Challah Worries

My friend Alan is serious about cooking. A couple of years ago he  started to bake challah. As with al of his other cooking endeavors he approaches his challah baking with the seriousness of a scientist. Each week he weighs out each of the variables. Alan has been making sour dough challah. He makes sour dough in the classic fussy way that gives me a headache to even think about. The results of Alan's challot are heavenly. He is the only dinner guest that I will invite to bring challah.

 I have also been playing with sour dough, but in a much more low key way than Alan. during the week when I make a bread, I will lop off a lump of dough, toss it into a bowl and add a bit more water and perhaps a bit of honey or sugar, cover the bowl with a towel and stick it in the fridge and use that as the starter for my next batch of bread. It takes the same skills that it does to make mudpies.

Occasionally, I have used that sour dough -ish lump  to start my challah. Today I had a lump of dough in the fridge so I used it as my starter for today's challot. It felt like a bit of a recalcitrant  starter. Perhaps it was just exhausted
I was a little anxious becuse the dough seemed a bit extra dense today.
I was more than a little concerned that the challot would be dense and unrisen. as the challot were baking  this article showed up in my facebook feed sour-dough Challah perfectly timed. It seems that the neck of the woods where my mother's family came from is a sour-dough challah neck of the woods.

I am now typing fast because Shabbat starts in a moment. 

My challot came out fine, despite the possible exhausted starter.

Shabbat Shalom!


  1. My husband, son and grandson all have celiac disease. The days of making real challah are long gone. I really miss not only eating it but making it. I played around with it too and I loved making a 4 strand braid. I was pretty fast at it. Gluten free bread is wet and cannot usually be rolled out. There is a mold available to make a bread that approximates the look of challah, but unfortunately not the taste.

    1. I can't even imagine.There is so much bread eating that most of the residents of our household do. ( i actually don't eat all that much bread) My friend, whose father owned an old fashioned Jewish bakery tells me that four stranded loaves were the norm in well they should be a four strand loaf is so much prettier than a three stranded one, and as you know speedy to braid.We had seen a large selection of gluten free bread mixes and those braided challah shaped pans in a frum supermarket in Monsey, NY. Celiac disease is a pretty horrible thing if un-diagnosed.. a High School friend nearly died of it. She was hospitalized for months getting thinner and thinner until a diagnosis was finally made.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts