X

Subscribe to Kosher Like Me weekly newsletter so you won't miss a thing.
We promise that it's painless and we'll NEVER share your info.

EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
Challah Baking with Soul (plus Olive Oil & Silan)

Challah Baking with Soul (plus Olive Oil & Silan)

This Friday night will be all the sweeter when we bake and serve challah again after a two week hiatus. Was anyone else yearning for sweet, yeasty, pull apart challah instead of flat, crumbly, dry matzah?

For regular challah bakers, it will be a delicious reunion with an ancient tradition and one your family and friends are lucky to share in. For future challah bakers, here is an opportunity to learn all about this highly symbolic act that results in the most primary and recognizable component on every Shabbat and festive table, world-wide.

When Dahlia Abraham-Klein’s brilliant manual, Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months; Building the Sacred through Challah, landed on my desk I realized that in my three plus years of looking for inspiration to share here, I have only posted one other challah recipe.

Considering the 50 weeks a year that we serve challah, that doesn’t seem quite right.

So I dug into Abraham-Klein’s beautifully written, deeply researched exploration of challah and found myself transported by this spiritual guide book.

Dahlia kneading
Dahlia kneading

The author leads us through month by month celebrations via a group she formed for women’s Torah study and challah baking. Through challah baking “Spiritual Kneaders” explore themes of the month. In her group, the women chat, knead, meditate and study as they connect ingredients with a higher meaning.

While Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months can be used simply as a challah cookbook with 18 recipes ranging from Basic Challah with Fresh Yeast,  Round Pull-Apart Challah with Silan and Olive Oil (below) to Wheat Stalk Challah with Parmesan Topping,  it would be a wasted opportunity to NOT allow this brilliant author to take you along on a much deeper journey.

Wheat Stalk with Parmesan for the month of Sivan
Wheat Stalk with Parmesan for the month of Sivan

Abraham- Klein implores the reader to slow down, knead with intention, access the connection between spirituality and weekly baking. She explained it this way to me, “I want people to see and learn the sacredness of the process. It’s about accessing the intention of the month, slowing down and bringing that intention into the challah. Nothing is rushed, but savored.”

In addition to learning through Torah text, Abraham-Klein teaches all practical aspects of challah baking including kneading, braiding, shaping and separating dough for blessings.

three strands round
three strands round

Additional basic recipes for low gluten Spelt Challah, Whole Wheat Challah, and Gluten-Free Oat Challah are valuable additions.

With the new month of IYAR beginning this Sunday, April 19, we chose to share this highly symbolic recipe for Pull-Apart Challah with Silan and Olive Oil. 

Here’s what Dahlia Abraham- Klein had to say about her recipe:

This month’s challah comprised of twelve balls (yud-bet) represents the twelve tribes of Israel who left Egypt. The heavenly bread that sustained Israel during the desert was manna, and it made it’s first appearance in the month of Iyar. The Torah describes the manna as tasting like wafers with honey, and like oil cake. To commemorate the taste of manna, this month’s challahs uses olive oil and date honey (silan).

Additional notes: Silan is an ancient condiment that may be used in place of honey or maple syrup in some recipes although the flavor is distinctive and different from those sweeteners.  I use this Israeli brand in a squeezable bottle (kosher and just dates- the way it’s supposed to be). Or you can go for the challenge and make it yourself with this easy recipe from blogger pal, Tori Avey.

This volume would make an inspiring addition to anyone’s cookbook collection. I can imagine it as a great engagement or wedding gift along with a handmade challah board.

Watch for our GIVE-AWAY on Thursday. You can win this volume right here!

All photos are courtesy of Dahlia Abraham-Klein, Spiritual Kneading Through the Jewish Months; Building the Sacred through Challah.

3 strands braided
3 strands braided

8 Comments

Leave a Reply