Challah - A Woman's Special Mitzvah

challah

This is a great Challah recipe if you like your challah sweet and cake-like.

Ingredients:


5 lbs flour

2 cups sugar

4 oz fresh yeast or 6 Tbsp. dry yeast

4 cups warm water

5 eggs

1 cup oil

2 heaping Tbsp. salt

Sarah Lasry

Sarah Lasry, Author of “The Dairy Gourmet” and “The At Home Gourmet” and the Food and Home Contributing Editor for Binah Magazine shares her favorite Challah recipe below. Check out more of Sarah's Kosher Recipes at kosherstreet.com

Instructions:

 

  1. Combine 1 cup warm water, the yeast (fresh or dried) and a sprinkle of sugar from the 2 cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl place the flour, rest of sugar, eggs, and the salt and mix for a bit.  
  3. Then, while the mixer is on low, add the yeast mixture, making sure that the yeast does not have any direct contact with the salt, and then add the remainder of water. 
  4. Continue to mix on low and then mix on medium until almost all the ingredients are combined.  Then add the oil and continue to mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 -10 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl or to a greased plastic tablecloth on the counter in a draft free warm area of your kitchen.  Cover with a towel (or the other half of the greased plastic tablecloth).
  6. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
  7. The bracha for challah is usually said at this point. Before shaping the challah into loaves, divide the dough into as many loaves as you would like to make. 
  8. Shape the dough according to your preference (Braiding instructions) and place the loaves in individual loaf pans, round pans, or on cookie sheets to rise.  You will not be able to transfer the challahs any more after this point. 
  9. Cover loaves and let rise an additional hour or more until double.
  10. Approximately 10 – 15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 425F.
  11. Apply an egg wash (made with 1 beaten egg) to  your Challah and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.
  12. Bake in oven for 15 minutes on 425F, then lower oven to 350F degrees and bake an additional 35 minutes or until done.  Alternatively bake on 350F for an hour.

 

A Woman’s Special Mitzvah

Hafrashat Challah is the mitzvah that requires a person to set aside a portion of the dough that will be baked into bread. This portion of dough was given to the kohanim, allowing them to live honorably, fulfilling their holy tasks in comfort. Since bread is the staff of life, separating challah is a commandment that is applicable at all times – bringing a blessing into our daily lives. This mitzvah is now particularly designated for the Jewish woman.

 

Our foremother Sara Imenu was blessed with three things ~ one of which is preparing the dough in honor of Shabbos.  Since the biblical times, it has remained a special mitzvah for women to bake their own challah. When one separates the dough and recites the bracha, it is an auspicious time to pray for special requests ~ remembering those in need of
refuah,

a shidduch,
or couples waiting to be blessed with children ~

 

Furthermore, taking Challah with a bracha as part of a group of 40 women in the merit of couples not yet blessed with children has been cited as a wonderful segulah. These women prepare the requisite amount of dough, and after the bracha and yehi ratzon is recited,they intone the name of the individual(s) for which they are davening. Stories abound of those that have beenblessed after a group has undertaken hafrashat challah – separating challah, for their sake ~ in their z’chut.

The power of this prayer is strong! Enhance your Shabbos table with

homemade challah this week and help a couple realize their dream of

building a family. Donate to Puah now.