Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Breaking of Bread

I am getting ready for Easter weekend by making my family's favorite Bread. I make Challah bread a few times a year and my family gobbles it up. I start with a basic Challah bread recipe.

  • 2 cups of warm milk
  • 2 pkgs. dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp.salt
  • 6-7 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg

In a large bowl (I use a 4 cup glass measure) dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. You do not want to make it too hot or you will kill the yeast. I make mine just a little warmer then lukewarm. Next you will add the sugar and the salt to the yeast and milk. This will feed your yeast and help it to grow. Add half of the flour about 3 1/2 cups. Mix this well with the yeast, sugar,salt and milk. Then add the egg and the oil. Continue to knead the bread until it feels like a baby's bottom. That is what my grandmother told me when she taught me to make this. The dough may be a little sticky to the touch but don't add more flour because it will make it tough. Then I place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap until it doubles in size. This will usually take about 2-3 hours.

I live in Hawaii where it is warm so it takes less time. Then I cut the dough into 6 even pieces (You will get 2 loaves of bread) for braiding. I love to braid the bread. You braid it just like you would hair being careful to tuck in the edges so that when it rises it doesn't fall apart. I find that this dough is easy to stretch and it will look so beautiful when it rises. I then arrange my loaves on parchment covered cookie sheets (1 loaf per sheet) and let them rise until they double in size. This will depend on how warm your kitchen is. In my kitchen it takes about 1 1/2 hour. Brush the top of the bread with an egg wash then bake at 375 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until the bread is a golden brown. Let it cool and then watch your family devour it!

I love to have communion with this bread. I use one loaf on Good Friday and save the other for Easter Sunday. I use a good red wine that I would enjoy with a meal to go with this and I use grape juice for the children who want to take part in the communion as well. I read the scripture from Matthew 26:26-28 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying "Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which has been given up for you" Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, "Drink this all of you. This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins". Then I say: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world happy are those who come to His supper. We enjoy having communion together. It makes the whole family really feel like they are a part of the Easter celebration.

I hope that all of you have a Blessed Easter. I hope that you take a few minutes to remember all that Jesus sacrificed for us when He was tormented, beaten and hung on a cross to die so that the gates of heaven would be open to all of us. I praise His holy name!


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