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Shabbat

Music is what makes Shabbat special for countless people the world over. After a good Shabbat meal, many people sing songs at their table. Others sing at synagogue. Lots of people do both

Music is what makes Shabbat special for countless people the world over. After a good Shabbat meal, many people sing songs at their table. Others sing at synagogue. Lots of people do both

Shabbat is the Jewish holiday that comes each week. Its roots lie in the biblical story of creation when, in order to complete the work of creating the world, God rested on the seventh day

Challah Cheese Soufflé

By: 
Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's cookbook, Entree to Judaism for Families, filled with tools to help children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding.

When the Jews left Egypt and wandered in the desert, God sent manna from the heavens to feed them. On Friday they received a double portion because they could not work on the Sabbath. That is why we have the tradition of two loaves of challah on our Shabbat tables. Dew fell from heaven to protect the manna, and that is why many Jews today either cover their challahs with a special cloth or sprinkle sesame seeds on top to symbolize the dew.

Unless you have a large family or your two challahs are very small, you will have a lot of challah left over! This recipe and the two others that follow are good ways to use these leftovers. Not only do the recipes provide delicious ways to engage a child in the kitchen, they offer opportunities to discuss the meaning of Shabbat and its customs.

A modern version of a soufflé, this recipe will not fail or collapse, since bread binds the ingredients together. This dish is perfect for younger children with short attention spans because the dish needs to be assembled several hours ahead of time or even the night before. This gives the challah time to absorb the liquids, and the dish will puff up when baked.

Ingredients: 
1–1 1/2 medium challahs (approximately 12 cups of challah cubes)
1 stick unsalted butter
6 eggs
2 cups milk (whole, 1% or 2%)
1 teaspoon salt
10 grindings of freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
12–16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Jarlsberg cheese (about 3 1/2 cups grated)
Additional butter or cooking spray for greasing the pan
Directions: 
  1. Cut challah into 1/2-inch slices, and then cut the slices into 1/2-inch cubes;or pull the bread apart into small pieces if that is easier. The crust does not need to be removed if it isn’t hard. Set aside.
  2. In a 1-quart glass bowl covered with a sheet of paper towel, melt the butter in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s setting. Set aside.
  3. Using a mediumwhisk, whisk the eggs and the milk together with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a 2-quart mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. If not using packaged shredded cheese, grate the cheese on a coarse grater.
  5. Grease a 2-quart casserole or soufflé dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Arrange 1/3 of the bread cubes in the bottom of the pan, and then layer 1/3 of the cheese on top. Make 2 more layers of bread and cheese, and then pour the egg/milk mixture over all. Lightly press down to make sure all of the bread layers are covered with liquid ingredients.
  7. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  8. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the dish in the center of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a thin pointy knife inserted in the center comes out wet but clear.

TIna Wasserman is the best-selling author of Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora. An award-winning cooking instructor specializing in contemporary kosher cuisine, Tina holds degrees from Syracuse University and New York University, and is a popular food educator in her own cooking school and as a scholar-in-residence in communities across North America.

Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Older children will enjoy the reinforcement of their math and geometry lessons with this recipe, and younger children can easily make this dish if you let them break the challah into little pieces with their hands and you buy packaged shredded cheese.
  • Butter often splatters when melting because it naturally contains some water. To avoid having it explode all over your microwave oven, cover the dish lightly with a piece of paper towel when melting.
  • It goes without saying that children under the age of ten or those not tall enough to reach into an oven should not be removing any hot baking dish from an oven.
  • If a child is doing the testing to see if the soufflé is fully baked (step 8), the test should be done out of the oven with the soufflé dish placed on a counter. If the soufflé is not ready and it is taken out of the oven for too long, it will become dense when fully baked, so young children should not do the testing.

Kitchen Conversations

  • Discuss why challah is so special for Shabbat. What’s your favorite challah? Does it have raisins? Plain? Flavored? Whole wheat?
  • Did Jews always eat fancy braided bread?

 

The Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew) is one of Judaism’s greatest gifts to humanity. People in the ancient Near East had nothing similar to the Jewish concept of a weekly sacred day of rest. Other cultures in the past knew of a seven-day week based on the phases of the moon, but the Israelite Sabbath is not connected to the movements of celestial bodies. It stands apart.

Try this fun, educational, and reflective Shabbat activity with your family!

Please join us for a warm and wonderful Kabbalat Shabbat service filled with beautiful sing-a-long melodies led by our spiritual/cantorial leader Audrey Kaufman.

Friday, March 3, 2017 - 6:30pm

Challah “Babka” Bread Pudding

By: 
Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's newest book, Entrée to Judaism for Families, filled with tools to help children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding.

Babka, or “grandmother’s cake,” refers to the babcia (in Slavic languages) or bubbe (in Yiddish), so called because in the early 1800s this cake was made in a high fluted pan that looked like a grandmother’s skirt.

Babka is a traditional Polish/Ukrainian yeast cake that was originally made from rich challah dough rolled around a sweet cinnamon or fruit filling. Baked with the challah, it was a Friday afternoon treat for children waiting for Shabbat to arrive.

This recipe is a twist on classic babka. Instead of being made with challah dough, it is made from the baked challah! Chocolate and cinnamon flavor the pudding, and the classic streusel topping finishes off this wonderful treat.

Ingredients: 
One 1-pound challah (raisin or plain), preferably a few days old
8 ounces Israeli chocolate spread or chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
¼ cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups milk (skim, 2%, or whole)
Additional butter for greasing dish
Topping:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature or slightly softened in the microwave
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
Directions: 
  1. Butter a 2-quart oval or rectangular baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Slice the challah into ¾-inch slices. Spread the chocolate filling over each slice of bread using a small bent spatula or utility knife. Arrange in the casserole to fit evenly. 
  3. Microwave the butter in a 2-quart glass bowl until melted. Add the brown sugar, and stir to dissolve.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk to the bowl, and whisk to combine well.
  5. Carefully pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread slices. Using a wide metal spatula, gently press down on the bread slices to submerge them under the custard. Place a plate or bowl on top of the casserole to weight the challah down. Set aside on the counter for 30 minutes while you make the topping.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Place the topping ingredients in a 1-quart mixing bowl, and squeeze the mixture together using your hands at first and then fingertips, to evenly combine all ingredients and make a crumble.
  8. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the bread/custard in the baking dish.
  9. Bake for 35–45 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kitchen Conversations

  • Does your family have a special dessert that you make for Shabbat or a holiday?
  • Where did the recipe come from? Whose family? What country?
  • Has the recipe changed over the years because of modern equipment?
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • The best knife for slicing bread is a serrated knife. However, if cut with a serrated knife the wound usually forms scar tissue. Therefore, with the exception of older children (7+) I would recommend pre-slicing the challah before you begin to make the recipe. 

Apple-Filled Star Challah

By: 
Tina Wasserman

Family and guests will oooh and ah over this beautiful Rosh HaShanah challah, which tastes as good as it looks!

Ingredients: 
Dough:
2 cups whole-wheat flour
6 cups white bread flour
2 packages rapid rise yeast
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup corn oil plus 1 tablespoon for greasing bowl
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups unfiltered apple juice or apple cider
3/4 cup sugar
1 recipe for apple filling (see below)
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
Apple filling:
4 large honeycrisp or fuji apples, about 1 -1/4 pounds
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoon coconut oil or unsalted butter
1/3 cup wildflower or clover honey, as needed
Directions: 

Dough

  1. In a large mixer bowl combine 2 cups whole-wheat flour with 5 cups of the bread flour, yeast, cinnamon, and salt. Turn machine to low (#1) for 10 seconds to combine.
  2. Measure 1 cup oil in a one-cup liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
  3. Lightly beat eggs and vanilla with a fork in a 1-quart bowl until combined. Set aside.
  4. Measure the apple juice or cider in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Add the sugar and stir once or twice. Microwave juice/sugar mixture on high for exactly 1 minute 20 seconds.
  5. Turn mixer to low (#1). Immediately add the hot juice/sugar mixture straight from the microwave, and then add the eggs and then the oil.
  6. Turn mixer to medium (#2) and continue mixing with dough hook for six minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary to incorporate all of the flour before adding any additional flour. If dough is too sticky add as much as 1 cup more flour or until a floured finger poked into the dough comes out clean.
  7. Grease a 4-quart bowl with the tablespoon of oil. Add the dough to the bowl, turning the dough over to coat it on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour (I like to use an out-of-the-way corner in my kitchen or a warming drawer set on low.) Dough can also be put in the refrigerator to rise overnight.

Apple filling  (make the apple filling while dough is rising )

  1. Peel, core and cut apples into ¼ inch dice.
  2. Heat a 10-inch non-stick pan over medium-high heat for 10 seconds and then add the diced apples and brown sugar. Stir the apple mixture until the apples begin to give up their juices (about 3-4 minutes). Turn down heat if apples look like they are browning.
  3. Add the spices to the apples and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender but not mushy and some of the liquid has evaporated (about another 4 minutes).
  4. Stir the cornstarch and water together to dissolve and then add to the apples, stirring constantly. Mixture will be shiny and no liquid will be visible.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the coconut oil or butter. Stir to combine and set aside to cool while dough is rising.

Assemble Bread

  1. Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces.
  2. Roll the first piece of dough into a 12-inch circle on a floured board. Spread a thin layer of honey over the dough and then 1/3 of the apple mixture over that.
  3. Repeat the previous step with the remaining pieces of dough ending with the fourth circle of dough. Gently pull the top layer over and tuck in all the edges underneath.
  4. Place a 3 inch glass bowl or cup face down in the center of the bread and lightly trace around it with a knife to mark a circle. Remove the glass. Make 12 cuts from the line of the circle to the end of the dough (I find it easiest to imagine a clock making my first cuts at 12,6,3 and 9 and then filling in the other cuts evenly. Make sure to cut through all layers of the dough.
  5. Working in pairs around the dough (clock!), take a wedge of dough in each hand and twist them over once, away from each other. Pinch the middle bottom of the pair together. Repeat with the remaining 5 pairs and then pinch the ends of each dough pair together to form a circle that has the design of a Jewish Star in the middle and little stripes of spiced apple peeking through.
  6. Carefully transfer the dough to a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow it to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Bake

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the loaf with the egg wash and place the cookie sheet in the lower third of your oven.
  2. Bake for 30-35 minutes depending on the size of the round and the heat of your oven. When the bread is done, it will be golden brown and have a hollow sound when tapped. You can also insert an instant read- thermometer into the center and the bread is done at about 195-205°F.
  3. Allow the bread to cool for at least 20-30 minutes before cutting.
     

Watch Tina Wasserman demonstrate how to make this recipe:

Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Apple filling can be doubled and dough can be divided into eighths to create two 8-inch loaves.

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