Jerry’s Challah

Let me tell you a little something about Jerry Reizner (may his memory be a blessing). Jerry was somewhat of a patriarch for our synagogue until his passing at the beginning of this year. He was perhaps best known for the wonderful challah he made for all of us to enjoy when our congregation met for Shabbos and holidays. His legacy is his challah. Literally. Before his death, not only did he make and freeze enough for much of this year at Shabbos and High Holidays, but his recipe has been shared with members so his tradition may live on.

This Rosh Hashana, I have decided to finally try my hand at making challah and I’m using Jerry’s recipe (though I have cut it in half as I do not need as much as the original recipe makes). The following recipe yields four loves of challah.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs King Arthur Bread flour
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups corn oil
  • 2 cups warm water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour and yeast.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix 3 beaten eggs, sugar, salt, corn oil and warm water.
  3. Add liquid to flour and mix. Let rest 10 min.
  4. Divide dough in half. Mix each half for 7 min using dough hook.
  5. Put dough in a large bowl sprayed with Pam (or lightly coated in corn oil), covered. Let sit for approximately 1 hour, until doubled.
  6. Punch down dough and divide into 4 loaves.
  7. Braid each loaf and place in medium loaf pans sprayed with am (or lightly coated in corn oil). Let rise until doubled (approximately 1 hour).
    (Note: As is tradition for Rosh Hashana, instead of braiding the dough, I formed it into round loaves and set them in cake pans to rise and bake.)
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Beat 1 egg and lightly brush on top of loaves.
  10. (Optional) Sprinkle with toasted sesame or poppy seeds.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees until 180 degrees (or a finger thump on the bottom creates a hollow sound). Check after 30 minutes.
  12. Cool completely on racks.
  13. Cover with foil if you plan to use the challah within a day or so, otherwise, wrap well and freeze.
My husband lovingly told me the one on the right resembles a lopsided poop emoji. Isn’t he sweet?

For Erev Rosh Hashana, I decided to serve both loaves of challah. For the first one, I sliced and served it with apples and honey for the traditional sweet new year treat.

The traditional, round challah for Rosh Hashana, served with apples and honey (for dipping).

The second one was a bit of an experiment. Thanks to my friend Kim for posting this recipe, which I decided to try.

Well, it may not have turned out as pretty as the original on Kveller, but considering this was all that remained by the end of the evening, I’d say it was mighty tasty and enjoyed by all!

This is all that was left of the Apple, Honey & Brie Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread.

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