May 10, 2012
Who’s in the kitchen? Cinnamon-honey and cookie crumb topped challah
While a guest at Rabbi Berel Wein and Rebbetzin Jackie Wein, A”H for Shavuot in 1985, I had the pleasure of enjoying the most delicious homemade challah. Rebbetzin Wein, A”H, being the warm, gracious and wonderful hostess that she was famous for, said it really wasn’t hard at all to make challah, and she would give me her recipe. By the time I left after Yom Tov, I was the recipient of an amazing challah recipe as well as five extra pounds I gained, which by the way, was so very worth it!
The following week I was having a few couples over for Shabbat lunch in my apartment in Forest Hills. I decided to try out my challah making skills on the Joszefs (little did I know that Seme and Bernice would one day become my sister and brother-in-law), Maels and Zahners.
As I worked during the day, by the time I finished cooking, and started on the challah Thursday night, it was 2 A.M. How long could it take? The rebbetzin made it sound so simple. Hmmm, did it seem as if the mixture was just a tad bit too gooey? Was it supposed to coat my hands and arms up to my elbows? Was my floor supposed to be covered in flour as well as the rest of me?
I think the only other time I made a mess bigger than my first foray in challah making was years later, in the kitchen of a restaurant, when I was making a chocolate cake batter for 30 10” round layers of chocolate cakes. When all the ingredients were in the huge Hobart mixer, I turned it on, and within three seconds was covered with chocolate cake batter from head to toe, as was anything within a five foot radius. Seems that Carlos forgot to tell me he turned the speed from 1 all the way up to 5 and didn’t turn it back to 1 as was the rule in the kitchen. Needless to say the kitchen staff had a good laugh that day. David Elefant, I know you heard about it in your office and had a chuckle as well.
Ok, so it took a while, but I finally mastered the art of kneading and let the dough rise while I cleaned up the kitchen, or shall I say the closet with appliances in it. Remember the size of our first apartments?
By the time my alarm clock rang at 7A.M., I was just about finished with the challahs. The kitchen was clean, my table was set and I felt this enormous sense of accomplishment.