Tag Archives: Challah

Detox Butternut Squash Soup with Wheat Challah

22 Oct


We  spent the weekend in beautiful rural mid-Ohio (is that a thing?) at a really fun and beautiful wedding which took place on a farm and encouraged camping. Since we didn’t get the chance to camp this Summer we were determined to spend the night in the great outdoors, no matter how drunk it was or cold we were (guess what, sleeping outside in a non-properly set up tent during the first frost of the year on a 80% inflated air mattress ISN’T the most comfortable way to spend your night, also if you’re…um..”dehydrated”). Fast forward to Sunday morning while we’re starting our 4 hour trip back to Michigan (where everything makes sense and the speed limits don’t dip below 70!) with both our phones dead–and our souls not too far behind–and a chill deep DEEP into the bone, I knew a warm, comforting and HEALTHY meal was in order…and I knew it had to involve squash because hey, tis the season. I came across this little gem

{ Roasted Butternut Squash, Carrot, and Ginger Soup – With Style and Grace }

Well if I’m going to make soup, I need something to dip in it, right? I have been hankering for some good homemade Challah (everyone’s favorite jew-flavored bread)

{ Ima’s Challah – Food52 }

I love making bread (especially Challah) on a lazy Sunday because you start it in the morning or afternoon, forget about it for a couple hours, come back and BOOM it’s twice the size and you feel as though you have created life…LIFE! And who doesn’t like braiding dough? I used a blend of white and wheat flour (side note: I prefer wheat flour for the nice chewy texture and the health benefits, but white flour is just better for certain breads, especially when you want that silky texture, and subbing wheat for white doesn’t always translate in the recipe, I’ve learn the hard way. Anyhoo, I only had 1.5 Cups left in my white flour bag, hence the “blend”, I was nervous to say the least) and I saw some sesame seeds sitting up on the spice shelf screaming “C’MON MAN, JUST SPRINKLE ME ON TOP, C’MONNNNNN” so sprinkle I did. This yielded 2 loaves (we smashed through one of them in about an hour, so I decided it was best to give away part of the second one because no one needs a full loaf of bread in 24 hours).

The white and wheat blend of flour was PERFECT. There is a good dose of honey in the dough which lends the perfect hint of sweetness. I must say, this is one of my favorite recipes I’ve ever used for this Jew-tastic bread!



Meanwhile, while all this is happening (mainly the waiting and rising dough) make dat soup. I personally am not a fan of the overly sweet and over dairy-ed squash soups (better than saying “overly creamed”). I usually like to toss a roasted apple in, but with the ginger I decided to add a can of coconut milk to add that extra creaminess without the use of dairy. I also made the executive decision to add some braised kale and white beans for some extra “detoxiness” to the soup. I was met with delicious results.


Inspired by { Roasted Butternut Squash, Carrot, and Ginger Soup – With Style and Grace }

  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash – Peeled, seeded and cubed (1/4″ dice)
  • 5 Large Carrots – Peeled and cubed (1/4″ dice)
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion – Small dice
  • 5 Cloves Garlic – Minced
  • 1 “thumb” size piece Ginger – Peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 3 lb Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Can Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 Head Kale – chopped small
  • 1 Can white beans – drained and rinsed
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Toss carrots and squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread out over 2 baking sheets with tin foil. Roast for 40-45 minutes (stir and rotate pans halfway through cooking).
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and cook until soft (about 3 minutes), add garlic, ginger and nutmeg and cook for additional 4 minutes until onions are translucent and cooked through. Add roasted squash/carrots and vegetable stock, bring to a boil then turn down heat to simmer for 20-25 minutes uncovered.
  4. Add coconut milk to soup and use an immersion blender to blend  about 85% of the soup (I personally like a few vegetable chunks here and there, it’s up to you)
  5. Meanwhile blanche the kale in boiling water for about 3 minutes to soften and take some of the natural bitter bite out and transfer right into blended soup. Add the beans. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the beans are soft.


{ Ima’s Challah – Food52 }

  • 1 1/2cup warm water, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 Packet instant Yeast
  • 6 cups flour — 1.5 white, 4.5 wheat
  • 2 teaspoons salt plus more for sprinkling on crust
  • 1/4 cup mild honey, plus an extra tablespoon for eggwash, if desired
  • 2/3 cups flavorless vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 eggs, plus one yolk for eggwash, if desired
  • Sesame seeds
  1. Put 1 cup warm water in a small bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, sprinkle the yeast over top, swirl the bowl just to combine, and leave it to proof for five minutes.
  2. While yeast is proofing, mix flour, salt, 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.) Stir to incorporate or blend on low speed.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix remaining water, honey, oil, and eggs.
  4. When yeast has finished proofing, add it to the flour, immediately followed by wet ingredients. Mix with a large wooden spoon or on medium-low speed in the mixer, just until combined, about 30 seconds.
  5. Switch to dough hook and begin to knead on low speed, making sure to incorporate what’s at the bottom of the bowl if the dough hook misses it. If kneading by hand, stir using spoon until dough becomes to thick to stir. Empty dough onto well-floured surface and knead by hand. Knead dough until smooth and no longer sticky, adding flour with a light hand as needed, 7-10 minutes.
  6. Split the dough into two equal pieces. Set each in a large oiled bowl, cover both bowls with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. If using white flour, this should take about 2-2.5 hours. If using white whole wheat, it will take closer to 3.5 or 4. Feel free to let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight instead; if you do this, be sure to set out the dough in plenty of time before shaping, so it can come to room temperature.
  7. Preheat oven to 375.
  8. After the rise, the dough should be soft and pliable. Separate each mound of dough into three equal balls, for a total of six. Roll each ball into a log almost 1-foot long. Braid the logs together to create your loaf. For the nicest-looking braid, do not pinch the top edges of your logs together before braiding; simply place one log over the next and braid until you reach the bottom, then pinch those edges together. Then, flip the unfinished loaf the long way, so that the unfinished edge is now at the bottom and the loaf has been flipped over and upside down. Finish braiding and pinch these edges together. This way, both ends look identical. Tuck the very tips beneath the loaf when braiding is finished. Repeat with second loaf.
  9. Put each loaf on its own parchment-lined baking sheet. If using eggwash, mix yolk with a 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon honey. Brush over loaves. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes, until challot are golden and baked through

…And Moses Said Onto Thee “Let There Be Sephardic Bread and Beet Normandy”

26 Mar

I’ve had quite the week. My birthday was last week (March 19) and since then I’ve had about 50 different celebrations. After this week of non-blogging and ruining my body from the inside out (particularly my liver), I’m ready to get back in the kitchen and nurse myself back to health. (Sidenote: John got me tickets to Book of Mormon in Detroit for my birthday, and it was literally the most entraining 2.5 hours of my life)

And hey, not only is it Passover, but it’s Oberon day! Being from Kalamazoo, Bell’s Oberon release day is somewhat of a city-wide holiday. Want to know more about Oberon? Check our A2GastroBoy’s post last week about this sun nectar. I vowed to take a week off of drinking, until I was honest with myself, so hey, I’ll catch up with that wagon eventually. But back to my Jewish roots. What to make for Passover? I didn’t have time to execute a soup (of the Matzoh-Ball persuasion), and I didn’t want to purchase a big ol’hunk of meat (Brisket) so let’s go a different route: Gefilte Fish? Well, not exactly, but a fish terrine seems to fit the bill. Pair that with a raw beet tartare, and throw in a new recipe for Challah, I’d say you’ve got yourself quite the meal.


{ Martha Stewart – Halibut and Salmon Terrine }

{ Food&Wine – Jessamyn’s Sephardic Challah }

{ Mark Bitman – Beet Tartare }

*Deep Breath* Let’s do this thing. Let’s start with the bread since there are about 4 steps that involve letting it rest and rise (great, it only bakes for 30 minutes…oh, that’s AFTER it rises for about 2.5 hours, splendid). Now, I’m no stranger to the Challah-d Arts, but this recipe really intrigued me. No eggs in the dough, toasted sesame seeds, and savory spices? I’m in. You Sephardic Jews are alright in my book.


Working on this bread made me thirst for the day I get a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.


Doesn’t it hurt your arm just looking at it?? For this dough it called for proofing the yeast in about 2 Tbs of warm water while you mixed the other ingredients together, and then you add the yeast mixture. Well since I DON’T have a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer, I like to do a little mixing in the bowl, then transfer everything to a flat surface and just mix it by hand. When you’re adding liquid to a kind-of-already-formed dough ball on a flat surface, a lot of it just pours off and starts to roll across said flat surface. And a lot of times this causes one to freak out since the yeast is the best part of bread (perhaps this is where my beer love comes from?). After frantic scooping and the addition of some more flour, our dough came together. This recipe calls for Bread Flour, and since I have tons of All Purpose flour, I decided to keep my money, and obsessively look up what the difference is online. The answer: gluten content. Bread flour will give you a denser dough, but do you know what kneading does? It forms the gluten particles together, so by giving a good old fashioned knead-down, you’re setting yourself up for some (hopefully) great bread. But enough of that, it’s part 1 of it’s 2.5 hour nap.

It’s Fish time now. I decided to make this because it’s not quite Gefilte fish (which I’ve never had a good one of, I’m sure it exists, and I like both pickled things and fish, but yikes, not this pickled-hamburger-fish monstrosity that is served to the chosen people), but still fits in with the theme. And who doesn’t want a fish meatloaf on a Monday?

To begin we need to chop up carrots and Parsnips. Have you ever noticed how phallic parsnips are? Because holy-jewish-holiday they are. And as I peeled these long pale bad boys, I felt I was performing another Jewish tradition: The Bris.

5_Seinfeld_Bris Parsnip


Tee Hee Hee [sorry]. Anyhoo, after you have your root veggies cut and some onions sautéed, you want to mash up Salmon and Halibut in a food processor, which just kind of feels wrong. 2 Beautiful pieces of fish, ripped into a strange chunky fish paste. Hm.



So at this point you mix the veggies, fish paste, and all the other ingredients to make a fishloaf (I’m ashamed to admit that I used Panko breadcrumbs for the matzo meal since I didn’t want to buy it. What kind of Goyum have I become?), push it into a pan, put that pan into a bigger pan, and fill the bigger pan with water. And now we cook.FishMixture



While it’s cooking, let’s check on our bread.

DoughBallAwwww yeahhhh. When I poured it out of it’s napping bowl, it landed with a sound that was a mixture of shunk and thud {thunk? shut?}. We cut it in half and wait, roll it out and wait, roll it out again and coil it up.

DoughRollAnd now we’re just about read to bak–damnit it needs to rest for another hour?? Ok, well let’s check on the fishloaf.

TerrineThat’s right, it was too big for any of my plates, it had to rest on my cutting board. That looks tasty….well, it SMELLS tasty at least. And hey, I can nibble on this while I’m waiting for the brea–it needs to cool in the fridge for at least an hour? OH COME ON.

Fine, I’ll work on my Beet tartare. Chop everything up and mix together. Well, that took up about 4 minutes. I have 56 minutes to kill until it’s bread bake/fishloaf go time.


BeetMix{the colors Duke, the colors!}

I’ve actually made this Beet Tartare before, and I really love it. It has a lot of flavor, and if you can put up with the next 30 hours of pink Beet pee and the ravaging of your digestive system, it’s a great [vegan] meal in itself.

Let’s fast forward to the bread being done:

ChallahIt’s worth being a Jew just for that. Half the seeds/sesame seeds are in the bread, the other half are on the outside. I added some coarse KOSHER salt to the topping mixture, and wowza, just delightful. AND it makes 2 loafs, so bring one and brag about it at work the next day while everyone is picking seeds out of their teeth.


The Terrine (read: fishloaf) was cooked through and chilled thoroughly, but never quite kept it’s shape when cut. Unfortunately it looked a bit like wet cat food, but hey, bygones.

Plate1I’m not going to lie, this was a very time-consuming meal, but making bread from scratch AND putting beets into a food processor all in one night isn’t too shabby. And Mr. Oberon Sun was there to tell me “baby, you’ve done such a good job, I’m so proud of you. Let’s make this a Passover we’ll never forget” and I said “you’re right Mr. Oberon Sun, let’s never fight again.” And we never did.

John came home right after I made the Beet Tartare, and all I heard from the kitchen was “It looks like Beet Normandy in here” because I didn’t do the best job of cleaning up my beet mess (read: beet skin peels were everywhere with pink smears all over the counter, and I assume there was a tribal-like red beet handprint somewhere on the cupboards).

Happy Passover/Happy Oberon Day! I wish it would stop snowing!







Fig, Olive Oil, and Kosher Salt Challah. CHALLAH!

27 Sep

Baking has always been a little intimidating to me, There is just so much SCIENCE behind it! When you want to make a double batch, you can’t just double the recipe because of the ratio of leavening agents (baking soda/powder, yeast, you know, stuff my ancestors didn’t have when they made matzoh).

Sidenote: what is the difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?  They are both (as I mentioned before) leavening agents, which means they work with the other ingredients to create carbon dioxide which makes the baked goods rise Rise RISE! Well I took the liberty of looking into these happy cousins (and I threw yeast in there for just shits and gigs), here are some specifics

  • Baking Soda :: 100% Sodium Bicarbonate. It needs to be combined with a liquid AND an acid in order to create the chemical reaction to awake the awesome power of…itself. The carbon dioxide bubbles expand under oven temperatures (so be sure to bake immediately after mixing!).
  • Baking Powder :: Mainly Sodium Bicarbonate, but also has it’s own acid included (usually cream of tartar or corn starch). It also needs to be mixed with a liquid to activate  its self. Technically you can substitute this for Baking Soda, but it’ll probably affect the taste, and you’ll need a different amount, but c’mon friend, you’re playing with fire. Bite the bullet and pay the…what, $0.79 for Baking Soda which will last you about 4 years. You can also make your own Baking Powder by mixing Baking Soda with…you guessed it, Cream of Tartar, but then again…$.079….
  • Yeast :: And now we’re getting into organic territory. The previous 2 agents create chemical reactions, where yeast is a LIVING THING…and also gives bread that awesome yeast flavor (and let’s not forget beer, sweet, sweet beer). Yeast also needs a liquid to be activated, but in order to create the carbon dioxide it feeds on sugar. It eats the sugar, and dispels carbon dioxide.

And here we are. Baking anxiety. I’ve had plenty of loafs not work out because my yeast was old, or I didn’t let it dissolve properly, or I sub-consciously sabotaged myself, and so every time I start a baking project (from scratch, of course), I get a little nervous. But, c’mon, if you saw this could you say no:

Fig, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt Challah – Smitten Kitchen

Holy crap. This looked amazing, and it tastes AMAZING. I dove right in, and it worked out so well. I was apprehensive to work with figs because I HATED fig newtons when I was younger because they looked like chocolate, but they weren’t chocolate. They were gross fruit masked in a delicious dark color. Stupid Fig Newtons. So I’d say this is the first time I’ve gone out of my way to interact with a fig. We got along quite nicely.

Hello pile of sweet seedy stones

So while I’m letting the dough rise (eat that sugar yeast!), I made the fig “paste”, which also leads me to the point in the story when I didn’t follow a specific direction. I had the figs chopped up and everything in the sauce pan

Would you believe this is the most tan I’ve been in about 5 years?

And then once it was made, I thought “hmm, I thought the figs would break down since it looks so velvety smooth in the photos”. Well a food processor makes things velvety smooth, a food processor step that a certain someone completely looked over. Sigh. Which made “spreading” it in the dough a little difficult

Thank god for counter space

But I rolled it up regardless, and MASTERED the intricate wrappings of the fig-filled tubes

CHECK THAT OUT!! At Zingerman’s they call it a “Challah Turban”

And baaaaZING

Sweet sweet beauty

I’ve made a few Challah in my day (scroll down to see more) and this is the only one I’ve ever double egg washed, but it did give it a great deep brown color. Also, it started browning too early, so I had to wrap it in tin foil during the last 10 minutes, which I have never had to do before, but a great tip! After the egg wash you top it with some additional salt (which is also in the fig paste, I also used Kosher salt rather than sea salt since that’s what I had and I don’t bend for anyone). If you’ve ever had salted caramel, you’ll understand how amazing the salt interacts with the sweet figs. I would probably put even more on if I could go back in time (funny story, I just saw Back To The Future about a month ago for the first time, I finally understand all the references!).

My past Challahs (all taken with cell phones…and of course I included this one just because…)

I can’t complain about any one of these. I love challah, and homemade Challah just adds to the excitement. Shalom!

Wow, this bread is AMAZING. I waited maybe a full 50 seconds for it to cool before I took a slice out and then my eyes cartoon popped out of my head. I actually like the chunks of fig woven throughout, rather than in a sweet succulent and velvety paste (ok, I am curious what it would be like, but NO REGRETS). Please please please try this recipe (and post pictures! I want to see) because it is impressive looking, and so so good!

Shana Tova (Happy Jewish New Year!) It’s actually Yom Kippur today, can you believe how time flies, it’s already 5773!



real food - true health - full life

Tiny Portal

Awkwardly walking through life's little doors

Go Jules Go

Writer. Blogger. Chipmunk enthusiast.

Things that we like

Beer. Sports. Food.

Modern Day Forager

All Roads Lead to Food

Reading Runner Girl

Reading. Running. & Other Things.

Escapes and Escapades

Travel | Adventure | Lifestyle

Aerogramme Writers' Studio

Books and Writing | News and Resources

The Tomato Tart

But check your lease, man. Because you're living in Flavor Country.


life is always sweeter and yummier through a lens. bunnyandporkbelly [at] gmail [dot] com