual spots in Evanston don’t have challah and being car-less I didn’t want to venture out to Skokie in search of a Jewish bakery.  The next logical step was to make my own.  While the last recipe that I made was great, I didn’t want to go the whole-wheat route again (I’m not even sure why I did whole-wheat to begin with) and instead opted for this recipe by Melissa Clark.  This time around things were a lot easier because I had my KitchenAid stand mixer to do the heavy lifting (well, mixing) for me.  I tell you, Jesus be a stand mixer! It makes life so much easier.

traditional challah formed | what's on my plate

My only issue with the recipe is the amount of liquid.  In using a 1/2 cup of water, my dough wasn’t sticky enough so I had to MacGyver the doughtafter I kneaded it to incorporate more water.  No biggie, but trust your gut if you think the dough is looking dry.  Rather than doing a regular loaf I opted to do a round semi-braided loaf which is so much more impressive.  Even I was shocked at how legit my loaf looked.  I of course wasn’t shocked at how delish the challah was.  There are leftovers that will be turned into some exquisite bread pudding.  Stay tuned :)

traditional challah | what's on my plate



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7 Responses to Challah: A Second Attempt

  1. A perfect challah! Indeed great for any time of year.

  2. Your challah is perfect. Angie who posted above just made a challah inspired by you, so I thought I’d pop over to check your out. It looks perfect. I’ve never used a mixer or bread machine when making challah – always just my hands. This sounds like a wonderful recipe and I look forward to seeing your bread pudding.

    • Tonya says:

      Sadly I didn’t get to make bread pudding. I’ll definitely make some more challah in coming weeks… hopefully that lasts long enough for bread pudding ;)

  3. […] The braided challah is the Jewish holiday bread. This sweet, golden and eggy bread is made in various sizes and shapes, all of which have a meaning. Round loaves are baked for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) to symbolize continuity. For extra sweetness, you can add raisins to the dough. The inspiration for this delicious challah comes from whatsonmyplate. […]

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