There are many things that I love in this world. I love to read, I love to walk, I love great food, and I love to laugh. I love to sleep, I love to shop, and I love to explore new places. I love my family, I love to cook, and I love to create. I especially love when I can enjoy more than one love at the same time. That’s what happened today: I was able to laugh, be with family, cook, and create. Here’s what happened:
I have four sisters and two brothers, plus umpteen brothers- in-law and sisters-in-law. I also have 20 nieces and nephews. That’s a lot to love. Sometimes its fun to love them all together. And other times its more special to love them separately. Today, was a love ‘em separately day, as my sister came over with my dee-licous nieces Hope and Kate (their sister Alexis was at a sleep-over, and my baby nephew Luke Arthur (named for my Dad) for a visit and a baking party. We decided to bake Challah, the traditional Jewish egg-bread.
When my sister told me the kids wanted to bake with me, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Since my kids are older now, and completely disinterested in doing anything fun with me, I’m a bit rusty with entertaining the young ‘uns. I prepared myself for a big, fat, flour-y mess. Instead, what I got was smiles, hugs and a fantastic smelling house.
First thing in the morning, I put the ingredients for the dough in the breadmaker. (Look I’m a Balabusta, but I’m also lazy. If there’s a machine willing to knead my dough, why shouldn’t I let it?
The dough was just about ready when my Sis arrived, kids in tow. As soon as it came out of the machine we got working. I cut the dough in two, and the girls washed their hands and rolled up their sleeves ready to work. As they watched their dough rest, Hope, who’s almost 7 asked, ‘Can we make chocolate chip Challah?’
First, I wasn’t sure. Then, I though, ‘Hey, why the heck not? What’s the worst that could happen? It’s just bread dough…’
I brought out the chocolate chips, and they kneaded them into the dough. The girls got to work shaping their breads (well, Kate, who’s 2, watched me shape, ate chocolate chips, and tried to keep her boogers out of the dough).
Then, we put their Challahs down for a 30 minute ‘nap’. Once the dough had risen, we glazed the loaves with egg wash, sprinkled vanilla sugar and cinnamon on top, and put them in the oven. Another 30 minutes later, we had chocolate-y bread-y masterpieces.
Moral of the story: little kids have great ideas
Place in the breadmaker:
1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp sugar or honey, 3 2/3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 generous tbsp of bread machine yeast.
Turn the machine on to ‘dough’ and let it do the hard work. Wait two hours (or whatever your machine’s cycle is). Sprinkle some flour on your counter or other surface. When the machine beeps, take the dough out, roll it around in the flour, and then let it rest for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle some chocolate chips onto the dough and knead it in. Shape as you desire.
To braid: cut dough in three even pieces. Roll them out into tubes. Smush the three pieces together at one end. Then braid.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 10 minutes before ready to bake. Place the shaped bread dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and cover with a tea towel. Put in a draft-free place for 30-60 minutes. When the dough has doubled in size, brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water). Sprinkle with cinnamon and vanilla sugar (can be found in the kosher section). Bake until golden brown and when the bottom is tapped, bread sounds hollow, about 30-60 minutes depending on size of loaf.
These are memories you just can’t buy at the bakery!