Sign In Forgot Password

Friday, December 18, 2020

12/18/2020 06:00:00 PM


Erica Bobrow

Weekly Zoom Session Wrap-up

During Challah Time, while we proofed, shaped, and baked, Lynn took a great pic of her challot and us!


Thanks again, Lynn. I love this shot of us together doing what we do every Friday!

So what did we do this past Friday? Well, Deanna shared how she baked her sufganiyot on the last night of Hanukkah. She filled with them with her homemade preserves made from fruit from her own trees-- lemon and also tangerine. Oh my, such goodness, Deanna! Kathy worked on her first whole wheat challot. They turned out beautifully. Lori had to use all purpose (AP) flour because that's what she had on hand, and  yes, it did require more kneading. We noted that with the extra work it requires, one purpose of AP flour is it enables us to let off some steam in a productive way, which can be really helpful during these pandemic times.  We were also joined by Rebecca for the first time, whose challah pic reveals she and her daughter have some serious braiding chops. Check out the Baker's Images and Notes section below the wrap up to see these and more.

Baker's Images & Notes>>>

   ..  .             

Send in your images on Friday once your challah has baked, along with your notes to We'll admire your work and learn from each other. 

The Yeasts

Kathy had asked for an explanation of the difference between yeasts: Active Dry, Rapid Rise, and Bread Machine.  Active Dry has to be dissolved in warm water to become active. The warm water dissolves an outer shell of dead yeast cells to reveal live ones inside. Instant Yeasts (called "Instant," "Rapid Rise," or "Bread") don't require water to dissolve in order to activate the yeast. Instant yeast granules are much smaller than Active, do not have the dead yeast cell shell surrounding, and are immediately, or instantly, accessible to begin working, i.e., no yeast proofing required.

There is a third type of yeast; that is the original fresh, compressed, or cake yeast. It is the most productive of all the yeasts, generating the most carbon dioxide, however it is also highly perishable and must be refrigerated and used before its expiration date. Hence, the development of the other two types of yeast which allow us to store it for much longer periods of time. 

In the section Extra Finds & Fixin's below, you'll find links to a Cooks Illustrated article, and others that delve into great detail on the topic of yeasts.  There are also examples of Ellen's challah covers to be viewed. Please don't miss those!

Unfortunately, we had a scare when Karen had to leave early. She left a message for us in the chat that her mother had had a heart attack. I've since been in touch with Karen, who said it was ok to share that Florine is doing better, and has already been transferred back home from the hospital to her assisted living complex. It was such good news I wanted to share it here rather than wait until our next session.

Upcoming Event

Nancy will demonstrate her bagel recipe on Friday, January 8th.

We're excited to have Nancy demo another one of her bakes for us. This time she'll have her husband Robert assisting. I've heard Nancy makes incredibly tasty bagels. Her recipe will be posted the week before. Please mark your calendars and invite your friends to join us!

Please note: There won't be a Challah Time session this Friday, December 25th.  I'm looking forward to our next Challah Time together on New Years Day. 


Click here to join Challah Time! Friday's at 11am, via Zoom>>>

Top of Page

Baker's Weekly Images

Send in your images on Friday once your challah has baked, along with your notes to

We'll admire your work and learn from each other.


Deanna's Sufganiyot

Deanna's Notes: "I kept the egg but used non-dairy milk." 

[Recipe from]


Karen's Challot

Karen's Notes: "They turned out nicely this time. I remembered to put on the egg wash."


Kathy's Challot


Kathy's Notes: "Tried half whole wheat for the first time. Divided dough in half which made 2 small loaves and 10 rolls.  Next time will make rolls smaller."


Lynn's Challot

Lynn's Notes: "I am a morning person so I started early.  Challah just came out of the oven."


Rebecca and Sarah's Challot 

Rebecca's Notes: "Mine is on the left and my daughter, Sarah’s, is on the right."


Erica's Challah 


Erica's Notes: "This tahini citrus kalamata spiral challah was an experimental recipe I concocted, so I have a lot of notes.

"My 4-cups of flour recipe usually yields two loaves. This time it made a single large round spiral. I baked this loaf at 350 for @ 45 min.

"I replaced 2 of 3 tablespoons of oil with tahini. Rather than roll out the dough, I stretched it. I added drained and halved Trader Joe's kalamata olives. I wanted to add some brightness to the flavors, so I zested what citrus was on hand: Satsuma tangerine and lemon. I also lightly dabbed the tangerine juice on the olives and dough taking care not to add too much extra moisture, although the 50 percent whole wheat content I believe helped keep the balance. I finished the spiral before placing in the oven with light wash of tahini, tangerine juice and water.

"The result was a moister version of the typical 50/50 whole wheat challot I've made previously. This one had a thicker, crisper crust. That amazing distinct tahini aroma I mentioned while mixing the dough didn't come through after the bake was done. There was a hint of citrus throughout, which was much stronger around the olives themselves. Next step down this road of exploration, I plan to work with dry-cured olives. I'll mix them into the dough during the bulk fermentation, so that the olives will better integrate throughout the loaf.  Usually I wait to mix in additions until right before the second proof so as not to retard the first rise. However, I believe the lack of moisture in the dry olives won't inhibit the yeast activity. That's my hypothesis, at least. We'll see. All in all, a successful experiment and a good sized, free-form loaf for sandwiches." 

Top of Page

Extra Finds and Fixin's

  • Ellen had enough challah in her home, so this week during Challah Time she showed us the challah covers she was embroidering for new TOR members.  Here are a couple of the pieces she completed Friday. Contact her for more information about these and her other beautiful textile creations she sells at craft shows and with the TOR Artists Guild.


Let me know if you're working on creative activities aside from challah baking, and I'll spotlight your work here, too.


  • Nancy forwarded this announcement from Chabad of Folsom for a Mega Challah Bake on 1/28/21, hosted by NorCal Chabad.  Thanks, Nancy!


  • Yeasts: I briefly discussed differences between yeasts above. Here are articles I resourced if you're inclined to study it further. It was very helpful for me. I found the Cooks Illustrated was the most concise: 


Top of Page

Tue, October 3 2023 18 Tishrei 5784