For years and years and years I relied on my sister’s amazing bread machine challah recipe. It never failed me…until it did and forced me to figure out how to make challah with a stand mixer. (Let’s be honest, I think it was more the bread machine failing than the recipe itself.)
The other day, struck by a sudden craving, I realized that I could probably tweak the original recipe to make challah with a stand mixer instead of the bread machine. After all, I use my mixer to make all sorts of rolls, no reason I couldn’t use it to make challah as well!
Took a little tweaking, but I managed to convert the recipe and, if I do say so myself, improve on it a little. This challah recipe doesn’t have much hands-on time, but does require a few hours of proofing time, so plan accordingly.
Mix the yeast with the warm water and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Let it stand for 5 minutes on until the yeast has activated and the mixture is frothy.
Pour the yeast mixture into the stand mixer bowl and add the rest of the sugar, the butter, the eggs and one egg yolk, the salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Using the dough hook, let the machine start mixing the ingredients together.
If the dough looks too sticky, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough starts to form into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Allow the stand mixer to kneed the dough for 8-10 minutes. The dough will be ready when it's smooth and silky and bounces back when you press a finger into it. If you're not quite sure the dough is ready, you can always turn it out onto a floured surface and kneed it a little by hand. You want the dough to be supple enough to fold and kneed without too much strength. You don't want the dough to become tough.
If you want to add chocolate chips to your challah, turn it out onto a floured surface and fold in the chocolate chips as you kneed it a few more times. (Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the dough, fold it over, stretch it out, sprinkle more chocolate chips, fold it over again and repeat until you feel your dough has enough chocolate chips spread out in it.)
Cover the bowl of dough with a clean dishcloth and set in a warm space. (If it is cold where you are, you can preheat the oven to 200F, turn it off, and place the bowl in the warm oven with the door left open.) Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. Usually takes a little over an hour.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into three equal parts and roll or stretch them out into logs of equal length. Braid the three logs and tuck the ends under. Place your braided loaf onto a greased baking sheet, cover with a clean dishcloth, and allow to rise for another 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F and brush the top of the challah with a beaten egg yolk to give it a deep golden finish. At this point you can sprinkle your challah with sesame sees, poppy seeds, or just a sprinkle of kosher salt.
Bake for 28-30 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack so the bottom doesn't become soggy.
There you have it. Easy challah with a stand mixer. Trust me when I tell you that nothing tastes better than bread that you made with your own two hands eaten straight from the oven, slathered with a healthy pat of butter or a generous dollop of Nutella.
While we are all stuck at home during this indeterminate amount of time, waiting as patiently as possible for the Covid-19 virus to run its course and the world to right itself, here at Casa de Rosenberg, we are increasing our baking frequency and our waistlines all at the same, totally unrelated, time. Rapidly waning bananas prompted me to create this recipe, made from a mish-mash of a whole bunch of other recipes that just didn’t have everything I wanted in a banana bread. Enjoy!
Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
Moist, chocolaty, and not too banana-y. The perfect quarantine treat!
Preheat oven to 350F and prepare one large or two small loaf tins.
Combine all of the dry ingredients and set aside.
With a hand or stand mixer, cream softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
While still mixing, add the eggs one at a time, waiting for each to be well incorporated before adding the next.
Beat in the sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla extract.
Beat in the mashed bananas.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour into the loaf tins and bake for 60-75 minutes. Your banana bread is ready to come out of the oven when an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean of batter. (Your knife/toothpick will have melted chocolate on it.)
Turn loaves onto a cooling rack and allow to cool. Loaves can be well wrapped up and frozen.
In 2012 my father had a double lung transplant from which he never really recovered. He passed away less than three years later after spending most of those years in and out of the ICU.
A few months after my dad passed away, we discovered that my mother had a form of frontal lobe dementia. Some weird rapid progressing type. 6 months or so later, we discovered that she had metastatic breast cancer. Terminal, metastatic breast cancer, as if there’s any other kind.
So, in short, and not to be crass or cold about it, for the last seven years, I’ve had a parent who was dying. Which is horrible, and sad, and all the things that you’re supposed to feel, but also absolutely utterly exhausting. Because of all the waiting for bad news, waiting for “the” call, waiting for grief to start even though you’re already grieving.
I could go into all the crazy mixed-up feelings I have about all of this, but you don’t want that, trust me, and frankly, I don’t want to, which, in a round-about way, brings us somewhat to the point of today’s post.
Because, duh, books. Other people’s lives, other people’s problems, other people dealing with them. The ultimate escape. Especially when they so kindly wrap things up neatly in the last three chapters leaving you feeling like some things DO have nice tidy resolutions.
Only I’ve taken it further. Way way further. I fell HARD into the bottomless pit of magical fantasy. Werewolves, vampires, witches, warlocks, magicals, faeries…you name it, if it was the focus of a book, preferably a very long rambling series, I dove in headfirst.
Because you know what’s even better than escaping into someone else’s scripted reality? Escaping into a reality that in no way at ALL could possibly ever resemble mine and therefore force me to confront any of the zillion complicated feelings that I so desperately don’t want to feel or even acknowledge. (Oh, how glad I am my therapist doesn’t read my blog or I know exactly where our session would be starting next week…)
Oh, you’re a witch given up at birth because your parents knew how magically strong you were and wanted to protect you from the evil magical council overlords? Sign. Me. Up.
A werewolf pack with an unusual pack member? Tell me more!
Evil heartless fairy discovers he has a heart? Please go on…this has potential!
Vaguely interesting sounding series about a vampire boarding school that has 25 books in the series. OMG, could there be anything more perfect?
And then last night I finished a book in a series (Demi-God meets super strong magical abandoned at the age of 3 if you must know) and I found myself opening a realistic fiction novel.
Picking up a realistic fiction novel feels momentous to me. Like I’m finally ready to crawl out of my safe little cave and face the world and possibly my own feelings.
This novel is about a woman whose husband walked out on her and their kids and has just reappeared in their lives. So not too relatable for me, but it’s a start because the focus of the book is on how she spends her summer rediscovering herself and, frankly, that’s what it feels I’ve been doing since we moved last July.
Beyond just hiding from my feelings, I’ve spent the last two years putting off “figure out who post-40 Jessica really is,” figuring that I’d better get through the process of grieving my mother before I even bothered. Because, remember, I’ve already done the dead parent thing and I know first hand that grief is this unwieldy monster that can’t be tamed and must rather be endured or rather waited out. Back in 2015, grief took over my life and stole months of it away and I just know that’s what my not-so-distant future holds for me.
But sometime in the last couple months I realized that I’ve spent the last seven years waiting for grief to wallop me upside the head and derail my life. And, to be fair, it did for a while, but then I just went right back to waiting for it to do it all over again.
Seven. Years. 1/6th of my life. Putting me on hold because big bad things were coming.
I can’t do it any more.
‘Taking back my life’ is a process that is starting small. I’ve started investing in my physical health. Paying for a fat loss plan that’s actually working, partly because I’ve stopped being defeatist about my weight and partly because the plan is awesome*. (If you follow me on Instagram you can enjoy my endless gushing and raving about it.) Paying for a yoga studio membership, because spending a couple hours each week breathing deeply and actually being in my physical body rather than my mind is good for me in every way possible.
I’m not sure what comes after that. Reading more realistic fiction and less fantasy fiction for sure. Possibly diving into the edits of the last two NaNo Novels I wrote. Maybe, gasp, figuring out what I would do if I ever granted myself time “off” from homeschooling, working, parenting and running a household (I’m open to any and all suggestions!).
I remember once hearing a joke about a guy who lived in an apartment. The guy who lived right above him and the terrible habit of coming home late at night and stomping into his room where he would take off his heavy work-boots and drop them on the floor. Every night, the neighbor below would bitch and moan about jolted awake by the loud THUDS and, in the morning would go upstairs to complain loudly to the offender. Then, one night, the upstairs guy came home and clomped his way to his room, took off one boot, dropped it, and suddenly remembered to put the other boot down gently. Three hours later he was jerked awake by a loud pounding on his door. As soon as he opened it, the downstairs neighbor yelled “OH MY GOD, JUST DROP THE SECOND BOOT I CAN’T STAND THE SUSPENSE ANY LONGER!”
I’m tired of being tired, tired of waiting and putting my life on hold while I brace myself for the news I know is coming. My mother is still dying. She could pass away tomorrow or in six months. No one knows. Her doctors are frankly baffled that she’s still alive. That call is coming whether I brace myself for it or not. I might as well live my life instead of keeping it on ice while I wait.
*This is an affiliate link. If you click it then sign up for the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, I will receive a small commission. That commission will in no way impact the amount you will be paying.
You know it, I know it, everyone knows it, avocados are the thing right now. I live in California so to us, they’ve always been the thing, but apparently the rest of the world has caught on (thank you Keto craze!) and have made the avocado prices soar, uh I mean, have made avocados crazy popular. Especially in toast form. Which, I will admit to not quite “getting” at first. I mean, I love toast, don’t get me wrong, but I like it with excellent butter and some first rate jam. amirite? I used to really enjoy my avocado on burgers and the like, but then I started the FASTer Way to Fat Loss* and had to go gluten free for a bit all while radically increasing my avocado intake and, well, suddenly avocado toast didn’t seem so unappealing. Except, gluten free = no actual toast.
Enter the magical potato waffle. Take some hash brown potatoes, mix in some egg white and a couple spices and poof, you have a delectable toast variation to do your avocado justice. Doing the FASTer Way to Fat Loss or tracking your Macros? This is a great source of good carbs, healthy fats, and protein. Perfect for both regular and low macro days.
(Welcome to the first It’s My Life… recipe. If you’re new here, be sure to subscribe so you never miss a recipe or post. If you’re a regular, I hope you’ll stick around and enjoy the new developments around these parts! Got recipes you’d like me to share? Leave a comment below or message me. And please, do me a solid and click that “Pin” button below!
Hope today is delicious and wonderful in every way.
*Please note: this FASTer Way to Fat Loss link is an affiliate link. If you click it and decide to sign up for the program, I will receive compensation. If you click through and decide to sign up for the program, please let me know. I’d be thrilled to help you in any way I can!
Hashbrown Potato Waffle Avocado Toast
These hash brown potato waffles are ready in just minutes and make the perfect base for some tasty gluten free avocado toast.
Plug in your waffle iron and turn it to the highest setting. Allow it to warm up while you prepare your potatoes.
If using frozen hash brown potatoes, defrost using the microwave in short bursts. If using regular potatoes grate and wrap in a clean dish-cloth to wring out as much water as possible. Don't be afraid to squeeze hard!
Crack one of the eggs over the potatoes, letting about half the egg white pour over them. Put the rest of the egg in another bowl.
Add finely chopped green onion, dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and TJ's Everyday Seasoning and any other spices that appeal to you. Mix well.
Spray the waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and spread the potato mixture out on the bottom of the waffle iron. NOTE: The potatoes will NOT spread like regular waffle batter would. You MUST spread it out. Cook for 8-10 minutes until crispy. The waffle iron WILL steam. This is totally normal.
While the waffle iron is doing its thing, place the bacon on a cold skillet and turn the heat to medium, high. When the bacon is about half cooked, push it to the side and add the eggs to the skillet.
Remove the potato waffle from the iron and top with avocado, bacon and eggs. Enjoy this amazing treat. Repeat tomorrow and every lunch hereafter.