How does one start a blog post during a worldwide pandemic? I guess you take a deep breath, and take it one step, or in this case one delicious bite of Challah bread, at a time.
The last time I posted, I was in my master’s degree program, in Boston, doing long distance marriage with my husband. That was three years ago.
Tonight, my 7-month old daughter is sleeping soundly in her crib, while my 1-year old pup is laying at my feet, and my husband is playing a video game. How quickly life changes.
The truth is, I have so many posts that I have been yearning to work on these last three years, but I have never found the time. I am so excited to share my stockpile of treasures with you now!
So, to really get into this properly, we have to go back many years, to when my love affair with Challah bread began – high school.
At a ridiculously easy distance of 15 minutes from my house, a tiny Jewish bakery graced our city. Full of delicious homemade meals, the temptations in that little shop were difficult to overcome.
Now, living in South Florida, we had the luxury of finding decent challah bread in most supermarkets. I had supermarkets just around the corner from my home, each offering their own version. But no, I wasn’t satisfied with just any Challah. It was worth that extra drive to have the fresh-baked, dreamy, dense real thing.
When I went off to college, I realized that much of the world in general outside of Florida was not privileged with access to stellar Challah. I learned to make Challah bread for the same reason I learned to cook many other dishes. I was craving something excellent, something delicious, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.
It took me three years and countless tries to find a Challah recipe I was happy with. One night, frustrated with my studies, and cautiously optimistic about yet another Challah recipe, I discovered a treasure. This recipe is a modified version from, wouldn’t you know it, an adaptation of Brizel’s bakery recipe in Jerusalem, from an old article many years ago. I like to make the holiday version, with raisins and rum, for a little extra love.
When I tell you that it has been a over a decade since we first tried this, and we’ve never bothered to look at another recipe again, I mean it. It is dense, delicious, soft (and stays that way for days). It has been vetted and devoured by many friends and family members. Most days, I won’t bake this – because I know I’ll eat it.
To this day, whenever I bake this bread, my husband and I stop to share in the delicious scent that we both agree “smells like home”. In these trying times, I hope this recipe can be a source of comfort and blessing to you and yours, and that you enjoy it as much as we have.
Here’s a short story for you, my friends. Once upon a time, there was a girl who searched to the ends of the Earth for a dinner roll recipe that would suit her needs. She found many different varieties…some buttery, some hard, some yeasty, some crusty. But no recipe in all the land gave her exactly what she wanted: long-lasting fluffiness and perfect texture, delicious flavor, and easy technique. One day, when this girl was supposed to be taking a break from blog recipes, she accidentally created a magical recipe that was everything she had ever hoped for. She tested it again, and again it came out perfect. “It can’t be!” she cried. And she proceeded to stuff her face with bread.
Guys. That was based on a true story. I may have never mentioned this before – but bread is one of my very favorite things on this planet. I am extremely picky about it, and it is very often my favorite part of the meal at restaurants. There is just nothing like bread fresh out of the oven. Nope. So, after years of looking for a rolls recipe that could be enjoyed for dinner, but then also enjoyed for the rest of the week with breakfast and lunch – I’ve found it. And, even though I was supposed to be taking a break… I just have to share it.
This recipe is very tweak-able. If you want sweet bread, add some more honey. If you want cheesy bread, add your favorite grated cheese. If you want herbs, add some herbs. Have a party with it! And let me know how your tweaks turned out! I’d love to hear about some variations on this recipe.