On Thursday, I tested out the last two of my six dry active yeast packets that I purchased right before Kaia’s birth, and to my delight, they were both still active and very much alive. That means that my success rate was 5 for 6; only one of the six packets I purchased was actually a goner. These last two would be used to make two fat challah loaves. I couldn’t even remember the last time I made challah, but every time I make it, I get so, so happy. I love how the dough poofs up and gets huge and pillowy. I especially love the process of braiding the strands. Doing a double egg wash, then topping with sesame or poppy seeds always makes me feel so satisfied. This time around, I added some whole wheat flour to make the bread a little more nutritious (hopefully that’s not too offensive to any Jews reading this!), and it worked out really well: the loaves baked up super big, puffy, golden brown, and the crumb was extremely soft, tender, and moist. The whole wheat flour gave the bread a nice, subtle nuttiness, not to mention a pale tan sheen to the crumb that I wasn’t quite used to (it’s usually more on the yellowish/beige side because of the eggs in the dough). Chris declared it one of the best loaves I’d made.
You don’t have to be Jewish to love and appreciate challah. You just need to love good food made with TLC.