When I was pregnant I often imagined what family traditions Tyler and I would create for our children. As fun as imagining this was though, I always felt a little sad that I would probably have to wait a few years before really creating any salient memories; I mean, infants can only do and understand so much.
One tradition that I thought I might be able to establish earlier rather than later though is assigning Friday mornings (or afternoons) as challah making time. Challah is a special Jewish bread that despite it’s simple ingredients (i.e. eggs, flour, water, yeast) is absolutely DELICIOUS. It is eaten each week on Shabbat, which begins Friday at sundown, and then again several other holidays.
Growing up, my mother bought our challah for Friday nights, and it was goooooood. So good, in fact, that when we got older, she often bought two loaves so that there would be some left over for Challah French Toast the next morning. Smart lady.
Given these fond memories of my youth and my personal love of baking, I figured, “Why not combine the two for my own family?” Now, as I said before, infants can’t really do too much, but I have noticed that H is fairly enthralled with observing any event that goes on in the kitchen. So, this past weekend I made my first challah with H watching on the sidelines in her bouncer, and yes folks, I provided a live-action play by play as well for my four month old.
Ultimately, my hope is that, as she gains awareness/dexterity/mobility/communication skills (and so much more) over the coming months, one day she will have watched this ritual so many times that she toddles up to mommy and asks to join. It could happen, right?!
Anyways, I generally use this recipe, which I’ve found to be my favorite after trying several others. The ingredients list is small and there are no complicated steps. All you need is a little patience (for rising time) and a roll of aluminum foil; I’ve found that the top tends to brown very quickly, so if you want a well baked bread without a burnt crust make sure to cover your challah loosely with a sheet of foil about 15-20 minutes into the baking time.
P.S. I love using The Challah Blog as a reference for trying new braids and shapes.
P.P.S. I hope that when you read that title, you sang it in your head just as I did (aloud) when I wrote it.