My mom’s contribution to most family meals outside of Passover (She made the Charoset) was to make the challah. The only written version I know of is from a PTA cookbook at my elementary school. I think this was put together as a fundraiser. My mom was later the president of this PTA.
I’m publishing this today since it would have been my Mom’s 70th birthday. If she was alive, I imagine that there would be some sort of family party. She would have wanted to see her granddaughter and her sons, but also her friends. She wouldn’t have made challah today and she would have wanted today to be a day with as little work for her as possible.
My mom’s challah is a bit more dense than a lot of challah. I don’t know if this was always a thing or just a thing that happened later in life.
I’ve added some comments in italics, but otherwise this recipe was my moms. Some of the comments are based on my experience watching my mom make this. The challah makes a great french toast when it’s been sitting out for a few days.
1 cup milk
3 T sugar
2 T butter
1 T salt
1 cup hot tap water
2 pkgs Dry Yeast
6 eggs, separated
6 cups flour, sifted 4 times
poppy seeds or sesame seeds ( Or “Everything but the bagel” seasoning )
- Sift flour 4 times. (Don’t skip this! Use your muscle and a hand sifter if you can)
- In a separate greased bowl, put yeast, hot water, and 1 T. sugar- stir until
dissolved. Set aside and wait for foam to form at top.
- In a small pot, put milk, remaining sugar, butter and salt. Heat until milk is scalded.
- In a small bowl, put 3 eggs and 3 egg yolks (save whites for later). Beat eggs with mix master, then add milk mixture.
- After yeast is poofed, alternate egg mixture and flour until dough is gluten.
- Put dough in greased glass bowl, cover with a towel and put in a warm, draft-free place. ( My mom always used the oven )
- Let rise until about double in size (about 30-35 minutes). (Or until you get back from morning Rosh Hashana Services in which case, it will be WAY may than double in size)
- Punch dough down and hand kneed for 5 minutes. (Often my mom would let it rise twice, repeating steps 6-8)
- Roll dough out and cut it in half. (Leave a little bit so that your inquisitive son can make his own challah)
- Cut each half into thirds and braid.
- Put bread on greased cookie sheet.
- Coat each bread with mixture of egg whites, water and pinch of salt.
- Put seeds on it. Bread should be coated every 5-10 minutes during cooking.
- Cook 30-35 minutes in a pre-heated oven 375 degrees.
- Bread is done when brown on outside and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Cool on wire rack. (And keep your sons from burning themselves trying to eat it right away, but definitely let them have some that is still warm enough to melt butter)