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Friday, November 13, 2020

11/13/2020 05:00:00 PM


Erica Bobrow

Weekly Zoom Session Wrap-up



This past week, we had the pleasure of enjoying a challah making demonstration by our own Cecily K. She has been making challah for more than 3 decades. I remember when I first began attending TOR and I was told repeatedly how delicious Cecily's challah was. And it is! So this was a real treat. 

Here are the details of her Zoom demonstration:

Robin followed Cecily's instructions to make this challah.


Cecily mixed up a 2/3's portion of Evie Lieb's recipe with some adjustments. She's found that's the amount which works well each week for her family. She also replaced half the flour with whole wheat, and added vital wheat gluten to lighten up the whole wheat texture. Cecily used her Cuisinart with the metal S-blade to mix, adding a little extra water, very slowly until she had the dough-feel she preferred. Cecily didn't knead. She placed the dough in a bowl, wrapped it loosely in a plastic bag, and placed it in the refrigerator. She said she'd return to it later in the afternoon to shape and bake. The timing allowed her family to have warm challah from the oven for the Hamotzi and dinner. Cecily showed us that her dough recipe would rise for the first proof even while resting in the refrigerator.

Cecily also shaped for us a second batch of dough which had already proofed once. She separated the dough into four parts, rolled out three of the parts into long strands, and created a traditional three-strand braid. The fourth part was then cut and rolled to make a smaller three-strand braid that she placed atop the larger braid, tucking the ends under.

Thank you, Cecily, for sharing your time and your knowledge with us today. You made it look so easy! However, we all know that's just not so. We had a ton of questions and you fielded them with ease and provided us with an exceptional demonstration of how to mix with the cuisinart, have patience while determining the right dough-feel, and so much more. If anyone has any other comments to add, please let Cecily know. I could go on, but it's good to hear from the group, too.

We finished the Zoom session showing a 5-strand braid. I didn't want a wide challah which a 5-strand braid creates. I prefer rather a rounder loaf which is better for sandwiches. So, I just tucked the sides under long-wise (see photo below). The more intricate braiding wasn't as evident, nonetheless the water challah recipe baked easily to 200 degrees in 25 minutes. 

I was asked to report on the new flour used - 4 cups of Whole Foods 365 Bread Flour (first time using this brand instead of King Arthur) along with 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast (Red Star brand) in this recipe. The texture was soft while hand-kneading and it baked up light and golden. I'd use it again.


Other updates: 

- We will have a Challah Time! session the day after Thanksgiving.

- There is now a new contact email for our group: where you can send any Challah Time! related messages and your photos.

- Please send me your ideas on demonstrations you'd like to do or see. Perhaps there's a bake (not necessarily challah) made by one of our congregants you've always enjoyed? Let me know and I'll see what I can do. For example, we've talked about mandelbrot and Nancy L.s' bagels. 

- See the photos and notes from bakers below of challot made this past week--gorgeous! Thank you for sharing these with the rest of us. We learn so much and continue to inspire each other through these pics and notes.

Looking forward to our next Challah Time!


Weekly Challot Images

Send in your challah pics and notes so we can admire your work and learn from your experiences.




Used a brioche recipe, without butter. 1 cup water, 2-1/2 tsp yeast, 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 eggs (1 for wash), 1/2 tbsp fine salt, and 4 cups all purpose flour.



Used water challah recipe. "I add honey to the egg wash, it seems to make them more glossy in color and sweeter in flavor... I made some rolls, small challah,and tried one with raisins."




"This is a collection of plain, garlic, chocolate chip and cherry, and cookie dough."



Tue, October 3 2023 18 Tishrei 5784