43 Comments

    • Thank you! I’m pretty proud of this one. There is so much symbolism in the food of Judaism. It’s almost overwhelming. Jovina has a great post on it.

  1. Excellent – it sounds like you are turning into a regular Jeffrey Steingarten! You’ll need a copy of “McGee on Food and Cooking”. The Challah looks delicious 😉

  2. Your challah looks gorgeous. I have made challah many times, but not a whole wheat version. I will have to give this version a try. I bet your loaf had lots of flavor. Bread baking is very rewarding.

    • I hear you completely. It really is so rewarding in a way regular meals just don’t give. Maybe it’s the patience, steps, science. Id love to try your challah! The whole wheat definitely changes the flavor but it’s only a fraction of the flour so it’s not overwhelming.

  3. Hard to believe this is your first round with yeast bread–amazing! Love your pondering, too. Always good to strive to be a better person, though I admit to sometimes just want to get through a day maintaining status quo. Appreciate your inspiration much. Beautiful as always.

    • I’ll take that admission. Me too. This time of year, I strive for better, but on a day to day basis, I find myself wishing other people would try harder. So glad I made this. Definitely a first round, but not a last round.

  4. Amanda I’m sure you’ll have no problem being a better you as I imagine you are already a fantastic person and would succeed in everything you set your mind to.,,, like this beautiful bread! I have to say I was briefly in New York for a few days only with Mr H, I was going to see if I could contact you but we had the most crazy time of absolutely not being able to stop, just jumped up, had breakfast in this great cafe nearby and then walk walk walk walk until we dropped with no time for anything and not enough time for all we wanted. What an amazing city! xxx

    • Thank you so much, Sofia. You’re too kind. New York is like that. I’m never offended when people come and don’t see me, including family, because NYC has a way of sucking you in like that. And you have so much fun with the person you’re with you almost don’t want to wait around for someone to join you. It’s a blast. Next time! Or I’m coming to Espana!!! Un beso. xo

      • Sorry, it was my first time there and it really does suck you in! Believe me my feet were so tired haha! Maybe in Spain we could be a bit more relaxed! un beso

    • Thanks, Stacey. I do find that there’s something powerful about engaging in the kitchen and at the gym. It’s a sense of creation/self-worth that really is precious.

  5. Is it really your first experiment with yeast and bread baking? You did really well, Amanda! Bravo. I bet it won’t be the last time you do so, especially since it sounds like you enjoyed the whole process. I am no specialist but I definitely enjoy making stuff with yeast and seeing it change, live, evolve.
    Your challah looks really delicious, I knew nothing about the symbolism of the shapes so thanks for the story. I’ve never eaten challah in my entire life!

  6. Let’s submit this as a prelude to our life dissertation, shall we? I love this post. The bread turned out beautifully as well, and indeed you are in good hands with Ruhlman and Ngan. I swear there will be fingernail marks on my coffin, as I do not depart, welcome or let go of anything easily! Only when I am physically beaten into submission through a nice run, cooking or kneading session, etc. I love the shape of your challah and isn’t it interesting what a durable dough it is? Nothing like sourdough that is like a finicky cat . . . .I love brioche and challah because they are so forgiving.

    • It sounds like you’ve got some decent baking experience (and I’ve seen some of it on your blog as you make your way through Huckleberry). Thanks for the compliments. I really seem to be very much like you. It takes time for me to adjust. Working out and cooking are seriously the things that keep me sane these days. It used to be music and still is to an extent, but the physical is really what helps. If this weren’t a forgiving dough, I don’t think it would have come out as well. It was fluffy, not hard and forgiving of my inexpert touch. We’ll just keep at it.

  7. Your challah looks stunning, Amanda! The photographs are gorgeous and scream deliciousness loud and clear. Exactly like food should look like!
    All our closest friends in the US are Jewish. We get invited to celebrate their holidays and we invite them to celebrate ours. Over the years, we learned to understand and appreciate your traditions and symbolism. There is something uniquely poetic about your culture. Next time I see my friends, I’m going to reprimand them: they never get me try challah and I want it, I want it, I want it!!! 😉

  8. Bravo, Amanda!:) bread looks delicious (and I wish I had it for tomorrow breakfast:D)! And want to mention the photo with window, it’s charming; the window into a big world! 😉
    Have a lovely week! ❤️

    • Thanks so much. I like the idea of the window into the big world. It’s very true. That’s my bedroom actually. So funny. Have a great week too. Thanks for your sweet comment.

  9. I love that: “more than myself, a better version of myself.” I keep meaning to ask the resident bread baker (Steve) to tackle challah again. (Oh, the grilled cheese sandwiches…) You’ve managed to make even raw bread dough look fabulous!

  10. Wonderful post and wonderful Challah, Amanda 🙂 I’m amazed by your first experience with yeast, flour and the rest, a great, great job. The smell of the bread is unique in the house and I hope you will continue to try more recipes 🙂

    • Thank you. I sure will continue. Your last few posts have been inspiring me to try different types from different places. It is a unique experience and smell and well worth it. Kind of like making your own pasta. Thanks for the encouragement.

  11. Wow, Amanda, I’m in total awe with this challah, all that research you undertook and all the headache you went through. But obviously it was worth the effort!!! Yeast doughs are a total whole world. I did learn a lot from your personal experience and now I’m raving about making some challah bread myself some time…
    PS I just loved that vintage hand mixer <3

    • Thank you! It was a learning expedience and well worth it. So glad you’re inspired since you’re a master at your craft! The hand mixer was my grandma’s. She just gave it to me and I was so excited. I don’t have a kitchenaid, but I do have an egg beater. This is way cooler. It helped a lot when I made mayonnaise!

  12. Wait wait wait wait wait. This is your FIRST time making bread? Seriously? But that’s not possible … This looks amazing and like you’ve been doing it for years! But after all your research you deserve to get it perfect so well done 😀 What are you going to bake next?

    • Aw thanks so much! You’re too sweet. I was thinking next I’d try either a sour dough loaf or a no knead recipe! I’m intrigued. The last thing I need is to start eating tons of bread. But it’s such a wonderful thing! 🙂

  13. Beautiful challah loaf, Amanda! It looks delicious and eggy! Have you made the challah French toast yet? I can almost taste it just thinking about it. I love how you deconstruct the science behind the eggs and the gluten. Fun stuff to know, though I no longer make bread because the hubby doesn’t eat bread anymore. I would make challah for myself, but there’s some element of torture to make him smell it while it’s baking and watch me eat it, isn’t there? Happy New Year (a bit belatedly)!

    • Ha! Thanks, Ngan. I don’t eat a ton of bread either, though now I may have to start. I did make the French toast with orange zest, cinnamon and cardamom. So good. Gluten coma. Will repeat. ; ) thank you for your encouragement!

  14. Oh, I love this…. and I remember my first time not only baking…but experimenting with bread. It’s such a rewarding experience, isn’t it? I’m bookmarking this recipe…I love challah..and now you have me wanting to make this, so that I can cut it thick, and dip it in eggs to make a lovely French toast. Lovely post. Beautiful photos. <3

    • This recipe is actually really good. I’m so glad you liked it. Yes my first baking experience was pretty recently and bread is SO rewarding. I made a french toast with it and it was so good. I need to be careful. I can’t be eating bread and challah all the time! I have my girlish good looks to care for!

  15. Such a lovely post, Amanda – it is indeed a time for welcoming and letting go. I really enjoyed every word, and I appreciate all the food science you shared, as well. So cool. You baked some gorgeous challahs! What a wonderful and significant way to begin the New Year. Wishing you a belated Shana Tova and a sweet, delicious year ahead!

    • Thank you so much, Hannah. So nice to see you here. Lshana tova to you too, though today I’m looking for a sukkah! I really appreciate your kind words. Xo

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