Let’s have some fun and celebrate. Here’s how your bread machine can create Holiday and everyday fun.
Challah bread is strongly linked to Jewish tradition and history. It is traditionally used to commemorate the Sabbath with two loaves served on Friday night, again for Saturday lunch, an early dinner in late afternoon on Saturday and then again at night and another at lunch the following day. The loaves are braided with either 6 strands of dough, and sometime 3, 5 or 7. According to tradition the Challah bread symbolizes the manna from heaven that fed the Israelites during the Exodus. Because the manna did not fall on the Sabbath, two loaves symbolize the double portion of manna they received before the Sabbath. The symbolism of two loaves with 6 braided strands is believed to align with the 12 tribes of Israel. A more complex braid features 12 braided strands and is sometimes referred to as the “12 tribes” Challah.
To make this simpler for you, we’re going to explore a recipe of two loaves which feature 3 braided strands each. The dough is made in the bread machine with the “dough cycle,” and the loaves are then braided and finished in the oven. The loaves are sometimes glazed and can be topped with seeds if you like.
Something you’ll notice across all of these recipes, and many other bread recipes is the addition of liquids that are 110° F or about 43° C. An easy way to do this is to put the liquid into a microwave for 35 seconds. If you want, you can insert a candy or meat thermometer and measure the temperature so you can adjust the time, but it will get you to the optimum temperature for the yeast with the least amount of effort.
With those tips in mind, here are some recipes that served to celebrate traditions, seasons and cultures for centuries.
Challah Bread Recipe:
Makes 2 1-pound loaves
- 1 1⁄2cups water (110° F.)
- 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
- 1 tablespoon 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. Divide each half into three sections. Roll each section into a long strand. I usually try for 16 to 20 inches because it will shorten as you braid the bread. Braid the three strands, pinching the top and bottom ends together. Place on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet and braid the dough by laying over each other -one strand at a time. Repeat with the remaining dough, to make the second Challah. 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.
While cheese bread is not typically associated with a particular holiday, or tradition or culture it is often served in the autumn and winter given its robust nature. Many people like to dip cheese bread in soups, or use two slices as a hearty complement for a big sandwich. It’s also an excellent complement to a salad or lighter pasta dishes served with more delicate sauces. Parmesan and cheddar are featured in this particular recipe, but you can substitute just about any cheese in equal proportions depending on your taste or what you have on hand.
One thing to keep in mind is the cheese cut. You can shred it, cut it into small chunks, or thin, small slices. The machine will do a good job of incorporating the cheese throughout the dough. I also top the loaf in the bread machine with some of the cheese about 10 minutes before the baking cycle is complete. Be careful though. If your loaf has risen particularly high and is close to touching the top of the lid you might want to wait until the bread is baked and removed from the machine before topping it with cheese. Cleaning cheese from the viewing window of your bread machine is a messy proposition.
Parmesan-Cheddar Cheese Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 1.5-pound loaf)
- 1 1⁄4cups water (110° F.)
- 1tablespoon soft butter
- 1teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (at room temperature)
- 1⁄3 cup parmesan (grated or shredded)
- 1 teaspoon course black pepper
- 1 package active dry yeast
Combine the ingredients in the order listed in the bread pan. Select the white bread cycle; 1.5 pound loaf and medium crust. If you like, top the loaf with cheese when there is 10 minutes left on the cycle.
Pumpernickel Bread is traditional German bread that first appeared in the 15th century. Traditionally, pumpernickel has been a distinctive rye bread made with coarse rye flour resulting in a darker color. The bread is often started with sourdough yeast. You can add citric acid (lemon juice) to replicate this sour flavor if you like. This particular recipe is a touch complex using 3 types of flour and traditional dry yeast.
Pumpernickel Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 1.5 pound loaf)
- 1 1⁄8 cups warm water (110° F.)
- 1⁄3 cup molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 1⁄2cups bread flour
- 1cup rye flour
- 1cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1⁄2teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 1⁄2tablespoons caraway seeds
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Place all ingredients into your bread pan according to the order indicated in the recipe. Select wheat setting; 1.5 pound loaf and dark crust.
Check the mix during the kneading process. If it appears too dry, add a teaspoon of warm water and check again after 5 minutes. If it appears too wet, add a teaspoon of bread flour. The dough should form a ball shape that is lightly sticky to the touch. Let the bread continue through its cycle until done.
Honey Wheat Bread
This bread is traditionally popular in autumn when honey was harvested following the flowers of spring and summer. It’s excellent sandwich bread and also is good as breakfast bread either toasted or as a foundation for French toast. It’s fairly easy to make and features a blend of white bread flour and whole wheat flour. Like some other bread recipes it calls for the addition of powdered milk. This gives the bread a fine, creamy-smooth texture.
Honey Wheat Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 1-pound loaf)
- 3⁄4 cup water (110° F.)
- 1tablespoon honey
- 1 1⁄2 cups white bread flour
- 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1tablespoon powdered milk
- 1teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- Add ingredients in the order indicated in the recipe.
- Select white bread cycle; 1 pound loaf and light crust.
(Makes a 1-pound loaf)
- 1 3⁄4teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 3⁄4cups bread flour + 2 tablespoons bread flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1⁄4 cup warm milk + 2 tablespoons warm water (110° F.)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
Add all ingredients except the butter to the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe but reserve the butter. Set the basic bread cycle. 10 minutes before the end of the first kneading cycle add the butter one tablespoon at a time with each added one minute apart. Once the cycle is complete, let the loaf rest in the machine for 20 minutes.
What’s surprising about many of these recipes is that fact that you can achieve such variety while completing the entire process in the machine. Yes some of the recipes require you to finish the loaf in the oven, but with the exception of braiding the Challah bread it’s still fairly simple. Have fun and celebrate every day.