TJHTalks x TISH Jewish Food Festival
CREATING COMMUNITY: JEWISH RECIPES AND STORIES
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Katja Goldman is known as the unofficial challah teacher of the Upper West Side, having taught literally hundreds of community members to bake challah. She co-authored the “Empire Kosher Chicken Cookbook: 225 Easy and Elegant Recipes for Poultry and Great Side Dishes”. Katja is a co-author of “The Community Table” with Judy Bunzl and Lisa Rotmil. Katja was a co-founder of YIVO’s Food as Roots program and is very active in Jewish Communal life. Katja was also a co-founder of the Slice of Life Bakery in Cambridge, MA and the executive chef for Barclay Bank.
Joy Levitt is the Executive Director at JCC Manhattan. Prior to coming to the JCC, she served as a congregational rabbi on Long Island and in New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and a Master’s degree from New York University. She was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She is the founder of the Jewish Journey Project, an initiative designed to revolutionize afternoon Jewish education for children, and the co-author of A Night of Questions: a Passover Haggadah. She serves on the boards of the Shefa School, a new Jewish community day school for children with language-based learning disabilities, and Plaza Jewish Community Chapels. She is married to Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, and together they have five children.
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University. Her books include Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki); and They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt). She has contributed entries on Jewish cookbooks and Jewish food to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Encyclopedia Judaica, and Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, and articles to Gastronomica, and is an avid cookbook collector. She received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is a cornerstone of progressive programming in New York, serving more than 55,000 people annually. It hosts over 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants’ minds, bodies, and spirits. A spectacular 11-story, 137,000-square-foot center for the community, its building at 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue is a place where people, across backgrounds and generations, can learn, play, and connect. The mission of The JCC in Manhattan is to foster an inclusive, engaged and informed community that embraces diversity and is rooted in Jewish values.
Winner of the 2016 European Museum of the Year Award, POLIN Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to recovering the memory of Polish Jews. Located on the site of the Warsaw ghetto and prewar Jewish neighborhood, POLIN Museum faces the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. Our multimedia narrative exhibition presents the thousand-year history of Polish Jews and the civilization they created. This is a legacy for future generations and call for dialogue in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect. POLIN Museum was created as a private-public partnership by the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, which initiated the project, and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the City of Warsaw. During its first five years of operation, POLIN Museum has attracted more than 4 million visitors.
[Recipe written by Katja Goldman, from the cookbook, “The Community Table, Recipes And Stories From The Jewish Community Center In Manhattan & Beyond.”]
Makes 2 Large Loaves
2 cups warm water
2 packages dry yeast (4 ½ teaspoons)
2 teaspoons plus 1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
4 extra-large eggs
6 to 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed, plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup grapeseed or safflower oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
3 tablespoons of one or a combination of sesame seeds, poppy seed, and za’atar (optional)
1 extra-large egg
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
1) To make the bread, place the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar over the water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes (this is called proofing or activating the yeast).
2) Add the honey, eggs, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, and the remaining sugar to the yeast. Beat hard with a bread whisk or stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth.
3) Add the salt and oil and continue to whisk or stir until the oil is incorporated. Stir in white whole-wheat and bread flour. Gradually add remaining all-purpose flour, starting one cup at a time. When you can no longer stir in the bowl, transfer to a lightly floured surface and continue to gradually add flour, kneading gently until dough is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. (The flour amount may vary depending on the age of the flour, the humidity, and the size of your eggs.) Form the dough into a ball.
4) Oil a large bowl and add the dough, turning it once to coat it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place it in a warm, draft-free spot, such as in an oven that’s turned off. Allow the dough to double in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. Poke the dough with 2 fingers; if the indentations remain, the dough has adequately risen; if the indentation fills in, cover the dough and allow it to rise 15 to 30 minutes more.
5) When the dough has doubled, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and deflate the dough by pushing down on it with the heels of your palms 3 or 4 times (called punching down the dough). If the dough feels sticky or seems too soft, knead in more flour. Divide the dough into two portions. Divide each portion into three equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a long uniform strand (about 16-inches). Place the three strands side by side lengthwise and braid them, resulting in two braided challah loaves.
6) Transfer each loaf to a parchment covered baking sheet. Allow the shaped dough to rise in a warm place until an indentation remains when the dough is poked lightly with a finger, 30 to 40 minutes.
7) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
8) To make the glaze, beat the egg in a small bowl with the water and honey, if using.
9) Bake the challot until they sound hollow when tapped (or to an internal temperature of 195 to 199 degrees F). Just before they are done (at 190 to 193 degrees F), remove them from the oven and brush with the glaze. Return the breads to the oven and bake until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Brush again with the glaze, sprinkle with the seeds, if using, and return them to the oven until they look shiny and the glaze looks cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on racks.