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Digital Scrapbooking Layout: Our Weekly Challah

How did I end up with such a backlog of layouts? I haven't a clue. Here's yet another one that's been hiding out in my "layouts to blog" folder.


I’ve been baking our own challah every Friday for a while now. I started partly because I wanted to do something special for Shabbat and also because I love the smell of freshly baked bread that seeps into every corner of the house on baking day. I am constantly in awe of bread - that something-from-nothing/the-sum-is-greater-than-the-parts miracle - and the fresh challah that I bake is better than anything that I can buy at any of the stores nearby. This recipe makes two loaves, which almost guarantees that we will have challah french toast on Saturday morning (if the kids would rather have pancakes then I freeze one loaf for the next week). We came across this recipe a few years ago when Jessica was still in preschool and we were invited to Rob and Janice Shankman’s house for Shabbat dinner. They served this bread with dinner and it was the best challah Mike and I had ever tasted. We told Janice this and asked her for the recipe and she generously sent us a photocopy of it. The recipe is called Sponge-Starter Challah from Marcy Goldman’s Jewish Holiday Baking cookbook. Goldman’s cookbook has many recipes for challah in it but this is the only one I’ve made so far. I’ve tried various recipes from other sources just to see if another baker has a better recipe but I always come back to this one. It’s simply the BEST and our family’s FAVORITE! In my blog readings, I saw that King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Banter blog posted their challah recipe with their tantalizing step-by-step photos that make me want to run right off and bake whatever it is they are discussing. So that week I opted to swap out our usual for theirs since I love their cookbooks, their Baker’s Hotline, respect their company and recipes, and only use KA flour. But we didn’t really like the way the baked loaf turned out. Also, I recently joined a group of recipe testers for Peter Reinhart’s new book coming out that is about baking breads using a delayed fermentation method. Since I’ve had so much success with his recipes in the past I had to test the challah recipe that he’s putting together for the book. Oh, and did I mention that he’s made me look like a rock star of bread in my house with his onion cheese bread? So I felt that I HAD to try it. Sadly, it didn’t measure up to our prized challah recipe either (it tasted too sour, which is an unwelcome taste in this kind of bread). So now I’ve promised Mike and the kids that I will make our standard challah for a while without any experimenting (I’ll save the recipe testing for other breads!). Of course I have managed to tinker with THIS recipe, with MUCH success, and have slowly increased the nutritional content by using a total of half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I think we’ll hold it steady at this percentage for a while... but eventually I am going to try for a 100% whole wheat challah. March 2009

Credits: red background paper, red file folder label, main photo frame, and file folder shape from Rhonna Farrer; file folder paper and glitter trim by Jen Wilson

Font: Apple Garamond