This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to winners Danit B. and Chaya L.
I used to be a challah buyer.
In my first six years of my marriage, I don’t think I baked a single challah – a fact of which I’m neither proud nor ashamed. I lived in Israel those first six years, and sticky-sweet challot were plentiful and cheap.
But then we moved to Kansas, where challah costs at least $5 per loaf. I nearly choked on the $15+ we’d spent on challah each week. And so we became challah bakers.
At first, my husband made the challot, but over the last two years, I have taken on this job more and more — until I’ve finally embraced it as “my thing”.
I will admit that sometimes it stresses me out (“Gotta make the
doughnuts challah!”), but I’ve found that mostly I love the process.
Especially the braiding.
I braid five strands, which I know is usual, but I do one strand for each of my three children, plus two more for me and my husband.
It’s such a subtle, yet physical, way to demonstrate love for my family.
When I take that sticky dough in my hands, and shape it into imperfect braids, I become part of a community of challah bakers.
All over the world, there are a multitude of us kneading and rolling and braiding and egg washing, dividing and making brachot.
Whether your flour is white or wheat or spelt; whether you braid with three, or four, or six – or an odd five, like me, challah baking is a fairly universal — and one might argue quintessential — Jewish experience.
Which is why my first reaction to a book called “A Taste of Challah” was … Really? A whole book just about challah?!
But an old friend promised me that this is really a lovely cookbook – plus, he told me (knowing this would sweeten the pot for me), it’s on sale thru May 13th (15% off with free shipping from Feldheim).
He even sent me out a copy of A Taste of Challah by Tamar Ansh last week for my review. My dubiousness gave way to delight – I was was very pleasantly surprised by just how much I liked this book.
There is an extensive section dedicated to the myriad ways to braid challot. I loved the napkin rings and wine holders. And the basket weave was incredible — for the patient baker, I think it could be gorgeous for your Shavuot table. (A simpler choice would be flower-shaped challot, which she also features in her book.)
You will also find a dozen or so new challah recipes, from traditional to honey wheat to gluten-free. The last section of the book has a number of dips which look very yummy, plus non-challah breads, both yeast and non-yeast.
Interspersed throughout the recipes and braiding tips are personal stories from different women about their experiences with baking challah.
First published in 2007, this most recent printing of A Taste of Challah is truly a lovely book – and I think it would make a great gift for any woman, whether she’s just starting to bake her own challah, or she’s a pro with decades of experience.
Thru May 13, you can buy A Taste of Challah for $29.74, with free media shipping from Feldheim.com.
And thru May 12th, you can enter to win one of two copies that I am giving away!
To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me whether you are a baker or a buyer. And if you bake, I’d love to know how many strands you typically braid.
This giveaway is open only to residents of the United States who are 18 or older. Entries will be accepted until Sunday, May 12th at 11:59 p.m. CST. The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email immediately. He or she will have 48 hours to respond. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of “A Taste of Challah” to facilitate my review; Feldheim Books will also provide the winner of this contest with his or her cookbook. I m an affiliate of Feldheim.com, however I was not compensated for hosting this giveaway nor for sharing my (positive) opinions. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations. And also because I want you to know.