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Recipe Collection

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Prep time: 60 mins + 2 hours rising

Cook time: 50 to 60 mins

Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 small ones

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To celebrate tradition this Tu b’Shevat, I created the Seven Species Challah, which includes all seven species, including the two missing from the traditional Tu b’Shevat plate: wheat and barley. It also includes ingredients that the Bible mentions in reference to the Land of Milk and Honey—butter, honey and cinnamon—and almonds, the symbol of Tu b’Shevat in Israel.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • ¾ cups warm milk or water
  • 2 large eggs, divided and 1 separated
  • ¼ cup butter or oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Seven Species Filling
  • 4 medjool dates, diced
  • 5 dried figs, diced
  • 4 olives, diced
  • ½ pomegranate, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup barley
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Optional garnish: oats

Preparation

  • Place flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix to combine. Create a well in the center, add the yeast and mix it a bit with the flour mixture, pour warm milk or water and let stand for 5 minutes to froth. Add 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for egg wash), butter or oil and 1 tablespoon honey and mix with dough hook on low for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be a bit sticky—you may need to oil your hands to handle it. Place in an oiled bowl and turn over to coat. Cover and place in a warm, draft free area to rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it doubles in bulk.*
  • While the dough is rising, dice the fruits. Heat a pan over medium heat, add the barley and toast for about 10 minutes, until it softens. Add the oats, almonds, butter and honey and keep toasting for 7 minutes. Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  • Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Oil or flour your working surface, divide the dough into 3 equal parts (6 if making 2 small loaves). With the cup of your palm, roll each part into a ball, flatten the ball into a small disk and roll flat into a 6x12-inch rectangle. Spread 6 tablespoons of filling on the rectangle and roll up like jellyroll. Once rolled, roll the strand with your palms from the center of the strand to the edges to elongate the strand to about 18 inches long. Repeat with the rest of the balls. Braid and place on baking sheet. Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes in a warm, draft-free spot.**
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the reserved egg white, tablespoon honey and pinch of cinnamon to make egg wash. Brush all over the loaf, sprinkle with oats, if using, place in oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Loaf is ready if it produces a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom with your fingers. If not ready, bake for 5 minutes more and check again. Cool on a rack before serving.***
  • Tips:
  • *Dough may be prepared and put in the refrigerator over night for the first rise. Take out when ready to continue, gently deflate the dough and let stand to rise again and then proceed.
  • **You can create a warm box by placing a cup of just-boiled water in a cold oven or microwave next to the dough-filled bowl or on the shelf underneath it.
  • ***Loaves may be frozen. Make sure to wrap with aluminum foil and then with plastic wrap. When read to use, thaw on your counter top. Take the plastic wrap off and bake wrapped in aluminum foil on low heat—no more than 300 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. It will be like fresh. Make sure to unwrap and cool on a rack.

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