Challah Bread…a new recipe!

I love some good Challah Bread. It’s airy, soft, eggy, slightly sweet, and so shiny! Perfect to use for bread pudding, french toast, cheeseburger buns, or toasted with Nutella. My original recipe doesn’t turn out quite as amazing as I’d like, so I’m on the hunt for the ultimate Challah recipe. Today’s recipe comes from my friend Connie H., in NJ, who makes an absolutely beautiful loaf of braided Challah bread.

Here’s what I did…

I whisked the eggs and milk together

I whisked the eggs and oil together, then added the very warm water

in a separate bowl I sifted in the flour...

in a separate bowl I sifted in the flour…

the salt...

the salt…

 the sugar...

the sugar…

and the yeast...

and the yeast…

mixed it all together until it became a smooth and soft dough, then let it rest for 20mins under cover in greased bowl

mixed it all together until it became a smooth and soft dough, then let it rest for 20mins under cover in greased bowl

once it was rested, I rolled into a log, so i could portion out 4 pieces accurately

once it was rested, I rolled into a log, so i could portion out 4 pieces accurately

rolled each portion into even lengths, about 12" long

rolled each portion into even lengths, about 12″ long

Pinch all pieces together at the top

Pinch all pieces together at the top

step 2: cross the centers and go under the outer left and over the outer right

step 2: cross the centers and go under the outer left and over the outer right

step 3: cross the original outer right over the original  outer left.

step 3: cross the original outer right over the original outer left.

step 4: take new outer right and cross over, take new outer right and cross under

step 4: take new outer right and cross over, take new outer right and cross under

step 5: repeat until there is no more space, pinching the bottoms together to seal it and prevent separation.

step 5: repeat until there is no more space, pinching the bottoms together to seal it and prevent separation.

i reserved some of my dough to make burger buns....my favorite!!

i reserved some of my dough to make burger buns….my favorite!!

covered with oil sprayed plastic, and let rise a few hours

covered with oil sprayed plastic, and let rise a few hours

while the oven heated, I brushed the loaf gently with egg wash  and sprinkled with seeds

while the oven heated, I brushed the loaf gently with egg wash and sprinkled with seeds

Viola! I big loaf for french toast and buns for burgers.

Viola! I big loaf for french toast and buns for burgers.

Here’s Connie’s Recipe…

Connie’s Challah Bread

Connie's recipe

Connie’s recipe…enjoy!

Garlic Knots

What’s a girl gonna do with oodles of pizza dough? Make garlic knots of course! Making homemade pizza dough is way easier than it seems. Not as easy as buying from the freezer section of the store, but definitely more rewarding. We eat a lot of pizza (a whole lot) so I figured out a few recipes to incorporate the extra dough, and here is one of them.

Garlic Knots. Bitesize. Addictive. Irresistable.

Here’s what I did…

I combined the yeast, warm water,  and a bit of sugar

I combined the yeast, warm water, and a bit of sugar

I added salt, oil, sugar and 1 cup of flour to make a slurry...the yeast is getting happy

I added salt, oil, sugar and 1 cup of flour to make a slurry…the yeast is getting happy

added the rest of the flour slowly

added the rest of the flour slowly

until it looked like this, just pulled together into a sticky ball

until it looked like this, just pulled together into a sticky ball

consistency of dough should be very "squishy"

consistency of dough should be very “squishy”

after kneading about 5-10 minutes, with lots of throwing it down on the work surface, the dough gets smooth and is still very tender

after kneading about 5-10 minutes, with lots of throwing it down on the work surface, the dough gets smooth and is still very tender

cover and let rise in warm area

cover and let rise in warm area

it grew rapidly

it grew rapidly

and kept growing after I punched it down

and kept growing after I punched it down

the dough...soft as a pillow after rising an hour or more

the dough…soft as a pillow after rising an hour or more

roll out as long as your hand breadth

roll out as long as your hand breadth

tie in a knot

tie in a knot

 a great way to keep little hands busy

a great way to keep little hands busy

ready to go

ready to go

while the knots are cooking, I pull out my olive oil that's been marinating minced garlic

while the knots are cooking, I pull out my olive oil that’s been marinating minced garlic

add some fresh herbs, slat pepper, and more garlic

add some fresh herbs, salt,  pepper, and more garlic

once cooked, they can be dumped in a big bowl

once cooked, they can be dumped in a big bowl

toss them in A LOT of garlic Olive Oil.... A LOT I SAID!

toss them in A LOT of garlic Olive Oil…. A LOT I SAID!

cook for another couple of minutes before eaten so they are fragrant and watm

cook for another couple of minutes before eaten so they are fragrant and watm

Here’s what you’ll need

Garlic Knots

1 c. lukewarm water

1 package fast acting yeast

1 tsp.+  salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 c. (whole wheat flour optional for this 1 cup)

 1.5 – 2 c. flour additional

1/4 c. “good” Olive Oil

8 heads of Garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried parsley

s/p to taste

bake knots at 425º for 5-10 mins

Baking Milestone: Homemade Yeast Donuts

I’ve made donuts at home before. You know, open up the Pillsbury tube, punch a hole through the center of each preformed circle of white “dough” , toss it in oil, roll it in cinnamon sugar. Homemade donuts. But yesterday, I wanted HOMEMADE DONUTS.

I don’t know why I make life so much harder for myself. In the crazy shuffle of loading 3 small children into the car before breakfast on a Saturday morning, to run to the grocery store to get almond milk and strawberries for these homemade strawberry glazed donuts, my wise son of 5 years old says, “Mom, we can just go to dunkin donuts.” Yes. Yes we could. But nonetheless, on we pressed on.

I’m not gonna lie, making homemade donuts is pretty messy and takes way more time than my more than patient children (and I) expected. But the end result was delicious, not so picture perfect, donuts for lunch. (Real mom win there.)

Here’s what I did…

the ingredients

the ingredients

add yeast to warm water with some sugar wake it up

add yeast to warm water with some sugar wake it up

heat milk on the stove on medium

heat milk on the stove on medium

add shortening to the milk and heat until melted

add shortening to the milk and heat until melted

milk and shortening combined and bubbling

milk and shortening combined and bubbling

put sugar and salt in a bowl

put sugar and salt in a bowl

then pour hot milk into on top, stirring until cooled a bit

then pour hot milk on top, stirring until cooled a bit

add sifted flour

add 1 cup sifted flour

add eggs

add eggs

in 5-10 minutes the yeast has started to foam up considerably

in 5-10 minutes the yeast has started to foam up considerably

add yeast to the bowl and stir

add yeast to the bowl and stir

add more flour and mix

add 1 more cup of flour and mix

switched to  my dough hook and added more flour

switched to my dough hook and added 2 more cups of flour

prepped my kneading board with flour

prepped my kneading board with flour

stopped mixing when it looked like this

stopped mixing when it looked like this

turned out the sticky dough  and kneaded in flour until it just was't sticky anymore...maybe 5 minutes

turned out the sticky dough and kneaded in flour until it just was’t sticky anymore…maybe 5 minutes

placed ball of dough in a greased bowl to rise in warm area

placed ball of dough in a greased bowl to rise in warm area

dough doubled in size which took about 1 hour

dough doubled in size which took about 1 hour

turn out dough onto floured surface and just press into a flat piece, 1/2" thick.

turn out dough onto floured surface and just press into a flat piece, 1/2″ thick.

i used a donut cutter to twist donuts out, but a cup and a piping tip would suffice

i used a donut cutter to twist donuts out, but a cup and a piping tip would suffice

I'm starting to get giddy at this point

I’m starting to get giddy at this point

need to rise for another 40 minutes

need to rise for another 40 minutes…p.s. as a helpful tip, let plenty of flour coat the bottom of these babies so they don’t stick and come off easliy

risen but are super fragile! don't handle to much or they'll deflate...very sad

risen but are super fragile! don’t handle to much or they’ll deflate…very sad

fry for 2 minutes per side at 350º. Notice the back one deflated from handling to much

fry for 2 minutes per side at 350º. Notice the back one deflated from handling to much

drain on paper or towels to remove excess oil

drain on paper or towels to remove excess oil.(not the prettiest donut pic I chose to use…oh well)

make a simple glaze with milk, butter and confectioners sugar, and cook unto glossy and smooth

make a simple glaze with milk, butter and confectioners sugar, and cook unto glossy and smooth

coat on all sides

coat on all sides

let excess glaze drip back into the pan

let excess glaze drip back into the pan

fluffy interior and crisp exterior

fluffy interior and crisp exterior

kids got involved with decorating, strawberry glazed is their favorite

kids got involved with decorating, strawberry glazed is their favorite

Here’s what you’ll need…

Yeast Donuts

1/2 c water, warm
2 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 c almond milk or regular milk would work too
1/3 c sugar
1+ tsp salt
4 – 4.5 c all-purpose flour, sifted and added in stages (may not need it all)
1/3 c shortening
2 eggs

GLAZE
1/4 c almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1-1.5 c sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 Tbspn butter is optional

*optional strawberry glaze…chop up 1/2 cup strawberries and add to glaze and cook down to make a puree…add slowly to a bowl of powdered sugar to make a thicker frosting glaze

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Dough for Raviolis

As I was cleaning my kitchen today, and taking stock of the gazillion bags of flour on the shelf, I discovered a small bag of Whole Wheat flour that expires….AHHHH…04.30.2015….That’s next week!!!! Gotta use that puppers up so I figured this week I’d make lots of bread and doughs.

First on the list, pasta dough. “Homemade pastaaaa”…(said in my best Homer Simpson drooly voice) is such a treat to have. My kids are also a big fan of it to. Win. Win.

Here’s what I did…

take all the ingredients and combine in the stand mixer

take all the ingredients and combine in the stand mixer

add some water to bring  it together

add some water to bring it together

mix until its one big lump

mix until its one big lump

knead until smooth and divide into smaller portions to wrap up and let rest

knead until smooth and divide into smaller portions to wrap up and let rest

added the  pasta attachment to the mixer... I'm so spoiled

added the pasta attachment to the mixer… I’m so spoiled

Sorry about not having pictures of rolling out the pasta into sheets, but I hand both hands on deck for that and I could guarantee some epic fails if I tried to get an action shot of that process.

after running the dough through the pasta machine until it reached number 7 (very thin) I lay it on the ravioli form

after running the dough through the pasta machine until it reached number 7 (very thin) I lay it on the ravioli form

brushed the edges with egg wash

brushed the edges with egg wash

fill each section with a 1/2 to 1 tsp. filling...or go for the gold... try tablespoon!

fill each section with a 1/2 to 1 tsp. filling…or go for the gold… try tablespoon!

place another layer of pasta on top

place another layer of pasta on top

use a rolling pin to seal the two layers together and form the individual raviolis

use a rolling pin to seal the two layers together and form the individual raviolis

all pressed together

all pressed together

remove the excess pasta from edges

remove the excess pasta from edges

turn out the raviolis and put in the fridge until ready to cook

turn out the raviolis and put in the fridge until ready to cook

if you run out of filling, like I did, you can use the rest of the pasta dough to make spaghetti. These are dry and bunched in little nests for easy storage until I can cook them.

if you run out of filling, like I did, you can use the rest of the pasta dough to make spaghetti. These are dry and bunched in little nests for easy storage until I can cook them.

At this point you’re free to boil them, or even deep fry them for a different approach. I had so many, I ended up freezing had of them for another time. However you utilize this process, your with whatever you fill them, I hope you enjoy the wonderful texture of homemade pasta, and revel in the fact that you just made that! From scratch!

Here’s what you’ll need…

Homemade Wheat Pasta

2 C. whole wheat flour + some for dusting work surface

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

3 eggs + 1 egg for egg wash

1/4 cup (approximately) water….start with less and add slowly

Combine flour, oil, salt and eggs. slowly add in water until it just pulls it all together. Knead by hand about 10 mins until smooth. Wrap in plastic and let rest at least 1 hr. before rolling out. Keep covered to avoid drying out