I think Hanukkah may be my favorite time of year. I have been debating how to celebrate it with my Challah. I wanted to start the holiday off with an olive oil challah, but mis-timed my dough starting, so it will have to wait. So instead I opted for a challah shaped like a menorah.
To do this, I would need a nice, pliable dough. So I opted for a garlic & herb challah recipe I had. It is butter-based, so it is a dairy challah. But you can use any recipe you want. Then came the math… If I divided the dough into thirds, one third would be the longest and shortest candle-holder ropes. Another third would be the second- and third-longest. The final third would be the shamash holder, stem and base as well as all the flames/candles. Once the math was done, making it is rather simple and fun.
Garlic & Herb Challah
Adapted from Tasteof home.com
1/2 ounce instant yeast
1 tsp dried basil (from the garden)
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp dried oregano (from the garden)
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 egg (locally raised)
1 Tbsp butter, melted
In a saucepan, heat the milk, water and cubed butter to 120°-130° – til it feels warm on the back of your hand, not too hot. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth.
Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into thirds. Shape into a braid or, as I did, a menorah. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 1 challah