It’s here, it’s here! Welcome to the new Kosher Cooking Concepts and welcome to my new blog! Months in the making, I’m so proud to offer this space to YOU, the reader — a much more updated and interactive experience than my former, now-retired website. A website is a lot like a house – even when you finally decide to make the move, it takes time to make it a home you can call your own. This is how I feel about the site and getting comfy in this new blog (so how am I doing so far?)…. you’ll pardon me as I continue to rearrange the furniture, hang pictures and put up some coffee to make it a warm, welcoming place to visit.
I still have challah on the brain from all of the inspiring challah bake events of the past few weeks. (Check out my article in last week’s Binah Magazine entitled “Challah Baking with the Mavens”). But then, it’s always been about the challah. Teaching challah is what started me in the beginning of this journey over 12 years ago.
The fermenting scent of proofing yeast wafting beneath my students’ nostrils…
Combining significant ingredients and teaching how to knead thoroughly and thoughtfully until….
Just the right consistency has been achieved…
…and all while uttering a quiet prayer.
As a food writer and recipe developer, it’s my job to articulate recipe directions, my words walking you through the recipe like a grandmother holding your hand.
Not so with braiding directions, though. It’s frustratingly difficult to teach in words. Mostly because it’s a visual thing…and incredibly easy to get confused amidst too many written directions. How could anyone be expected to keep track of 6 numbered or lettered strands of dough being woven all at the SAME time? That smart I’m not. I don’t expect my students to be, either. But having a blog makes it easy to show you with pictures!
A 6-strand braiding is tricky because you alternate braiding between each side. You only need to keep track of strands #1 and #2 from each side. As you braid each side, those outer two strands will continually be replaced by a new #1 and a new #2.
Imagine you’ve divided your dough into six balls and rolled them in strands:
Starting from the left, I shout out my mantra:
“#2 all the way over, #1 in the middle (of the remaining four)!”
“Now switch sides!”, I bellow!
Continue alternating until there is no more dough to braid and you are left looking at a beautiful, intricate 6-braid challah and you wonder – “how did I do that?!”
But you have!
It definitely takes practice. Over time it becomes a mindlessly rhythmic, even therapeutic motion.
And then you can say that YOU braided those gorgeous Honey-Whole Wheat Challahs…bragging rights are seldom overrated.
Photos by Baila Photography