The Jew And The Carrot

Yid.Dish: Mediterranean Challah

By Miriam Krule

  • Print
  • Share Share

Growing up, each member of my family entered our neighborhood ice creamery’s annual, yet now defunct “create your own ice cream flavor” contest. We never won – all of our creations seemed to feature Cheerios prominently – but it sparked some creativity in the kitchen.

So, when I learned to bake challah several years ago, it seemed only natural to start experimenting challah flavors as well – in this case, fortunately, there were no Cheerios involved. I started out with the classics like cinnamon raisin and progressed to the less-classic, but more decadent, chocolate chip. To satisfy my family’s deep love for all things garlic, my sister and I concocted a sautéed garlic challah that didn’t quite work out (it left us with terrible breath until the next shabbos dinner).

But, the best recipe, by far was my father’s idea: a challah baked with sundried tomatoes, black olives, and fresh basil. What we now fondly call “Mediterranean Challah” has become a family staple, which is perfect for a festive and flavorful accompaniment to a shabbos meal in the sukkah this week. The recipe I use makes six loaves – though it can easily be halved. The loaves also freeze well.

Mediterranean Challah
Makes 6 loaves
3 packets of active dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
3 eggs (2 for the dough, 1 to coat before baking)
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ tablespoon salt
½ cup honey
12 cups of flour (I use 6 cups whole wheat and 6 cups white flour, but you can make it any combination or all white flour, just don’t do all whole wheat because it makes the challah too dense and difficult to knead)
5-10 sun dried tomatoes (Ones soaked in olive oil are best, but dry ones work also)
¼ cup black olives
Large handful of fresh basil

1) Pour warm water into yeast and wait about 3 minutes.

2) Mix sugar into the liquid and let sit for another minutes, and then add oil honey and salt.

3) Slightly whip the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the liquid mixture.

4) Add 3 cups of flour at a time to the liquid mix, stirring after each set of cups.

5) As you add the last few cups, begin to knead with your hands. Bring the dough ball to the table and knead.

6) Let sit for 5 minutes, and then knead till dough is soft and smooth. Cover with a slightly damp and oiled cloth. Let rise for 2-4 hours.

7) While dough is rising, finely chop the sun dried tomatoes, black olives, and basil.

8) After the dough has risen, smash down the ball and add the Mediterranean ingredients as you knead. After they are thoroughly mixed in, separate the dough into 6 smaller balls.

9) Everyone has their own way of braiding challah, so at this point you should braid the challah. (I like to roll each ball into two separate ropes and do a braid with two strands and braid up, but your own variations will work well too).

10) Use the remaining egg to make an egg wash by mixing the egg in a bowl and brush over the braided loaves. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375 (time and temperature vary with each oven.)


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sun-dried Tomato, Olive, Challah, Basil

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.