For our first installment of WBT@Home Recipe Spotlight, we are delighted to feature Saida Staudenmeier and her son Otto, who became a Bar Mitzvah last weekend.
Saida and Otto are foodies who aren't afraid to put their culinary skills to the test. Saida even shares how in many cases when Otto is bored, he spends hours on Yelp reading restaurant reviews and checking out pictures of decadent dishes.
They often talked about making challah for Shabbat, but their busy schedules got in the way. That quickly changed when quarantine began, and this special mother-son ritual is now part of their Friday afternoons.
-2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
-1 cup warm water
-1/3 cup sugar
-4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour or 5 1/2 to 6 cups bleached all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup peanut corn or canola oil
-2 teaspoons salt
-1 cup dark chocolate chips
-I cup sliced almonds (topping)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixer, with a dough hook attachment, add yeast and warm water and mix until blended. Add sugar and mix for about a minute. Slowly mix in 1 cup of the flour until combined.
3. Mix the eggs one at a time until they are combined. Add another 2 cups of the flour, oil, and salt. Mix together on medium-low speed stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Slowly add the remaining four cups of flour and mix until combined. Stop the machine as you add each cup of the flour to scrape the sides of the bowl and incorporate the flour. Mix on low speed for 12 minutes until the dough is incorporated. Make sure to give your mixer a break to avoid burning it down. If needed, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
5. Take the dough out of mixer bowl, knead in the chocolate chips.
6. Form the dough into a bowl and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1/2 hours).
7. Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, and allow it to rest with plastic wrap on it for 5-10 minutes.
8. Roll each dough ball into long pieces and braid 3 strands together to form a loaf. Repeat with the other 3 strands. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for about 45 minutes to an hour.
9. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash and sprinkle sliced almonds.
10. Bake the challah for 35-40 minutes and be sure to check at about 30 minutes to see how it's doing, since oven temperatures vary. The bread should be golden brown when ready.
**Notes from Otto and Saida:
• Otto is not a fan of nuts so instead, he and Saida sprinkle the challah with cinnamon for extra flavoring!
• Their dough hook went missing a few years ago, so they make the bread by hand, including kneading!