Bread Basket

2014-10-15 16.42.04 Inspired by a picture that a friend shared with me on Facebook, I set about to make a challah basket of my own.  It was pretty easy, but not without its fair share of challenges.

It was erev Shemini Atzeret (that’s the night before a Jewish holiday a couple of weeks after the Jewish New Year), and I was charged with bringing challah and dessert for a family dinner.  Normally, I’d make a 5-lb batch of challah dough, which makes 5 1-lb challahs.  I’d bring 2 challahs and freeze the rest, perhaps using one of the pounds to make a dessert challah.

Little did I know, the challah basket would take a full three pounds of dough!!!  That left roughly 1 pound for challah rolls to put in the basket (can you see them in there?  All those tiny little rolls that barely fill half of the giant basket?) and another pound of dough for the delicious pumpkin spice babka for dessert.

2014-10-15 16.41.53Here’s what I learned:

  • use a small bowl – maybe 5-6 inches in diameter.  It’s better to have bread overflowing than to barely fill half the bowl with rolls.
  • bake it a little longer than expected – it’s better that the bowl be crunchy or tough, than that it fall apart
  • if you’re going to do a decorative border around the outer edge, keep it thin – I think I ended up with more than a pound in just that border.
  • the inside will look uncooked… don’t worry.  It wont brown because it’s pressed up against the bowl.  Nothing you can do about it.
  • grease the bowl first – It can be quite stressful trying to separate the bowl from the fragile, warm basket with a paring knife.

As far as creating the basket, check out the pictures here.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures as I went, but that image sums it up.

Good luck!  Post your own bread basket pics on our Facebook page!

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