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Cooking is prohibited on Shabbat, but foods can be kept warm by covering the heating element with a thin sheet of aluminum called a blech. Foods kept on the blech for more than an hour must remain hot, not warm, to prevent spoilage. For Shabbat lunch, enjoy a hearty Cholent. Shabbat Shalom, Good Shabbos!

CHALLAH (Norene's Prize-Winning Recipe)
Source: Second Helpings, Please!

1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
poppy or sesame seeds
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl which has first been rinsed with hot water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve.

Combine with oil, warm water, sugar, salt, eggs and half of the flour. Beat well. Stir in remaining flour. Dough should be sticky. Cover dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed.

Round up in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down, cover and let rise again until double, about 45 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal parts. (If you want to make 2 smaller challahs, first divide dough in half, then divide each half into 3 equal parts.) Shape into strands. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and braid loosely. Fasten ends securely. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until double. Brush with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with seeds. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes, until golden brown. (If making 2 smaller challahs, baking time will be about 25 minutes.)

All images and recipes Norene Gilletz, 2011

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