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Shabbat Recipes

Pomegranate Orange Sheet Pan Shabbat Chicken

By: 
Marcy Goldman

Nothing is easier, faster or more worry-free than a sheet pan dinner. In this recipe, you don’t even have to stagger the ingredients to jockey the cooking times. It all cooks perfectly from the get-go. Add a traditional or an autumnal pumpkin challah, a couscous and arugula salad and you have a  feast, nicely perked up with old world accents of sumac and pomegranate.

Ingredients: 
1 whole chicken cut up or 8 chicken thighs
1 medium red onion, very finely sliced
4 large sweet potatoes, cut in wedges (8-12 wedges each)
4 seedless clementines or 2 large oranges, sliced
Zest of one orange, finely minced
1 cup pomegranate juice (or sour cherry juice or cranberry juice)
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or honey)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt, pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon each, approximate)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sumac
4 teaspoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, optional
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
Minced parsley
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil around bottom and up the sides. Top with a sheet of parchment paper. Place chicken on the baking sheet and scatter on the red onions, sweet potatoes, orange zest and clementine slices.
  • In a small saucepan, warm the pomegranate and orange juice over medium heat and simmer until reduced to 3/4 cup. Stir in the honey, thyme, and cinnamon and drizzle this over the chicken. In a small bowl mix olive oil and paprika and rub this on top of the chicken. Drizzle on the pomegranate molasses. Dust chicken with salt and pepper and then sprinkle the pomegranate arils all over the chicken.
  • Roast for 25 minutes and then baste with pan juices and continue baking until completely done, another 25 minutes.  Garnish with additional pomegranate arils as well as fresh minced parsley before serving.

Marcy Goldman is a cookbook author of several titles including the The Newish Jewish Cookbook (February 2019 River Heart Press) and host of the popular website, www.Betterbaking.com. This recipe is reprinted with permission from The 10th Anniversary Edition of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking (River Heart Press).

Grandma’s Roly Poly

By: 
Marcy Goldman

I think of roly poly as a quintessential bubbe-style treat (circa 1950-1980s) that went out of fashion when boomer cooks took over the kitchen. Alas, roly poly disappeared along with old faithfuls, such as mun cookies and various haimish squares that were once the mainstays of canasta and bridge night. As part of traditional Jewish baking, roly poly, cookie-cum-pastry confection seems to have its roots (albeit this version is a steamed roly poly pudding) in vintage British cuisine. That, and the fact that traditional roly poly calls for Turkish Delight, seems to indicate that perhaps British Jewish immigrants brought that recipe with them when they hit the American shores. As a kid, I recall it was rare that a Jewish event (b'rit milah, b'nai mitzvah, wedding or Shabbat dinner) didn’t feature a platter of this absolutely amazing delicacy. Indeed, women who made it well became community legends, as in “No one makes roly poly like Ethel”.

I recently revisited roly poly and made several test batches to update tradition and give it some gentle tweaks for today’s palate. I swapped the usual bergamot or rose water-flavored Turkish Delight with kosher Gummy Bears to get that chewy sweetness. That was perfect until I lucked out and found natural berry Turkish Delight in my local spice store – a miracle! I also ditched the glacé cherries (they remind me of fruit cake) with dried apricots and tossed in some dried cranberries with the raisins, which was a huge success. I played around with the dough, but in the end, found that the traditional lean and easy roly poly dough was as contemporary and delicious today as it was years ago. Truth is, overall, there was not a whole lot to ‘fix’ in this sumptuous memory-lane recipe. The only real fix is to remedy the lack of roly poly in the landscape by making some for your next gathering, be it a holiday or Shabbat.

There is one caveat to roly poly, and that is to let them ‘cure’ overnight to give the filling time to soften the baked dough. The taste and texture is totally altered, resulting in pastry that is delicate of crust with an ambrosial filling of all the good things you can stuff into it. Incidentally, since roly poly is so hard to describe, if you like rugelach, you will love roly poly. 'Nuff said. You can play fast and loose with the filling, (i.e. a bit more of this or that doesn’t make a huge difference).

Ingredients: 
ORANGE OIL DOUGH
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
.................................................................
FILLING
1 cup raspberry, apricot or sour cherry jam
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup plumped raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup ground walnuts
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2/3 cup minced dried California apricots
1 1/2 cups, approximately, Turkish delight, cut into small slivers*
*I use a mix of Gummy Bears and Turkish Delight for the perfect balance of color, taste and chewiness. Use red or pale yellow Gummy Bears - avoid green and orange.
.................................................................
Directions: 

Yield: Two 12-inch rolls, about 10-15 slices each

  • Stack two baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper.

For the dough

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, orange juice and oil. Fold in the flour, salt and baking powder to make a soft but rollable dough (you might need to add a few tablespoons more flour). Knead dough very briefly and gently on a lightly floured board only to make smooth and cohesive. Don’t overwork it. Cover dough with a towel and let rest 15 minutes or refrigerate until you need it (up to three days).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Stack two baking sheets together and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch thick, to form a rectangle 12 by 8 inches.

To fill the dough

  • Spread half of jam on each rectangle. Sprinkle on half of listed ingredients (coconut, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, cherries, and Turkish delight). Turn in ends, and roll up into jellyroll shape. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown all over, 35-40 minutes. Let cool a bit and then sift confectioners’ sugar on top.

Lasagna Squares

By: 
Women's Auxiliary of Hebrew SeniorLife

Vegetarian lasagna is a popular crowd-pleaser for a Shabbat lunch or dinner, and especially on Shavuot, when many Jews prepare and eat dairy foods – often cheesecake or blintzes – as a reminder of the sweetness of Torah, and also as a reminder that the Torah calls the land of Israel a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). 

This a great make-ahead recipe, and it freezes well.

Ingredients: 
SAUCE:
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon oregano
..................................................
LASAGNA:
8 oz. lasagna noodles
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 egg
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt (less)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
Directions: 

For the sauce

  • Sauté onion, green pepper, garlic in oil and stir. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano.
  • Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. 

For the noodles and filling

  • Cook noodles, drain. [Alternatively, use oven-ready lasagna noodles that don't require boiling.]
  • Cook and drain spinach and combine with ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt, and pepper. 

To assemble and bake

  • Spoon 1/3 tomato sauce in bottom of greased 13" x 9" baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of the noodles, 1/3 spinach mixture, 1/2 mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  • Repeat layers, using 1/2 the remaining sauce and noodles, and all the filling. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce, cheeses.
  • Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Let stand before cutting. 

Reprinted with permission from Palate Pleasers by the former Women's Auxiliary of Hebrew SeniorLife (then Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged in Boston). 

Brisket Sliders

By: 
Marcy Goldman

You'll need an already prepared and cooked brisket, or leftover brisket, to make these fabulous mini sandwiches. Top with my special sauce (recipe below) and assemble them on small rolls (slider rolls or homemade mini challah rolls). Pile a platter of these for a Hanukkah party, Shabbat, or any celebratory occasion.

Top or serve alongside my tri-color Asian coleslaw, caramelized onions and ranch fries, or latkes for a holiday feel.

Ingredients: 
SLIDERS:
4 pounds, approximately, leftover brisket chunks and bite-sized pieces
Mini challah rolls, slider rolls or mini hamburger buns
....................................................................................................
SPECIAL SAUCE:
1 cup pan gravy from brisket, optional
1 1/2 cups honey barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cola
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
Directions: 

For the brisket and rolls

  • Shred or cut the brisket into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  • Slice the rolls in half. Have a large serving platter nearby.

For the special sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, warm the pan gravy, BBQ sauce, ketchup, cola, onion powder, cmoked paprika, garlic powder, and cumin. 
  • Simmer on low for 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over brisket in bowl and mix well.

To assemble

  • Place bottom halves of rolls on platter and top each with 2 ounces or so of the sauced brisket. Top with tri-color Asian coleslaw (or serve alongside).
  • Top with second half of roll and serve.

Marcy Goldman is a cookbook author of several titles and host of the popular website, www.Betterbaking.com. This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Newish Jewish Cookbook (February 2019 River Heart Press).

Best-Ever Tomato Tart

By: 
Marcy Goldman

If you haven't ever eaten a fresh, homemade tomato tart, you've been missing out! This recipe is a taste experience that blends pizza and quiche into a savory tart – utterly fantastic. Use store-bought pastry dough to speed up the prep. I recommend serving this tart anytime, though it makes an especially welcome vegetarian entrée for Shavuot, Shabbat luncheon, and Sukkot.

Ingredients: 
BUTTER PASTRY:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup ice water
.................................................
TOMATO BASIL TOPPING:
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt, pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 pounds medium-size tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound medium cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 pound fontina cheese, grated
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
Directions: 

For the pastry

  • Place the flour in a large mixer bowl. With a pastry blender, or your hands, cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly – a somewhat lumpy, bumpy mixture of little and larger lumps of flour-covered butter.
  • Make a well in center of flour mixture and stir in the sugar, salt, and lemon juice.
  • Drizzle in most of the ice water, and using a fork or fingers, toss mixture together to moisten flour. Stir to make a soft mass and pat into a rough dough. Add remaining (or additional) ice water as required to make sure the dough sticks together.
  • Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Knead very briefly into a smooth, cohesive dough. Place dough in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least one hour or up to two days.

For the tomato basil topping

  • In a food processor, add the basil, parsley, thyme, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and blend to mince garlic and mix ingredients, about 1–2 minutes.
  • Prepare tomatoes and place in a large bowl, cover with herb marinade, and toss to blend.

To assemble and bake

  • Stack two baking sheets together and line the top one with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a lightly-floured work surface to an 11 x 17-inch rectangle and transfer to the baking sheet. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes to just dry out the  crust. Cool slightly and then brush the dough with the Dijon mustard. On top of the dough, arrange half the cheddar and fontina. Arrange the herbed-tomato slices in rows on top of the pastry; add the rest of the grated cheddar and fontina, and last, sprinkle on the Parmesan.
  • Bake, immediately lowering temperature to 350°F, 30-35 minutes until the edges of the pastry are browned and top is bubbling (tomatoes are softened, and cheese is melted and golden).
  • Cool slightly and cut into large squares to serve. Good served warm, at room temperature, or re-heated.

    Marcy Goldman is a cookbook author of several titles and host of the popular website, www.Betterbaking.com. This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Newish Jewish Cookbook (February 2019 River Heart Press).

Pumpkin Chocolate Rugelach

By: 
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

Rugelach is one of those quintessential Jewish desserts that should be enjoyed year round. Here is an autumn version that uses pumpkin and spice to enhance its buttery pastry. It is especially delicious warm from the oven.

(Psst: Prefer a savory rugelach? Try this recipe for Pumpkin Parmesan Rugelach.)

Ingredients: 
1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin (or mashed butternut squash or sweet potato)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour (more if dough is sticky)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup Nutella or chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts (optional)
1 egg yolk
Directions: 
  1. In an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese. With mixer on low, gradually add sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix until just combined. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough is too sticky.
  2. Divide dough into 4 equal balls, wrap in plastic, and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or up to several days.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove one ball of dough at a time from fridge, place on floured surface, sprinkle flour on top, and roll into a 10-inch circle. With a knife or pizza cutter, slice into 8 wedges. 
  4. Lift one wedge away from circle and place a teaspoon of Nutella or chocolate chips across the wide curved end. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired. 
  5. Roll gently, but firmly, from the wide end up over the chocolate and down to the point. Place point side down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bend the two ends away from the pointed side, so the roll becomes curved into a crescent. Paint with beaten egg yolk for a shiny glaze.
  6. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack.
     

    Jan's Baking Tips

    I like to bake just one set of eight rugelach to enjoy fresh each day. If the dough is too cold and hard from the fridge, it may split as I roll it. I simply microwave the dough for 10 seconds to make it malleable, but not warm, before rolling it. I sprinkle plenty of flour to keep it from sticking to the counter.


    Jan Rood-Ojalvo has longstanding ties to Congregation M'kor Shalom and the Katz JCC, both in Cherry Hill, NJ. Jan, who lives with her husband Steve in Haddonfield, NJ, loves baking, traveling, opera, and staying in touch with her six children – and two granddaughters.

Pumpkin Cranberry Spice Challah

By: 
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

For cinnamon spice lovers, this bread combines the crusty, chewy texture of challah with the delicious fragrance and taste of pumpkin pie. The house smells wonderful as it bakes. After I played with the recipe for the first time, my husband Steve asked me to make this challah every Shabbat.

Ingredients: 
8 cups of flour
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (or mashed sweet potato or butternut squash)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 packages (2 scant tablespoons) dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 cups dried cranberries
About 3 cups lukewarm water
1 egg
Directions: 
  1. In an electric mixer with a dough hook (or by hand), blend flour, yeast, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cranberries.
  2. With mixer on, gradually add pumpkin, melted butter and water, checking to be sure dough does not get too sticky. Add water or flour, as needed, until dough forms a ball. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 
  4. Punch down dough and divide into four pieces for 4 medium challahs, or two pieces for 2 large loaves. Divide each piece into three sections, roll into ropes and braid, pinching the ends tightly. Place two medium challahs several inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Larger loaves should use separate pans. 
  5. Brush with egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water for a shiny golden crust.
  6. Let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes for medium loaves, 40 minutes for large loaves. 
  7. Place in preheated 375°F degree oven. Bake until crusty and golden brown, about 30 min for medium loaves, 45 min for large loaves. Bottom should be deep brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove onto cooling rack. 
     

Jan's Baking Tips

After years of baking, I have developed my own technique of mixing the dough through step 2 above, then dividing it into two or four pieces, placing each in a plastic bag (coated inside with baking spray), and putting the bags immediately into the refrigerator (for baking in a day or two) or freezer (for saving). When ready to bake, I shape the dough right out of the refrigerator, place in a cold oven and turn it on to 375°F. As the oven is heating, the dough rises and then goes into baking beautifully.


Jan Rood-Ojalvo has longstanding ties to Congregation M'kor Shalom and the Katz JCC, both in Cherry Hill, NJ. Jan, who lives with her husband Steve in Haddonfield, NJ, loves baking, traveling, opera, and staying in touch with her six children – and two granddaughters.

Pink Lentil Soup with Lamb Kofte

By: 
Michael Solomonov

With my first opportunity to have my cooking professionally reviewed, I scrambled to find a new soup. Searching for inspiration at a local market, I spied a container of pink lentils. Pink lentils have great flavor but lose their shape after cooking—perfect for a pureed soup. They cook quickly and color the soup a beautiful golden orange. I had a whole lamb in the walk-in, so I smoked the neck and added it to the pot to give the soup some depth. Then I ground the shoulder to make lamb-stuffed cabbage dumplings.

As I mixed together the ingredients for the stuffing — ground lamb, grated onion, parsley, and cinnamon — the soup surprised me: It took on an Israeli profile. Following my instincts, I charred the ground lamb kofte in a pan and then wrapped them in cabbage leaves to finish cooking in a low oven. To me, the soup tasted just like an Israeli kebab shop, or as restaurant critic Craig LaBan was to write a few weeks later, "Jerusalem in a bowl."

Ingredients: 
...............................................................
CARAMELIZED ONIONS
¼ cup olive oil
6 large onions, halved and sliced
Kosher salt
...............................................................
SOUP
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups pink or red lentils
1 large carrot, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup caramelized onions
6 cups chicken stock
2 smoked turkey wings (optional)
...............................................................
KOFTE
1 pound ground lamb
1 onion, grated
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup club soda
...............................................................
Canola oil, for cooking the kofte
8 large Napa cabbage leaves
Directions: 

For the caramelized onions: Warm the oil over low heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and a couple pinches of salt. Cook over low heat, stirring periodically, until the onions are completely brown and almost spreadably soft, about 3 hours. Caramelized onions freeze well and will keep for a few months. Makes about 1 ½ cups.

For the soup: Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the lentils, carrot, garlic, cumin seeds, salt, and caramelized onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrot begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and turkey wings, if you like, raise the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the lentils have fallen apart and the flavors have thoroughly blended, about 1 ½ hours. Discard the turkey wings if using. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth, adding up to 1 cup water to thin the soup to the desired consistency.

For the lamb kofte: Combine the lamb, onion, parsley, salt, sugar, black pepper, cinnamon, garlic, and club soda in a large bowl. Mix gently by hand until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic onto the surface of the mixture, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Working with damp hands, form the mixture into logs about 1 inch in diameter and 3 inches long. Arrange on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To cook the kofte: Heat ¼ inch oil in a large skillet until shimmering but not smoking. Add the kofte and sauté until nicely brown on all sides but still rare in the middle, about 3 minutes total.

To wrap and bake the kofte: Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves and cook for 2 minutes, until softened. Transfer to a large bowl of ice water to chill, remove, and pat dry. Cut away and discard the tough vein at the bottom of each leaf, burrito style, and arrange in a small baking dish.

Lightly brush the wrapped kofte with oil and bake until the lamb is just cooked through, about 20 minutes.

To serve: Reheat the soup, ladle it into wide, shallow bowls, then slide in the lamb kofte.


Excerpted with permission from ZAHAV by Michael Solomonov. Copyright © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2015 by Mike Persico. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Chef Michael Solomonov was born in Israel and grew up in Pittsburgh. He and Steven Cook are the co-owners of CookNSolo Restaurants, home to some of Philadelphia's most distinctive culinary concepts, including Zahav, Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, Rooster Soup Co., and Goldie. They are a combined four-time James Beard Award Winners, including the 2016 "Best International Cookbook" and "Book of the Year" awards for their first cookbook, Zahav, and a 2011 "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" win for Solomonov and who in May, was named the 2017 JBF's "Outstanding Chef".

Pretzel Challah

By: 
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

This pretzel challah is the perfect combination of history and religion: both a family recipe that has been joyfully shared over the years and a celebration of Shabbat. The crusty ends are favorites on their own, and the chewy middle invites all sorts of spreads - and the crunchy topping of salt crystals adds a special kick to all of it! 

Ingredients: 
1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
pretzel salt (or extra coarse salt)
olive oil
Directions: 
  1. In large bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook (or by hand), mix yeast, water, sugar, and flour until dough forms a ball. (Add water or flour, as needed.)
  2. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place inverted bowl over dough and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, divide into two parts.
  4. For each challah, divide dough into 3 equal parts, roll into ropes, pinch three ropes together and braid. Pinch at the end and tuck ends under.  
  5. Place both challahs on greased baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Let rise until almost double, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake at 375°F  for about 1/2 hour or until golden brown (and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom).
  7. Cool on rack.

Jan Rood-Ojalvo has longstanding ties to Congregation M'kor Shalom and the Katz JCC, both in Cherry Hill, NJ. Jan, who lives with her husband Steve in Haddonfield, NJ, loves baking, traveling, opera, and staying in touch with her six children – and two granddaughters.

Homemade Challah

By: 
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

This recipe is from the Garden City Jewish Center's cookbook: Sharing Our Favorites.

This moist, crusty challah has accompanied many Shabbat meals and family parties. The dough can be braided into two challahs, or formed into small challah rolls.

Ingredients: 
6 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups plain lowfat yogurt (optional, but excellent)
2 to 3 cups water
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon milk
sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)
Directions: 
  1. In electric mixer with dough hook (or by hand), mix flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Heat butter, yogurt, and water to about 110°F (warm but not hot), and add to dry ingredients.
  2. Mix until dough forms a ball. (Add more water or flour, as needed.) Knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place inverted bowl over dough and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough, divide into two parts.
  4. For each challah, divide dough into 3 equal parts, roll into ropes, pinch three ropes together and braid. Pinch at the end and tuck ends under. To make one big challah as shown in the photo, place one small braid on top of one big braid.
  5. Place both challahs on greased baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Let rise until almost double, paint with egg yolk and milk mixture, and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds if you're using them. Bake at 375°F for about 1/2 hour or until golden brown (and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom).
  6. Cool on rack.

Note: For non-dairy meals and vegans, replace the butter with vegetable oil and omit the yogurt.

Cinnamon Challah Variation  

Each section can be rolled out flat, brushed with melted butter, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before rolling into ropes and braiding.

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