Friday, 14 November 2008
Source: "The Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook," by Roberta Kalechofsky and Rosa Rasiel 2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons flaxseed
3/4 cup water
6 to 9 cups unbleached white flour (or for wheat challah, replace 1/2 with whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons salt
3 ounces vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional for color)
Raisins (optional, but include for Rosh Hashanah challah)
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. Use a thermometer, if possible. Otherwise, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup cold water. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and allow the yeast to work for about 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
- Place flaxseeds and water in a blender and blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Or grind the seeds in a spice mill or coffee grinder; place ground seeds and water in bowl of food processor and beat to desired consistency. (Alternately, you can use egg replacer equal to two eggs.)
- Place 6 cups of flour, salt, remaining sugar and raisins (if using) in a large bowl. Add flaxseed mixture, oil and yeast. Mix until dough forms, adding more flour if needed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flour your hands, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary until the dough no longer sticks to the board or your hands.
- Oil a deep bowl. Put the dough in it, turning to grease it on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap, and allow it to ruse for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down and allow to rise a second time. Punch down again and knead briefly. Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut dough in half. Cover one half while you shape the first loaf.
- Braid the challah.
- Place both shaped loaves on oiled baking sheet. Cover and allow loaves to rise again.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- For a crisp crust, brush loaves with cold water before placing in oven. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, unitl only lightly brown on top.
- Cool loaves on a cooling rack.