Corrected Challah Recipe! (Challah and parashat Emor)

Priestly Vestments – by Laya Crust

This week’s parsha details what is expected of the Priests including ritual purity, marriages, funerals, and other duties. The prophet Ezekiel echoes much of the information in this week’s haftarah.

The Torah reading refers to ceremonial bread twice. For Shavuoth it says, “You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering; each shall be made of two-tenths of choice flour, baked after leavening, as first fruits to HaShem.” (Leviticus 23:17) Later in the reading we read about twelve loaves of bread that were to be baked each week. “You shall take choice flour and bake of it twelve loaves, two-tenths of a measure for each loaf. Place them on the pure table before the LORD in two rows, six to a row…He shall arrange them before the LORD regularly every sabbath day—it is a commitment for all time on the part of the Israelites.” (Leviticus 24:5, 6, 8)

Sacred Vessels- Laya Crust (Golden vessels from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, including the platform for the twelve loaves. Based on a medieval Spanish illumination from 1299 Perpignan, Aragon.)

As a Jewish woman who regularly bakes challah it was beautiful to read these texts and connect our modern weekly Shabbat practices with our biblical text. There are many recipes for challah, and there are interesting traditions about the shape of challahs for different holidays and celebrations like the “shissel challah” after Pesach, the “ladder challah”, the “hand challah” and more.

I’m including a classic challah recipe from Carole Cohen in Skokie, Illinois that you may enjoy.

Carole’s Challah ………………………………yield: 2 challahs

1 pckg. of yeast…………………………………..1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup warm water …………………………..1 tablespoon salad oil

5 cups flour ………………………………………..1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon salt ……………………………………~ 1/2 cups warm water

Soften the yeast in 3/4 cup warm water- it should start “bubbling”. Sift together dry ingredients. Add oil. Add softened yeast and beaten egg. Mix thoroughly, adding 11/2 cups of warm water for smoothe kneading. Knead well. Place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let stand until it rises. Knead again. Cover, let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Divide dough in half. Then divide each ball into three pieces, roll into strips, and braid. Place on a large cookie sheet or pan (covered with parchment paper if desired) untill doubled in bulk. Just before baking, brush with diluted egg yolk. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. Bake at 350o F until golden brown, 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Below is a delightful youtube video. Einat ben Ari demonstrates different ways to braid decorative challahs.

Besides dealing with the sacrifices, cooking the offerings, and presenting the loaves, we read that Aaron the High Priest was responsible for the Tabernacle and for the ceremonial lighting of the lamps: “Aaron shall set them [the eternal light] up in the Tent of Meeting outside the curtain of the Pact [to burn] from evening to morning before the Lord regularly; it is a law for all time throughout the ages.” (Leviticus 24:3). On Friday nights we turn our home into a place honouring Gd and our traditions. We carry on, in our own small world, the sanctity of the Shabbat candles, the Shabbat bread, and Shabbat observance.

Have a safe, healthy, and relaxing Shabbat- with delicious challah.

and one more from “Jewlish”

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