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September 3, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 3, 2004
 

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SEPTEMBER 3, 2004 PAGE 3~ (JTA)--With the no-carb craze sweeping the Diet adherents make sure to avoid pasta and :he High Holidays roll around, even purists by succulent Jewish breads. Rosh Hashanah be, after all, without huge without bagels to break the fast? Not to bread, za'atar pita and the wide variety of Converts aside, bread has historically been among staples in the Jewish diet. We even eat ~ holiday that revolves around shunning loaves. bread was once considered a complete meal, and mainstay of many people's daily calorie Bible bread is a symbol representing food. law says that if bread is served, you have a meal; are having a snack," wrote Maggie Giezer in of Bread: Jewish Bread Baking O (Artisan, A Division of Workman Publish- tober 2004). central to Jewish celebrations. Ideally before each ,before holiday meals, a blessing is recited, for bringing forth bread, and by implication all the earth. Hashanah, my family likes the same breads each an Atlanta mother of two children who bakes of sweet honey challahs and freezes them. She airy challahs at Rosh Hashanah and the But her family breaks the fast with her cake---which Giezer considers bread. lah braiding is a dying art, what inspired ~rite a book about baking Jewish bread? and a Jew--that's how I came to this," that she's been seriously studying bread baking ican Institute of Baking-certified baker, teaching bread techniques to both area- Is. This is her second book about bread, ~rites on the subject for culinary magazines. accessible to less experienced bak- Says. unfamiliar breads, she gives readers nes, conveying exactly what the dough looks step. Her recipes are often long, but for novices professional baker at their side. recipes in her cookbook, Glezer encourages :ray from the usual babkas, bagels, and dell-rye to like Turkish coffee-cake rings or Hungar- sticks. was not to include every bread recipe in the would take two lifetimes. Her aim a thumbnail sketch by highlighting some North African, Near Eastern and Ash- .~ collection, she spoke to and baked many backgrounds. She also included lively anecdotes and passages from folk tales. ares international holiday baking, Glezer place in her Ashkenzi heart for sweet challah. At pie often drizzle honey and raisins into for a sweet year. Instead of the oval-shaped, the Rosh Hashanah challah is spiraled to rep- cycle of life and the completeness of the world. is apple season," says Glezer, explaining been a symbol of sweetness for centuries, t has recently begun to appear in American Lg for huge chunks of apples, Glezer's spin genre produces delightfully moist results. instructions yield a coffee cake or a sweet dinner. prepared in a loaf pan or a at Rosh Hashanah I prefer the cake pan for lys is Sephardic pumpkin lezer, explaining that her recipe was inspired by author of "Sephardic Home Cooking." ns that among Separdi Jews, pumpkin is popular shanah because it expresses "the hope that as this been protected by a thick covering, God will and gird us with strength." While pumpkin gives an appealing color, it derives its aromatic flavor and ginger, popular Seph'ardi spices. Glezer fresh or canned pumpkin. of writing 'A Blessing of Bread' was lis- others talk about their lives," she says. ties are the fabric of Jewish life; their recipes the Our tradition." Hearing her rhapsodize about her is like being with an energetic bubby who has fingers in ovens a thousand times but still exudes to taste the unfamiliar, learn from strangers ~mazing recipes for ~ never-ending basket of Jew- mstant yeast bread flour plus extra for the pan and dough ~prinkling Ipples (Braeburn preferred) e MIXING THE SLURRY: In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast and 1 cup of the flour. Then whisk in the warm water until yeast slurry is smooth. Let it ferment uncovered for 10-20 minutes, or until it begins to puff up slightly. MIXING THE DOUGH: Whisk the eggs, oil, salt and sugar into the puffed- yeast slurry. When eggs are well incorporated and the salt and sugar have dissolved, stir in the remaining 4 cups of flour all at once with your hands. When mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it out onto work surface and knead it until it is smooth and firm, no more than 10 minutes. Soak your mixing bowl in hot v~ater to clean and warm it. If the dough is too firm to easily knead, add a tablespoon or two of water. If the dough is too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour. The dough should feel smooth, soft and only slightly sticky. INITIALLY FERMENTING THE DOUGH: Place dough in the clean, warmed bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment for one hour, or until just slightly puffy. PREPARING THE APPLES: While the dough ferments, peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter in half length- wise. Then cut each slice across into three pieces. End up with large, squarish apple chunks. Measure 4 1/2 heaping cups of the chunks. Reserve them in a covered container. ROLLING DOUGH & ADDING APPLES: After initial fer- ment, sprinkle dough and work surface with flour. Pull out the dough. Cut dough in half into two equal pieces, keeping one piece covered while working with the other. Roll out the dough into a 1/8 inch-thick, 16-inch long square. Scatter 1 heaping cup of apples over the center third of dough. Fold up the bottom third to cover it. Press dough into apples to seal it around them. Scatter another heaping cup over the lower half of dough--onto the second layer of dough--and fold the top of dough over both layers to create a very stuffed letter fold. Press down on the dough to push out air pockets and to seal dough around apples. Roll dough into a bowl. Move dough in bowl so that the smooth side--without a seam--faces up. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with other piece of dough, using another bowl. Continue fermenting both doughs for about an hour, or until they have risen slightly and are very soft. SHAPING & PROOFING DOUGH: Oil two 8-inch round cake pans. Using as much dusting flour as needed, pat each dough half into a rough round shape. Try keeping smooth side intact on top. You won't be able to deflate dough much now because of the apples. Slip dough into pans smooth side up and cover them well with plastic wrap. Let loaves proof for about 30 minutes, until they have crested their containers. Immediately after shaping the breads, arrange an oven rack on the lower third position and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. BAKING THE LOAVES: When loaves have risen over the edge of the container and won't push back when gently pressed with a finger but remain indented, brush each with a gener- ous tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle them with a few tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 45-55 minutes total. After the first 40 minutes, switch the pans from side to side. Bake 5-15 minutes more. When loaves are well browned, remove them from oven, un- mold, and cool on a rack. PAN de CALABAZA (SEPHARDIC PUMPKIN BREAD) 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree I envelope instant yeast 1/3 tsp. ground cardamom 1/2 tsp. ground ginger About 3 3/4 cups bread flour, divided 2/3 cup warm water 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 3/4 tsp. salt 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 large eggs MIXING THE DOUGH: In a large bowl, whisk together yeast, cardamom, ginger and 3/4 cup of the flour. Whisk in warm water until yeast slurry is smooth. Ferment for 10 -20 minutes, or until slurry begins to puff up slightly. Whisk sugar, salt, oil, 1 egg and pumpkin puree into puffed yeast slurry. When mixture is well combined, stir in remaining 3 cups flour with your hands. When mixture is a shaggy ball, scrape it onto your work surface. Knead it until well mixed, fairly smooth and firm. Soak mixing bowl in hot water to clean and warm it for fermenting dough. If dough is too firm, add a tablespoon or two of water. If dough is too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour. Dough should be light orange, firm, easy to knead and not at all sticky. FERMENTING THE DOUGH: When dough is fully kneaded, set it in the cleaned, warmed bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough ferment about 2-3 hours, until it has tripled in size. SHAPING THE BREADS: Oil 2 baking sheets. Divide the dough into 2 loaves of equal size, placing each on a baking sheet. Tent them well with plastic wrap. PROOFING THE BREADS: Let loaves proof 60-90 minutes, until triple in size. Thirty minutes before baking, arrange an oven rack in the upper third position. Remove racks above it. If both baking sheets won't fit on one rack, place a rack below it, leaving room for bread to rise. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the remaining egg with a pinch of salt to use as a glaze. BAKING THE BREADS: When loaves have tripled and don't push back when gently pressed with a finger but remain in- dented, brush them with egg glaze. Bake loaves on individual baking sheets for 35-40 minutes. 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