It all began with challah-an onion lover’s challah. I think I was 20-ooh-I was really 20-once. But back to that challah and the person that baked it with me, my grandfather’s new wife’s daughter-in –law. (What a mouthful.) When you want to get to know someone one way to really get to know them is to cook, and boy did we. I learned about her and she about me and together we made something that wasn’t just food. It was friendship and I only wish we were closer that we could do it again. That day in that knotty pine, tiny kitchen was special- not just because it produced this heavenly smelling bread but because it left a warm memory that will never be forgotten.
For me it is a new year and it is fitting that I start a new blog with a challah. I’m choosing to think of this as a “challah of friendship” or you may think of it as a gift from me to you. So, get ready, you too, can make your own memory. This is super easy-you don’t even have to knead it. Get out your mixer, gather your friends, pour a glass of wine and start baking.
And for future reference, I take requests. If there is a recipe you haven’t tried or want me to try, let me know. My plan is to make this a compilation of all that is good to eat. And this is also for my kids-finally a place they can go when they want the recipe I made many moons ago or maybe just yesterday. This is my recipe box that I am opening just for you. And hopefully it will also contain stories-good stories-for good food should contain good thoughts. Right? It tastes better that way. And one more thing—This IS how I cook.
Onion Lovers Twist (Enid Hayum)
1 pkg active dry yeast
¼ c hot water (when it is hot-but not so you burn yourself)
4 c unsifted flour
¼ c sugar
1 1/2t salt
1/2c hot water
½ c milk
¼ c butter or margarine, softened
¼ c butter or margarine melted
1 c finely chopped onion
1T grated parmesan
1T poppy or sesame seeds
1 t garlic salt
1 t paprika
In large mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in hot water. Add 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, hot water, milk, butter or margarine, and egg. Blend at low speed until moist and then beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Slowly add remaining flour until mixture forms a ball around beater. Form into ball and place in buttered clean bowl and cover with a clean towel. Place in warm spot to rise for about 45-90 minutes. (Tip-you can preheat your oven to lowest setting and the turn it off. Place dough inside oven with oven door cracked. This makes for a nice rising.) Dough is ready to be shaped when you put two fingers into it and the imprints remain.
While dough is rising combine filling ingredients.
Turn out on to floured surface and knead gently until no longer sticky. Roll out to 12×18 rectangle. (Do not be afraid of this step. It is really easy. You have to trust me.) Spread filling on surface and roll up lengthwise. (You could cut this into three strips and then seal each strip. Then you get to braid it. I prefer to use the babka twisting method which may not be as pretty but is a bit quicker.) Then pick up the one big strip and twist it two turns. Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise again until doubled-about 45-60 minutes.
Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until you rap the bread with a wooden spoon and it sounds hollow. Really. Makes one large or 2 smaller challahs. Good warm or at room temp.