30 by 30: making challah bread

Today is kind of special. It marks the day I crossed off the very first thing off my 30 by 30 list (over a month after my birthday… I better pick up the pace, heh).

As you know, I spend the week on a conference in NY (btw, Adam is loving all the meals I made him… and thank you for your sweet comments. I did feel like an awesome wife for doing that). This weekend I’m staying at my sister’s place in Brooklyn – hanging out with her and my friend Katy, and of course, baking and cooking. The natural light is too good at her place to miss such an opportunity! [Remember last time’s cookie baking extravaganza, rice crispie treats, sugar-free brownie dough balls, and baking with protein powder? Those are my favorite pictures from the blog!)

I’m focused this year with the list so I knew I wanted to tackle at least a few items from it and maybe a thing or two for Russian Bites. Every single Saturday morning, my sister and her boyfriend make French toast for brunch so I decided to take on the challenge and make French toast with homemade challah bread [challah was part of my 30 by 30 challenge.]

I used the Bon Appetit recipe that my blog friend Michelle recently tested. Wanna see some pics from the process?? [Say yes!]

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[yeast, sugar and warm water get all bubbly]

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[Mixing dough by hand]

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It got pretty gluttonous.. and sticky for a while. I just kept kneading and adding flour.

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Eventually it was time for it to rise… and time for me to go out with my friend Katy (we went to the Westville Restaurant btw, and ohmygod guys… if you’re ever in NY, go there!!!! Best meal in recent memory and not expensive!)

The dough was supposed to rise for 30 minutes… it’s been many hours. So yeah, it got a little over ambitious Winking smile

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I punched it down and put it on a well floured countertop. It was all good!

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Love the pockets of air!

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At this point I divided the dough into 2 balls (it makes 2 loaves) and braided one and put the other half in the fridge. I read right after that if you don’t want to bake it right away, you can actually store the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days so I put away both the braid (which you shouldn’t do anyway) and the other dough ball, and went to sleep.

Next morning, it was time to braid the other dough ball. Here is how we do it:

Roll (by hand) into three 9-10” ropes (if you want a fat braid for sandwiches, etc… you can also have longer ropes which would make a longer but skinnier challah… just make sure they’re all the same length.

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Now, right over middle; then left over middle

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Repeat… (new) right over middle, (new) left over middle

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Pinch the ends; flip the braid

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Repeat the same process (left over middle; right over middle… pinch the ends)

Yay, it looks like challah!

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Cover with towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes while the oven is preheating. Then it’s egg wash time!

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Pretty!

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I’m obsessed with this picture (below)!!!!

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Don’t you just want to rip a piece off? We did Smile

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Ready for the best french toast of your life?? This one goes in the “sane” category because there is not much healthy about it… but man, is it good. Going on the favorites list for sho

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Crème brulee French toast (note I attempted the broiling method for the sugar topping but was so scared to burn the tops that I ended up just taking them out and shaking off most of the sugar. It was beyond fantastic even without it… and hey, just a tad healthier Smile )

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Custardy (not to be confused with soggy… it definitely was not) french toast with some organic raspberries… and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This tasted like it came straight from a fancy restaurant’s brunch menu, and I felt pretty good about making it all from scratch!

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Mmm, this was slightly reminiscent of lemon pound cake with berries.

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When can I have this again?? Winking smile

Have you ever made challah bread? I definitely plan on doing it again to perfect it. It will be even easier with my KitchenAid at home. I do think I’m going to try a different recipe though… this one was slightly lacking in the salt and maybe even sugar dept (although pure perfection in French toast form).

Oh and… this is off topic but… Taste of Cambridge this year is on June 28 (this coming Tuesday) and I scored tickets over the weekend and am beyond excited to attend the event. I wasn’t around last year and read numerous recaps from my blog friends and was super jealous, so I know it’s going to be a fantastic evening of food, drinks and friends! You can find more info about the event here. This year’s beneficiaries include The Salvation Army Cambridge/Somerville Corps “Restoring Lives Capital Campaign and The Saturday program of the Cambridge special olympics. If you come, definitely say hello!! :D

Banana blueberry spinach muffins

I made these green monster muffins last weekend (recipe originally found through Food to Run For) and have been eating one every morning since. They may look like little green monsters but they taste like sweet delicious banana walnut muffins (I subbed a giant banana for apple sauce). Oh yeah, I threw some frozen Maine wild blueberries into the mix for some extra antioxidants as well! Yum!!

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Spinach can’t be scary when it’s in flower shaped muffin cups, don’t you think? Winking smile [Btw, my mom bought me these so I’m not sure where they’re from but these Wilton flower silicone cups look very similar!]

Back to my kitchen… these muffins are so easy to make – just mix…

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Spoon

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And bake!

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Now admire your cuties…

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These muffins made my mornings that much brighter!

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PS – there is a lot of natural sweetness in bananas and blueberries so I’d actually cut on sugar next time I make them. And there WILL be a next time!

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This was my contribution to St. Patty’s day. Oh and a drink (or 2) were involved. :lol: Doctor’s orders! (Seriously!!)

Have you ever tried something that looked scary but turned out very delicious and craveable?

What healthy muffin recipe should I make next? I only have 2 muffins left!

Have a fantastic weekend!! Send a kiss

Share your breakfast, feed a hungry child

Friday was really rough with my lower back injury. It hurt to sit; it hurt to breathe, stand up, reach, bend down… basically to function. Even sitting up straight hurt so I did little except for watching a million crappy movies and eat myself to sleep (yeah…..). On Saturday things finally started looking up (I guess all the ibuprofen and icing kicked in!) and I tried to catch up on a few of my favorite blogs. This is when I discovered the Share Your Breakfast campaign through Tina’s post.

For every picture of breakfast that you upload, Kellogg’s will donate 1 meal to a hungry child. This is such an amazing cause so I decided to take a few minutes of my time and find some old breakfast pictures (this is where having a food blog comes in handy!). Want to see my favorite breakfasts? I’ve been very lucky in the breakfast department!

I went through a breakfast pizza phase for a while. No complaining here!Breakfast pizza with blueberries and crunchy cereal…

breakfast pizza

Breakfast pizza with yogurt and raspberries

breakfast pizza with raspbs

b pizza slice

[Fun fact: I had this for breakfast the day I met Siggi!!]

Carb + Barney Butter + fruit (and coffee, of course!) seems to be a very popular equation

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toast with bb and kiwi

english muff with bb and strawbs

Sometimes I throw some yogurt on top for good measure Winking smile

waffles, bb and yog

… and sometimes I double the carbs (LOVE waffle sandwiches… I really need to recreate this stat)

waffle sandwich

There is also the yogurt + fruit + nut/cereal standby…

yog with cereal   bloobs

… that’s anything but boring (how fantastic are these colors?!!)

yog parfait

And then there are a few odd ducks that perk up my mornings!

Whole wheat bagel with jalapeno olive cream cheese and fresh tomatoes

bagel, cc, toms

Banana pb&J oats (I OD’ed on oats a few years back and now they are a rarity ‘round these parts)

banana pb&j oats

Carrot cake breakfast sandwich anyone??

carrot cake breakfast sandwich

Or protein YAMcakes? Veggies totally belong at breakfast!

protein yamcakes

Lobster omelet. Need I say more?

seafood lovers omelet

Anyone else is now hungry for breakfast? :lol: I’m off to send these to Kellogg’s. Hope you do the same!! The campaign ends in June so keep those pictures coming!!

Question of the day: sweet or savory (for breakfast)? I think you know my preferences from the above. Smile with tongue out

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