To visit our eldest Jewish Client, who is 93 - although we do have an Italian gentleman who is 102 - is such a treat at this time of year. It is the Jewish New Year.
She is a very generous soul, who if you visit on a Friday morning the aromatic smell of baking bread wafts toward the opening elevator doors. Always, a challah in the oven, her flour dusty hands patting her apron as she takes a seat at her kitchen table. Her carer, Rose, ushers me in and offers a cup of tea. Rose is excited as she has just placed in the oven, a round sweet challah, mostly made by her, under the instructions from Becky, our client. Becky is massaging her hands to relieve the pain in her arthritic fingers. Becky explains that one must have a round challah, to usher in the Jewish New Year. It's a tradition she exclaims.
She declares that kneading the bread dough gives her so much pleasure but does make the arthritic pain worse because of this use. Looking around her kitchen, it is filled with aids to assist her, such as a Cool Grip Microwave caddy, easy opening canister set, a scoop plate along with a stopper bowl to help eating with ease. There are many other aids to assist with drinking and food preparation.
I asked Becky how she was coping with her new utensils which we at Care For Family organised for her. She said that not long ago she took eating for granted, when the food didn't get pushed off her plate by the many attempts to get the food on her fork. Now she was managing much better. Becky is able to do more things herself now with these aids and the support of her carer Rose.
The visit almost over, I asked Becky if it was possible to have the recipe for the challah to share with our blog readers, and she said she would be very happy to share it. Below is the sweet challah recipe and we hope it tastes as good as it smells!
What You Need
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water
4 to 4 1/2 cups (20 to 22 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) neutral-flavored vegetable oil
What To Do
In a large bowl, combine eggs, water, oil, and honey. Add yeast and raisins.
Add the flour gradually and then the salt. It’s recommended to leave 1 cup of flour aside and add it, or a part of it, only if necessary.
Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes, until you have a smooth ball that is not sticky. The dough is less airy and less springy than most yeast doughs.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for approximately 11Ž2 hours. (The dough will rise, but will not double in volume).
After the dough has risen, knead it for a few minuets and form the loaves. Place the challahs in a pan, cover, and let them rise again for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
Brush challahs with beaten egg and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until they turn golden brown. Remove the challahs from the oven and from the pan and cool on a wire rack.