It is a tradition for me to post a new challah recipe in August. August is a month corresponding to no holidays in the Jewish Calendar. So I like to focus on the celebration of Shabbat during this month in my articles. Shabbat is written about in the Torah. It is a commandment by G-d to observe Shabbat from Friday night at sundown to Saturday night at sundown. Shabbat is the most important day of the week. In fact, the Jewish tradition considers Shabbat more sacred than Yom Kipper. Shabbat means to rest or cessation of labor. In preparation for Shabbat, the most important step to take is to prepare to receive the Divine Presence and welcome the Sabbath Bride. One also cleans the house, sets a nice Shabbat dinner table and prepares a nice Shabbat meal, bathes and dresses up. As Shabbat begins, the mother of the family will traditionally light two candles, which represent the mitzvot to “remember” and “observe.” The lighting of the candles is then followed by a b’racha, a blessing. Then, the man of the house recites the Kiddush over the wine. Just before dinner, people wash their hands, and make a blessing over the challah (there are two challahs), saying a blessing known as the motzi. It is also customary to dip the challah in salt before eating it. The meal itself may vary but, at the end of the meal the birkat ha-mazon, the grace after meals, is recited. Another beautiful custom that may take place at the Shabbat dinner table is the parents bless their children. Some choose to spend their Shabbat in the synagogue, praying and welcoming the Shabbat Bride with family and friends.
Most of the time, you will find the Velicks at Temple in Denver on Friday night but once a month I like to spend a more intimate Shabbat at home with family and friends. However, making gluten free challah to the satisfaction of any family member or friend that comes over on Shabbat has been quite challenging. I finally made this challah recipe and it was a pretty big hit. Do you know why we eat an egg-based bread on Shabbat? Please let me know if you know the answer. I have been doing some pretty interesting research on eggs. Do you know how producers get DHA’s in the eggs we buy? Well, the chickens are fed a special diet including lots of flaxseed, whose oil is about 55 percent alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and then this gets into their eggs and then we eat DHA- fortified eggs. How cool is that?
Gluten Free Challah for Shabbat
3 cups Gluten Free flour
1 ½ t salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 T Instant Yeast
1 T Xanthan Gum
12 oz. of Club Soda
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Place flour in a bowl. Add salt and sugar and yeast. Mix well. Transfer to a standing mixer.
Add club soda, oil and eggs and mix for 4 minutes.
Shape or place in a challah bread pan. Egg wash and cover in plastic for 45 minutes to rise until double in size.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.