Challah Bread and the Lord’s Day

1215 REAL SIMPLE COM HOLIDAY DRINKS WENDY GRANGER

CHALLAH LOAF

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

Challah bread is one of my fondest memories of growing up.  We would make it on Saturdays and serve it up at our supper meal which we called the Lord’s Day Supper.  We had prayers to open the Lord’s Day at supper on Saturday, and another set of prayer to close the Lord’s Day on Sunday.  Challah is the traditional bread served in Jewish homes for the Sabbath.  Similarly, in our own home,  no Lord’s Day Supper was complete without Challah bread.

There’s nothing quite as homey as the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven.  The aroma fills the house and brings with it memories of yesteryear.  Before long my mother was also teaching me the art of bread making.  Learning how to bloom the yeast, knead the bread and, in the case of Challah, to braid the bread.  It was something I took for granted at the time, but now it is relegated to fond memories.  It is an art I’d like to pass on to my girls.

Those meals were often shared with others – family or friends.  We belonged to a Community of believers who all shared the same Lord’s Day Prayers.  Sometimes we met communally as a big gathering, or we met in our individual homes and shared this treasure with others. Besides the meal which was delicious, there was always much laughter and sharing. Sometimes we played games or watched skits.

More recently, my siblings and I would gather at our mom’s house with spouses and kids and friends to continue this tradition.  One of my kids recently shared that this was one of their best memories – Lord’s Day Supper at Nanny’s with the cousins.  Even though we live close to each other, our lives are busy and we don’t get together unless we schedule it.  In nicer weather, Mom would always have a bonfire too.

We continue this tradition of prayers in our own home and more often than not we open and close the Lord’s Day with those same prayers, but I don’t often go out of my way to make the meal extra special.  I would like to change that.  I’d like to put extra thought and care into those weekend meals.  Sundays this time of year are made special with football season.  My husband enjoys watching the games with the kids.  We always serve up some fun food with the game – pizza, nachos, wings….  But our Saturday meal could use a little creativity.

This week, I am making the effort to include Challah bread in the menu for our Lord’s Day Supper.  I will also include my girls in the bread making experience and make some new memories for tomorrow.  I recently found a cool and mess-less way to make bread using a freezer bag!  Try it yourself.

Of course, I have to make more than 1 loaf at a time.

If you have any special Lord’s Day memories or traditions, I would love to hear them!

CHALLAH BREAD

Makes 1 loaf.

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. quick rising yeast
  • 3+1/4 (plus a little extra) cups of flour
  • 1 large freezer bag

Add all the ingredients (but only the 3 cups of flour) to a LARGE FREEZER BAG.  Seal the bag and squish the mixture with your hands (and against a hard surface) until it is completely mixed. Place the sealed freezer bag with the dough into a bowl of warm water and let rise for 30 minutes.

Remove the bag from the water, open the bag and add another 1/4 cup of flour.  Re-seal the bag and again knead that flour into the dough by squishing the bag with your hands until all the flour is mixed in.  Place the bag in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.  The bag will get quite filled with air during that hour.

At the end of the hour, turn your oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Open the bag and remove the dough.  Squish the dough in your hands to remove any air bubbles.

Separate the dough into 3 balls.  Take each ball and roll it on a flour dusted table (use that extra flour!) into a long snake length.

braiding-dough-3

Take all three lengths of dough, attach them together at one end by squishing them together with your hand and braid them as shown above.  Seal the other end again by squishing with your hand.

Place the braided loaf onto a well oiled (or parchment paper covered) cookie sheet.  Place the loaf on the cookie sheet in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!

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