Kehilat Chaverim's Community committees provide support and outreach to membership,
including non-religious activities.
Kehilat Chaverim. A Community of Friends...A welcoming cooperative where Judaism is celebrated.
A YEAR OF CHALLAHS
By Joan Walden
We know that nearly everyone gets at least a few free calendars in the mail in the fall, but this one is unique.
I refer to a beautiful, full size, wall calendar featuring photographs of specialty challahs made by Maggie
Cohen, challah baker extraordinaire. Over the past several years and for scores of our Shabbat and other
special events, Maggie has baked and donated challahs, which are incredibly delicious and genuine works of
art. Chronicling them have been Sam Razumny, our group’s resident photographer, and Alan Kauders,
Maggie’s husband, who have taken photographs of the yeasty masterpieces before eager celebrants have
torn them to pieces and savored every bite.
Maggie’s grandfather owned a bakery in New York, and it is no doubt that she channels his skills and that of
her father who also was a baker. “What will this one look like?” is a common question one hears as we await
the arrival of the challah. Among the many designs in the calendar, one resembles a cluster of grapes,
another a menorah, and another the tree of life.
The calendar was developed by members of the Communications Committee. “We wanted to honor and thank
Maggie for her efforts,” said Judi Ann Goodman, the calendar’s designer. “And we wanted to share this with
the greater community,” added Nancy Rubin, another committee member.
A color photograph of a different challah complements each month in the calendar. Another unique feature is
that the actual dates on which Jewish holidays begin have been added, making this an ideal Chanukah gift for
family and friends.
Calendars are being distributed for a minimum contribution of $12 each. Some will be made available to the
general public as well. Members will have received an order form in the mail or download one here. For more
information, please contact Marcey Munoz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Orders received by early September
will be fulfilled at the Membership Meeting on September 18 and at High Holiday services at the Mandell JCC.
This challah recipe is courtesy of Maggie Cohen, which she adapted from Mama Leah’s Jewish Kitchen by
Leah Loeb Fischer:
2 packages active dry yeast
2 ½ cups lukewarm water
½ cup sugar
1 T Kosher salt
½ cup corn oil or safflower oil
6 – 8 cups all purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl sprinkle the yeast over 2 ½ cups of lukewarm water and add 1 tablespoon sugar. Let
stand for 10 minutes until mixture becomes frothy. Add remaining sugar, salt, oil, and 4 eggs. (I prepare this
mixture in a different bowl while the yeast is standing.) Beat well to mix. Gradually add 6 cups flour (more like
8) stirring to mix well. You should have soft, pliable dough. If the dough looks too wet add a little more flour.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead, adding additional flour until you have very elastic
dough that is not sticky. This should take 15 – 20 minutes. Wash the bowl and rub the inside with corn oil. (I
often sprinkle in flour instead of oil.) Place the dough in the bowl, cover with (damp) towel, and let it stand in a
warm place for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until dough has doubled in bulk.
I sometimes turn on the oven to a low temperature and let the bowl sit on the warm oven top as long as there
is no direct heat. Dough can rise overnight or all day in the refrigerator. Just place the bowl in the fridge. Let
it rise. It will never over rise. Take it out and let it warm to room temperature before continuing.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until dough feels smooth and
elastic. For 1 large challah, divide the dough into 7 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 12 – 14
inches long. Place 4 ropes on a lightly greased baking sheet and pinch all the ends of one side together.
Neatly braid the 4 ropes, pinching ends together at the other end. Make a braid of the remaining 3 rope and
place this braid carefully on top of the first braid. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk,
about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the remaining egg together with 1 tablespoon water and brush it all over the challah. Bake for 45 to 50
minutes, until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool.