Chernowitzer Challah

In the late nineteenth century, the city of Czernowitz, known as the Vienna of Eastern Europe, was famous throughout Austria-Hungary for its tolerance, civic beauty, culture, and learning. Frequently renationalized over the last millennium, Czernowitz has passed through Romanian, Ottoman, and Austrian control and is now a Ukrainian city called Chernivtsi. At its cultural peak at the turn of the twentieth century, it was populated and governed by Jews from Poland, Russia, Austria, and Romania — it even hosted the first-ever Yiddish-language conference in 1908. Of course, World War II destroyed this idyll, and most of the city’s Jews were deported to Auschwitz.

This recipe for a classic European challah (pronounced “chern-o-vitzer”) comes from the late Lotte Langmann. It is not terribly sweet or eggy, but it is generously enriched with oil. The Austrians traditionally use a four-stranded braid, but this dough holds its shape so beautifully during baking that it is a great choice for showing off any fancy shape.

YIELD
Makes two 1-pound (450-gram) challahs, one 1 1/2-pound (680-gram)

INGREDIENTS

1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons/7 grams/0.3 ounce) instant yeast

About 3 3/4 cups (500 grams/17.6 ounces) bread flour

3/4 cup (170 grams/6 ounces) warm water

2 large eggs, plus 1 for glazing

1/2 cup (110 grams/3.8 ounces) vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams/0.3 ounce) table salt

1/4 cup (55 grams/1.9 ounces) granulated sugar

Poppy seeds or sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)

  1. PREPARATION

    1. Mixing the yeast slurry
      1. In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 3/4 cup (100 grams/3 ounces) of the flour, then whisk in the warm water until smooth. Let the yeast slurry stand uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes, or until it begins to ferment and puff up slightly.
    2. Mixing the dough
      1. Whisk the 2 eggs, oil, salt, and sugar into the puffed yeast slurry until the eggs are well incorporated and the salt and sugar have dissolved. With your hands or a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining 3 cups (400 grams/14.7 ounces) flour all at once. When the mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto your work surface and knead it until smooth and soft, no more than 10 minutes. (Soak your mixing bowl in hot water now, to clean it and warm it if you would like to use it for fermenting the dough.) Or, if you like, the dough can be very quickly kneaded in a food processor: Mix the ingredients together in a bowl as directed, cut the rough dough in half, and process one half at a time, then knead the halves together. If the dough is too firm to easily knead, add a tablespoon or two of water to it; if it seems too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour.
        1. The dough should feel smooth and firm and knead easily without sticking to the work surface.
      2. Fermenting the dough
        1. Place the dough in the warm cleaned bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. (Or, the dough can be refrigerated right after kneading, then removed from the refrigerator to finish fermenting up to 24 hours later.) Let the dough ferment until it has at least doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. (If it has been refrigerated, the dough will take an extra 30 to 60 minutes to ferment.)
      3. Shaping and proofing the dough
        1. Line one or two large baking sheets, depending on how many breads you are making, with parchment paper or oil them. Divide the dough into two 1-pound (450-gram) portions for loaves, one 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) portion for a large loaf and three smaller pieces for rolls (the easiest way to do this is to divide the dough into quarters and use three of them for the bread and the other for the rolls), or sixteen 2-ounce (60-gram) portions for rolls. To make a New Year’s spiral*, roll each portion into a long, even strand, preferably sheeting it out first.
        2. For each portion:
        3. For a flat spiral, make a very loose spiral of dough on the prepared sheet, starting at the center and winding the dough around, leaving space between the loops, and tuck the end of the strand under.
        4. For a high-rising spiral, wind the dough tightly around on the prepared sheet, without leaving any space between the loops, and be sure that the last loop is bound with a bit of tension. This will force the dough to rise in the center as it is proofing and especially during the oven rise.
          1. Cover the loaves well. (At this point, the loaves can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.) Let proof until tripled in size, about 1 1/2 hours (or up to 2 1/2 hours if the loaves were refrigerated).
          1. Meanwhile, 30 minutes before baking, arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower third positions if using two baking sheets, or arrange one rack in the upper third position if using one baking sheet, and remove any racks above them. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C/gas mark 4). If you like, preheat one or two baking sheets to double with the baking sheet(s) the loaves are resting on. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt for glazing the bread.
        5. Baking the loaves
          1. When the loaves have tripled and do not push back when gently pressed with your finger but remain indented, brush them with the egg glaze. If desired, sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, the 1-pound (450-gram) loaves for 25 to 35 minutes, or the 1 1/2-pound (680-gram) loaf for 35 to 45 minutes, until very well browned. After the first 20 minutes of baking, switch the loaves from front to back so that they brown evenly; if the large loaf is browning too quickly, tent it with foil. When the loaves are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool on a rack.
          1. *According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, the New Year’s spiral is a shape with a Ukrainian origin, originally a bird shape with the center of the spiral culminating in a bird’s head: “The bird’s head symbolizes the phrase in Isaiah 31:5 ‘As birds hovering, so will the Lord of Hosts protect Jerusalem'” — which helps to explain why this spiral shape would be called a faigele, “little bird” in Yiddish.
        6. CZERNOWITZER CHALLAH WITH RAISINS
          1. Challah with raisins is very popular, especially among Ashkenazi Jews during the High Holy Days, when food is supposed to be extra-sweet. You can use any kind of raisins desired, or even a mix. If you love raisins and want a generous amount, use the larger quantity specified — but in this case it’s especially important to rinse and dry the raisins as described, or the sugar in them will overwhelm the yeast and slow the fermentation.
        7. For Czernowitzer challah with raisins
          1. Mix the yeast slurry as directed and allow to ferment. While the slurry is fermenting, pick through 2/3 to 1 1/3 cups (100 to 200 grams/3.5 to 7 ounces) dark or golden raisins, or a combination. Check for any spoiled ones, then rinse the rest in a strainer or colander under hot tap water, to plump them up and wash away any excess sugar, which would interfere with the yeast’s fermentation. If they are hard, let them drain in the strainer so they can absorb the excess water while you complete the dough; if they are already soft, pat them dry in a paper towel and set them aside.
          2. Mix the dough as directed. When it is well kneaded, knead in the raisins just until they are equally distributed. Then proceed as directed.
Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Double Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies–canyon ranch

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese

1 cup plus 2 TBLE sugar

2 egg yolks

3/4 tea vanilla

3/4 tea mint extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

3/4 tea baking soda

1/2 tea salt

1 package semi-sweet choc chips, about 6 oz

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 350.  Lightly grease baking sheet
  2. In large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar on low speed. Add yolks, vanilla and mint and mix on low until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Add to butter mixture and mix by hand until combined.
  4. Portion heaping teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 7 minutes.  lightly flatten with your finger and rotate baking sheet to bake an addition 3 minutes.
  5. Will seem soft, but let cool on pan for five before putting on rack.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies–silver palate

12 TBLE (1 1/2 sticks) sweet butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 TBLE water
1 tea vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tea cinnamon
1/2 tea salt
1/2 baking soda
3 cups quick oats
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven 350. Grease cookie sheets
2. Cream butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add egg and beat thoroughly. Mix in water and vanilla.
3. Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt and soda; add to the egg mixture and mix well. Add oats and raisins, and mix.
At this point you can either go to #4 or refrigerate and bake another day. Just gets tastier in fridge.
4. Form cookies on greased sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes until edges are done but centers still soft. Remove and cool on rack.

Posted in Uncategorized

SOBA NOODLES

  • 1/2 pound soba, or whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 small bunch scallions, very thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 tablespoons mixed black sesame seeds and toasted white sesame seeds

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the soba and cook until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the edamame, carrots, scallions and soba to the bowl and toss to combine. Garnish with the sesame seeds.

Posted in Uncategorized

Oat and Pistachio Sandies (Bon Appetit)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raw pistachios
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
    Makes about 30 Servings

    Do ahead:

    • Pulse flour, oats, pistachios, salt, and baking soda in a food processor to combine (small pieces of oats and pistachio should still be visible).

    • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl to create air pockets in butter, about 5 minutes; mixture will look light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. Divide dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper and shape into about 1½”-diameter logs. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.(The colder your dough, the easier it will be to cut into even slices.)

    • Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Using a serrated knife, slice logs into ¼”-thick rounds and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about ½” apart. Bake, rotating baking sheets once, until cookies are golden brown around the edges, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

      For a delicate—not brittle—crunch, don’t overbake. It’s okay if the center of the cookie is still pale.

    • DO AHEAD: Keep dough chilled up to 5 days, or freeze up to 1 month.

Posted in Uncategorized

Carmelized Fennel & Shallots Chicken

one chicken cut into 8 pieces (about 3 1/2 pounds)

1/4 cup potato starch if for passover… if not flour is fine too

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 ” pieces (if you aren’t a big fan of fennel use just one but get the flavor of two by using  the  fronds.  Can remove it before serving)

4 shallots halved if large

4 garlic cloves, smashed

3 T olive oil

2 t kosher salt

3/4 tea freshly group pepper

3/4 tea white pepper (I don’t have white pepper and didn’t bother using it)

2 T fresh parsley

1 preheat oven to 400.  spray cooking sheet with cooking spray

2. place the chicken pieces and flour in a large resealable bag and toss to evenly coat.

3. place chicken and garlic in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put into oven and then 15 minutes later add the  fennel and shallots.  If you start everything all at once the vegetables will be mushy.   Cook till done 40-45 minutes.

4. sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Still tasty and good if you make a day early.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Muriel’s Passover Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup cake meal

1/2 cup butter or oleo ( Oleo is actually margarine, more than fifty years ago, Oleomargarine is how you would have found this named. This was made from vegetable oil, and used as a more economical substitute for butter. When Oleo margarine came out, it originally wasn’t even yellow, it was white.)  Muriel always used the term Oleo so I put it in.  Though butter is always preferred.

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 TBLE orange juice

1/2 cup nuts and 1/2 cup choc chips

Says sift meal and cocoa (prob not necessary).  Put aside.  Cream sugar and oleo.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add juice and dry ingredients.  Add nuts and chips.

Use 9″ square pan… grease or use parchment paper and bake in 350 20 to 25 minutes until done.

Yield 36 brownies

Posted in Uncategorized