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Recipe: Challah

2 C warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 C Canola oil
1/2 C honey
6 C Unbleached hard bread flour or 3 C each hard bread flour and whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C raisons or 3 Tbs poppy seeds
1 1/2 Tbs instant yeast
1 egg mixed with a little water.

Makes two medium-sized chalahs.

Put the water, salt, 3 eggs, oil and honey in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until blended. Turn off the mixer and add half of the flour, poppy seeds or raisins, and the yeast. Mix until blended. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl, and let the yeast activate. It should start getting bubbly within 10-20 minutes. Run the mixer on low while gradually adding the remaining flour until it forms a sticky dough. This takes about 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then turn it on again and let the hook knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until the dough forms an elastic ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. If does not add more flour a bit at a time until it does.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface, knead a few times and form a ball. Place the ball into a greased bowl, cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Alternately, put the bowl in the refrigerator overnight, bring it out and let warm back up for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough, reform a ball, and let it rise for another 30 minutes. Turn the dough onto a counter, knead it a little, divide into two equal-sized balls.

Now form a challah from each of the balls following one of these methods:
1. Roll the ball into a 18 inch long rope. Roll the rope into a spiral making it a little higher run the middle.
2. Divide the ball into three parts. Roll each part into a 12 inch foot long rope. Braid the ropes into a three-braid.
3. Divide the ball into three parts. Roll each part into a 2 foot long rope. Braid the ropes into a long three-braid. Then wind the braid around into spiral.
5. Divide the ball into four equal balls. Roll each ball into a rope about 18" long. Form a round braid with four ropes following instructions found in the Challah Blog (

Transfer the loaves onto greased baking sheets, cover loosely with plastic, place in a warm place and let rise 1 hour. 15 minutes before the end of the rising time pre-heat your oven to 350F. Remove the plastic and paint the loaves with the egg-water mixture. Bake the challahs for 30-35 minutes. To check if they are done take one off of the baking sheet and tap it from the bottom. It should sound hollow when it is done.



From Epicurious

Wine-Braised Brisket with Tart Cherries


- 1/4 cup flour
- Kosher or fine salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (6- to 6 1/2-pound) first- or second-cut beef brisket
- 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 16 medium shallots (about 1 pound); peeled, leaving root ends intact
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 cups Pinot Noir
- 2 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) dried tart cherries
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 whole star anise (see Cooks' notes)
- 2 pounds young, slim carrots in bunches (not pre-cut variety), peeled

Heat oven to 350F with rack in middle.

Whisk together flour with 1 tablespoon kosher salt (2 teaspoons fine) and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pat brisket dry and dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Set roasting pan across 2 burners and in it heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Brown brisket (fat side down first if using first cut) on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large platter or rimmed baking sheet.

If necessary, add remaining tablespoon oil, then reduce heat to medium, and cook shallots, turning occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced by half, then stir in chicken stock, cherries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, star anise, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon fine salt). Bring to a simmer and return brisket, fat side up, to pan. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty foil or a double layer of regular foil, and braise in oven for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, blanch carrots in a 3-quart pot of well-salted boiling water. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and pat dry.

Add carrots to roasting pan (after meat has braised for 2 hours), then cover again tightly with foil, and continue to braise in oven, until meat is fork-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more.

If serving soon, transfer meat to a cutting board and let it rest, loosely covered, 15 minutes, then slice meat across the grain. Skim off any excess fat from surface of sauce, then discard star anise, and season to taste with salt. Reheat sauce, then return sliced meat to sauce to reheat before serving. Serve meat with sauce and carrots on a large deep platter.

Little Tim:
^^^ Love to see a proper braise recipe.  It's more work, but oh so worth it. Only change I'd make is reduce the temp to 300 and let it go an extra hour (not a big difference in the final product, but noticeable).


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