“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”
— Mary Oliver
If you’ve been longing for a European holiday but will be hanging out in your apartment instead, this bread might be just the compromise you need. Find joy in the simplicity of your own creation today with this recipe. Remember that children are not critical of their fascinations — it’s okay for us to enjoy without judgment.
This herb-filled challah is one of my favorites so far, and PS: your home will soon be filled with the aromas of an Italian restaurant, and you will LOVE it. Find a foreign film on Netflix. Read the subtitles while your bread is resting and rising. Light candles. Create your own environment of peace and allow yourself to become surprised by joy.
What you need:
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 packet of instant yeast
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
•2 teaspoons garlic
•1 teaspoon black pepper
•1 teaspoon dried herbs of Provence (basil, rosemary, lavender, tarragon and thyme)
• 2 large eggs, 1 divided
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
•2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
What to do:
1. Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, garlic, pepper and dried herbs in a medium bowl.
2. Whisk together 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk (save the egg white for later), canola oil, and ½ cup of lukewarm water in a large bowl, then slowly stir it into your dry mixture.
3. Knead until a smooth and elastic ball forms, about 10 minutes. If dough sticks to the sides, add more flour as needed.
4. Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rest until it doubles in size (2 hours).
5. Separate your dough into 4 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a 1”-diameter rope. Don’t be afraid to stretch and pull! Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Slightly flatten each strand and evenly insert your sundried tomatoes. Pinch one end of the ropes together, braid the strands firmly, then pinch the other end to seal. Twirl one end around the other, folding the end underneath to make a circular braid. Drape the braided dough with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
7. Heat oven to 350° F. Whisk the reserved egg white with one tablespoon of water, and brush all over the loaf. Bake until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.