Monday, September 20, 2010

Holiday Bread

I have to confess that my list of things I want to make is getting longer and longer by the minute. I just keep finding things out there that I want to try and make. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone...make something from my list and make something that goes well with the Jewish holidays...Raisin Challah.

I actually wanted to make a different recipe at first but I only had two eggs left and most called for at least 3 in the recipes. This one did call for 3 but the third one was sort of optional.

Raisin Challah
King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup lukewarm water
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

4 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

5 teaspoons instant yeast

1 1/2 cups golden raisins, packed


1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water

2 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
, optional


1) To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients except the raisins, and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, fairly smooth dough.

2) Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 2 hours, or until it's puffy though probably not doubled in bulk.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and knead in the raisins.

4) Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan.

5) Roll the dough into a 30" to 36" rope. If it shrinks back, walk away and leave it alone for 10 minutes, then resume rolling. The longer the rope the more distinct the spiral, but if it isn't exactly 36" long, don't stress; just get as close as you can.

6) Coil the rope into the prepared pan, starting in the center.

7) Cover the challah gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for about 60 to 90 minutes, until it's puffy and pretty much fills the pan.

8) Near the end of the bread's rise, preheat the oven to 375°F.

9) Whisk together the egg and water. Brush the risen dough with the egg mixture. Sprinkle with coarse white sugar, if desired.

10) Bake the bread for 20 minutes, tent it with foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F.

11) Remove the bread from the oven, and after a minute or so carefully transfer it to a rack. Cool the bread to lukewarm before cutting it.

The suggested glaze, made with a whole egg and water, makes the bread's crust deep-brown and shiny. for a lighter brown (but still shiny) crust, use a glaze made of egg white and water. For a lighter-brown, matte crust, dispense with the glaze altogether.

Review: I used my bread machine and left it in there for the two hour first rise. It was almost too big for that but I didn't have a problem in the end. I felt like I didn't knead the raisins in right but I got them into the dough. It was also really hard to roll into the 30" - 36" rope and you needed to let it sit for 10 minutes so it was easier to work with. I liked the taste of this bread and I think I would make it again. To me it seemed like it would be the perfect bread to make french toast with if there were any leftovers....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Easy Appetizer - Olive Puffs

I have to say our Friday night fun nights have generated a lot of experimenting for me with appetizer type recipes. This one came about because I was trying to make Samosas and bought the wrong dough. The recipe calls for phyllo dough and I bought puff pastry.

I had to find something to do with the puff pastry dough because even though I had it in the freezer and it would have kept for a while it was calling my name. The other thing I couldn't get off my mind was that olive appetizer from our anniversary dinner at
Amici's. So my search was on for something to make with olives.

This is the one I found which hopefully would have satisfy my olive craving and a bonus it also would use up my puff pastry dough.

Olive Puffs

24 pimento stuffed green olives
1 package puff pastry dough, defrosted

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2) Cut pastry into strips about 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Wrap a belt of pastry around each olive. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

3) Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Review: It can't get any easier then 2 ingredients if you ask me. Also I made then a little bit ahead of time, put them in the refrigerator and baked closer to serving time. I recommend you letting them cool off a little bit before serving them. The olives in the were supper hot just out of the oven and once cooled down it was easier to eat. Next time I make these I make splurge and buy the Gorgonzola stuff olives I saw at the supermarket olive bar and use those which might make them more like the olive appetizer I was craving. This one is a keeper!


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