I can't count how many times I have made Challah. My mom had given me her secret recipe, throw a little this, a little that... perfect every time. It's become so natural to me that I can definitely say it's one of my favorite things to make. The variations are endless- sweet, water, egg, whole wheat, whole grain, etc. And the toppings! Sesame, poppy seeds, sugar crumbs, zaatar... The list goes on forever.
My first time making it in Israel was a total flop. I couldn't understand the yeast, the dough didn't rise, in the end they came out looking like bricks which had happened to be perfect for the parsha at the time, Shemot or Exodus. The Jews slaving away under Pharaoh...
This week, I expected to be a pro now that I'm in culinary school ;-) (We haven't entered the kitchen yet.) I go to the supermarket and in my perfect Hebrew I buy flour. I get back to the apartment whip out my sifter, pour the flour in and what do you know I didn't buy a normal flour. To be honest, I still now have absolutely no idea what it was. My hebrew-english translator couldn't figure it out either.
So I make my way back to the supermarket for the real stuff and then back to the apartment only to discover the only oil in the pantry was olive.
Two lessons came about from all this, the first to check all ingredients before beginning and the second to just go with it. I decided to go with the latter.
This Challah is made with olive oil. Usually I would have a heart attack before pouring olive oil into my shabbat dough, but I did it and here it is.