An experimental Shabbat

Tonight’s challah started out looking like this. It began with the wet, loose bread dough I had put into the fridge a few days ago. I had already made at least one big loaf out of a large chunk of this sloppy looking mixture on Wednesday.


I guess this is more or less sour dough. It smells fermented. This photograph actually shows the most photogenic part of the mass/mess that had been hanging out in a stainless steel bowl on the bottom shelf of my fridge.

I made essentially the same challah dough I usually make. The texture felt different than my usual commercially yeast risen dough. It felt a bit more fragile and less robust. I thought I had about a 50% chance of the dough actually rising and was willing to take the risk.

The dough did rise, but it took longer than usual.SAM_5526

I made a test roll for me to taste.


It’s a more delicate bread than the usual. I would do this again.


My friend Alan Divak has been doing lots of sour dough challah baking in the past several months. He is a much more scientific and careful cook than I am. Alan’s sour dough challah is carefully coddled and is really delicious. I think that if I continue this endeavor, sour dough risen challah mine will be the equivalent of my childhood neighbors who were part of a giant family of either nine or eleven kids. Those kids were all just slightly neglected and dirty  but were feisty and strong and were all terrific athletes.

There will be three guys under the age of thirty at our table tonight so we are serving beef in two varieties. coffee rubbed beef made with these spices.


Looking at these two slabs of beef side by side in my pink enameled pan they reminded me of two ladies awaiting their massages.


I massaged the spices into the meat.


And then post cooking and cooling I was able to slice up the meat.And here is the beef awaiting re-heating for Shabbat.


I also made Ethiopian spiced meat balls. They look like meat balls, no need for photos.They do have a great spicy buzz to them.



I had experimented with making pumpkin noodles earlier this week  and ended up with a massive lump of noodle dough.I made cold sesame pumpkin noodles with kale for tonight.The noodles were extra floppy and needed to rest on the kitchen table for a few hours before being sliced up.


I also made a big rectangular cranberry chocolate pie.


I had thought that  would use coconut oil for the oil in the crust. Let’s put it this way, the results were not at all what I expected, so I punted and turned the pie crust into something more of a cookie dough crust.  My frantic solutions to the disaster will not be recorded here. I am going to pretend to my guests that this Plan B was my goal all along.

This pie will of course be dusted with powdered sugar before  being cut into squares for serving. One of our guests is someone who was taught the refinements of an elegant table even more carefully than I was.

Well this is starting to look like the perfect fall meal with meat, cranberries and pumpkin all making an appearance.


Shabbat Shalom!


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