Bread is a traditional centerpiece at Hanukkah from Challah to Kubaneh to good old jelly-filled doughnuts or Sufganiyot. Here’s how to hold onto those traditions using your bread machine.
The traditional bread for any Hanukkah meal is Challah bread. It’s essentially a white bread with a twist. And we mean a literal twist. The bread is a series of braided ropes of dough and we’re going to go all out and do the classic and complex 12-tribes loaf with 12 braids.
There’s also a tradition popular with Yemenite Jews called Kubaneh bread. It’s sometimes spelled Kubanah. This is another unique recipe because it’s steamed rather than baked at a low temperature for hours. It’s usually served in the morning and is both tender and sweet
Finally, there’s jelly-filled doughnuts dusted with powered sugar traditionally called Sufganiyot. We’ll also give you a jelly recipe you can make in your bread machine and here again, we’ll explore another cooking style. These doughnuts are deep-fried in oil very quickly and then filled with the jelly before getting their powdered sugar dusting.
All of these recipes are finished either in the oven or in the case of the doughnuts, finished in a pot of hot oil. However, the dough for all of these recipes is made in the bread machine and this makes the final assembly and finishing much easier.
Both the Challah bread and the doughnuts can be made the day ahead, but the Kubaneh is wonderful in the oven on a Friday night as it slowly steams to soft perfection. Keep it covered when it’s done so it’s soft and moist in the morning.
So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work starting with the Challah. We covered this recipe once before with a simple 3-braid approach, but this time we’re going to go for a 12-braid symbolizing the 12 Tribes of Israel. It’s not as hard as it sounds and we’ll give you photos that will take you through the process step-by-step.
Challah Bread Recipe:
(Makes one 2-pound loaf)
- 1 1⁄2 cups water (110° F./45° C)
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 1⁄8 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄3 cup oil
- 4 1⁄4 cups bread flour
- 1⁄2 cup white or brown sugar
- 1tablespoon active dry yeast
For the glaze if you like:
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- Sesame seeds or poppy seeds
- Place the water, egg yolks, salt oil, flour, sugar and yeast in the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe. Select the dough cycle. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough in half. And then divide again until you have 12 equal sized chunks of dough. Roll each section into a long strand. I usually try for 20 to 24 inches because it will shorten as you braid the bread.
- Place all 12 of the strands next to each other and begin with the strand on the far left and fold it over the other 11 strands. Grab the strand on the far right and fold it over the opposite way. Move towards the next long strand on the left and continue and repeat back and forth. When all twelve strands have been overlaid over each other repeat the process. Pinch the base of the strands.
- Place on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet and braid the dough by laying over each other -one strand at a time. Let the Challah rise, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the Challah with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, the poppy seeds, or a combination of both. You can also bake it plain. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F or until brown. Let it rest and served or after cooling, wrap in plastic wrap and save at room temperature until you’re ready to eat.
Kubaneh Bread Recipe:
(Makes 8 large, pull-apart pieces)
Kubaneh bread is a popular Hanukkah bread with Yemenite Jews. Most now reside in Israel although a few hundred still reside it Yemen. This is usually prepared for a Sabbath breakfast or lunch and is baked at a very low temperature in a covered pan or Dutch oven to steam it more than bake it. It’s wonderfully sweet and is a finger food that is meant to be pulled apart by hand. This is one of the things that make it a kid’s favorite.
- 1 cup water (110° F./45° C)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
- 1/3 cup fig jam or other jam or jelly
For baking step:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut in 8 pieces at room temperature
- Add all of the ingredients to the bread pan except for the butter and select the dough course. When the dough is finished, but into 8 equal sized pieces and roll into a rope of dough about 8 inched long. With a floured rolling pin roll out the dough until flat and about 2 inched wide and 8 inches long.
- Spread the softened butter on the dough with one piece of butter for each rolled out dough section. Let these strips of flattened dough rise for 45 minutes and then gently rollup into rounds.
- Butter a baking dish or Dutch oven and place the dough rounds into the dish or pan. Cover tightly with oiled aluminum foil or top with a lid. Set aside and preheat oven to 225° F./110° C. Bake the bread covered for 3 hours. Remove and serve or remove and let cool and then cover with plastic wrap until ready to eat.
Sufganiyot Jelly Doughnuts:
Sufganiyots are delicate, airy rounds of a sweet dough that’s deep fried and then filled with jelly and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. They’re connected to Hanukkah because they’re preparation involves frying them in oil Given that Hanukkah is a celebration of the miracle of oil, the preparation for this dessert is appropriate.
The fundamental idea is to make the dough in your bread machine and then shape them before allowing them to rise and then fried. We’ll cover how to make a basic strawberry jelly and a simple technique for filling the donuts. What’s critical is a proper rising period and the right temperature for the oil. That combination is what causes the sufganiyots to puff up and create a space for the jelly filling.
Sufganiyot Jelly Doughnut Recipe:
(Makes 20 sufganiyots)
- 1 1/3 cups reduced fat milk (110° F./45° C)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 large egg
- 4 cups bread flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 envelopes rapid rise yeast
- 2 quarts canola oil for deep frying
- Blueberry Jelly (recipe follows the sufganiyot recipe)
- Powdered sugar
- Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated and select the dough cycle. When the cycle is complete remove the dough from the bread pan onto a floured surface. Roll out into a 1/2 inch thickness.
- Take a 3 inch round cookie cutter or a glass with a 3 inch diameter and cut rounds out of the flattened dough. Gather up the excess and re-roll and cut until all of the dough is used up. The dough has already risen once in the bread machine but it needs a second rise. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the dough rounds rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Heat the oil in either and electric fryer or a large, deep saucepan or pot. Heat the oil to 350° F./175° C. Place the doughnuts into the oil carefully with a large slotted spoon until you have a layer of doughnuts floating on the top of the oil. Fry for two minutes a side. When done, remove from the oil with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or brown paper bags.
- Allow them to cool for a few minutes until you can easily handle them. Fill a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the jelly and drop a pastry tip into the bag. Map a small incision into the side of a sufganiyot and Insert the pastry tip into the side of the doughnut and squeeze to fill the center. How much jelly you choose to use is up to you.
- Dust the top with powdered sugar and serve.