Friday, February 18, 2011

2-18-2011 Cooking Shabbat

2:30 P.M. Here I am lying down with my tired feet propped up, taking a break from cooking. I have been at it since I woke up. I can never figure out why no matter what I make for Shabbat dinner, whether it be plain, fancy, easy, or hard, I feel as though I am in the kitchen all day Friday. Ok enough complaining.

Just take a whiff of my house right now. It smells divine! My nose is overwhelmed with the scent of fresh baked challah and chocolate cake, mmmmm! Look below for both of those recipes.

At this point, I have almost finished making everything, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Here are some pictures of the beautiful Salmon Primavera, it has only been assembled, but not cooked yet.
Before Bread Crumbs:

After Bread Crumbs:
Notice how it is on foil, that is because I am out of parchment.
Here is a picture of my fresh baked challah:
Now for a the recipes:
The challah recipe I made today, I got from Rebbetzin Baila Dubrawsky, who is famous for her delicious challah. She uses a Bosch mixer to make hers, sad to say I don't have one of these incredible machines. Alternatively, I  make it by hand, so this recipe is adapted for making it by hand. It's a workout I warn you!
Challah making is an artform. It takes a lot of experience to perfect.
 If you have never tried to make it before, it is very fufilling and I highly recommend giving it a shot, your friends and family will definitely be happy.
There are only 3 mitzvahs that pertain solely to women, and baking challah is one of them (you have to do a special prayer and dough seperation to make the mitzvah:
Here is the recipe:
Classic Challah
4 packages dry yeast (NOT QUICKRISE)
1 C. warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 C. oil
1 1/2 C. sugar
4 eggs
6 teaspoons salt
3 C. warm water
Almost 5 lbs. flour- I like to do 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 bread flour. (definitely try to find king Arthur brand, it's the best)
2 eggs for glaze
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast with 1 C. water, and 1 T. sugar
Wait until yeast is foamy (if it does not foam, that means the yeast is dead, and you have to start fresh)
In a large stock pot, mix together oil, sugar,  and 4eggs. Slowly add yeast mixture. Add about 2-4 cups of flour and mix thoroughly, then add the salt mixed into 1 C. of flour. (salt will hinder yeast growth if added directly)
Now mix in 1 C. of water, and then some flour, then 1 C. water, then some flour, then 1 C. water, then flour, mixing until thoroughly combined, and you have used most of the flour. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop. Cut into 4 parts with sharp knife or dough cutter. Knead each piece until smooth and elastic, then knead all 4 pieces together until you have a smooth mass of dough. Place dough in a clean oiled stock pot( you might have to wash the one you just used if you only own 1) Cover with a damp kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, but depends on the temperature of the room.
Using the heel of your hands expel the air out of the dough, this is called punching the dough down, although you are not actually "punching" the dough.
Divide dough with a dough cutter or knife into 8 equal parts. Take one of the 8 parts and divide into 3 pieces, make a braid, and tuck both ends under, repeat with remaining 7 pieces. Place on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, I usually can fit 3 on each sheet pan, you need to leave a few inches space in between each loaf. Cover with a dish towel, let rise until doubled in size about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crack 2 eggs  into a small bowl, and beat together to make an egg wash or glaze. Brush each loaf all over with this glaze, optionally you can sprinkle with poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. Place into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. When removed from the oven you will know if the challah is completely cooked if when you tap on the bottom it sounds hollow.  Cool on wire rack.
These challahs freeze well. Once they are thoroughly cooled, wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Place each wrapped loaf into a ziploc, and freeze. When you are in need of a loaf of challah, remove from freezer and let thaw.
I know that sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it for the most scrumpdiddliumptious challah.If you have any questions, please contact me, I am happy to assist anyone in need of help.
Finally, here is the recipe for chocolate cake I frequently make:
Ultimate Chocolate Cake- adapted from Kosher Palette p. 220
2 C. sugar
1 3/4 C. all purpose Flour
3/4 C. Cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 C. soy milk
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 C. boiling water
Preheat oven  to 350 F. Grease and flour the pan of your choice, 13x9 rectangle, two 8 or 9 inch rounds, or a Bundt pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, stir until well blended.
Add milk, oil, vanilla, eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes until completely mixed together, scraping sides of bowl periodically.
Fold in boiling water with a spoon or rubber spatula. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 25-50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
approx. 25 for 8 or 9 inch rounds, 50 minutes for Bundt
Have a Good Shabbas!
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