The Jew And The Carrot

The Ecology of Challah Baking

By Tanya Tolchin

Flickr: Canadian Starhawk

Most Fridays, I bake two loaves of challah for Shabbat dinner. Sometimes I have no other plans for dinner beyond the challah, and I scramble to add something to complete the meal. I use a standard recipe, which varies weekly based on how much whole wheat flour I add, whether there are raisins on hand and how much time there is to let the dough rise. The loaves are always slightly different, even between the two loaves on the same week there is often variation, one dough compliant and neatly braided, the second straining against the twists and curves.

These days I bake with my nearly four year old son, my 14 month old daughter watching from her baby carrier or toddling around on the floor. My son loves the routine. He can turn on the mixer, add ingredients and even break the eggs. He can sense when more flour is needed and when the dough is the right consistency to be left alone to rise. He has even developed a magic word — geech — he likes to shout to help the dough rise.

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