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Happy Thanksgivukkah! ...Challurkey Time...

28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah!  Like I said in an earlier post, Hanukkah & Thanksgiving overlapping is a once in a lifetime event, so I wanted to do something special.  Actually, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving on the same day last happened in 1861 (but Thanksgiving wasn't established till 1868).  Hanukkah came first, and the next time it will happen is in the year 79,811!  

This past May when my husband and I got married, one of the items on our gift registry was a bread maker.  Since then we've used it 2-3 times, once or twice for a rosemary bread and once for a cinnamon sugar loaf.  Never have I attempted to make challah in my 25 years nor have I ever tried making dough in my bread maker.  This is all new and very exciting!  The reason I am sharing this with you is that, I would love to bring my bread maker into school one day and let the students measure out the ingredients, pour it all into the machine, and let it sit in the back of the room until the dough is formed.  Yes, I understand that it may be a distraction, which is why you would want to incorporate some math activity to go along with it, or manage the time so that the kids go to lunch and when they return it is time braid the challah (or make shapes) and make the egg wash that goes on top.

So here is what I am doing.  I am taking it up a notch!  Even though I have never made challah before, I am going to attempt a Challurkey, a challah loaf in  the shape of a turkey.  Online there are dozens and dozens of challah recipes, but since I never made it before, I asked a friend for Jewish holiday recipe book and she suggested, A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking  by Marcy Goodman.  The book is fantastic!  More challah recipes than you can imagine, whether you are looking for simple dinner rolls or something sweet, this book has everything.

Recipe for Friday Night Challah:

1 3/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/3 cup plus a pinch of sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups bread flour

Egg Wash/Topping:
1 egg plus 1 yolk
1 tablespoon water
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling

(You can substitute mixing bowl for bread maker on dough setting).  In a large mixing bowl, sprinkling the yeast, pinch of sugar, and the cinnamon over the water.  Stir briefly and allow the mixture to stand for a couple of minutes to let the yeast swell or dissolve.  Briskly stir in the remaining sugar and the salt, then the eggs and oil.  Fold in most of the flour to make a soft, shaggy mass.  Knead for 8 to 10 minutes by hand or with a dough hook, dusting in more flour as required to make a soft, elastic dough.

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl.  Place the bowl in a a large plastic bag, seal, and let the dough rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.  Gently deflate the dough.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or if using loaf pans, generously grease either one 12-by-5-inch pan or two 9=by-5-inch pans.

For a braided challah, divide the dough into 3 sections and form it into 3 ropes about 14 inches long.  Make a traditional challah braid.  Place the bread on the prepared baking sheet.  For loaf-style challah, divide the dough into 3 portions.  Shape each piece into a ball and place the balls side by side in the loaf pan.  For two smaller loaves, divide the dough in 4, shape into 4 balls, and place 2 in each loaf pan.  Mix the egg, yolk, and water for the egg wash together.  Brush the loaf (or loaves) with egg wash and sprinkle on the sesame or poppy seeds (I chose not to do this).  Wait for about 10 minutes, then re-glaze with another coating of egg wash.  Insert the loaf pan or baking sheet in a large, clear plastic bag.  Seal the bag, and allow the dough to rise until almost doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Lightly grease a 12- by 5-inch loaf pan.  Divide the dough in 3 or 4 equal sections.  Shape each section into a ball. Place the balls side by side in the prepared loaf pan.  The bread can also be braided and baked free form (this is what you do for the challurkey), on a baking sheet.  Glaze the bread with egg wash twice, sprinkle on the sesame seeds, and place the loaf pan in a large plastic bag.  Let the dough rise until almost flush with the top of the pan (about 45 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Place the bread in the oven and bake until evenly browned, about 30 minutes for a free-form bread; 35 to 45 minutes for a loaf-style bread.  Cool on a rack before slicing.

After about 1 1/2 hours the dough is done and has been refridgerated overnight because I ran out of time yesterday.  Now after having returned to room temperature, I am ready to separate the dough into chunks and begin forming my turkey.  I divided the dough initially into 2 pieces.  Next I made 23 1/2 small balls.  The 1/2 was for the beak.  Using the other half of the dough I formed the belly and the head.  Searching the Internet as well as Pinterest I saw many pictures of how to form the Turkey shape.  I played around with the sizing of the balls, usually pulling from the belly if I needed more.  Below are some of  pictures!  Remember this was my first time ever making challah so I am very proud that I managed to make a Challurkey!

After forming the shape
Glazing twice with egg wash
Gobble Tov!

*my next challah adventure may have to be a pawllah print or a challah dog!

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