Vayechi: A Sack of Flour
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
It all started with a lack of food. That lack prompted Yaakov to send his children down to Egypt to bring supplies home.
This resulted in a chain of events in which Joseph discovered his brothers and hiding a goblet in a sack of wheat.
Grains are a major part of our diet and are used in many forms of cookery, the most common of course is Bread.
Below you will find some important halachot (laws) about bread and of course some great healthy bread recipes.
Have a Great Shabbat,
Chef Yochanan Lambiase
Founder of The Jerusalem Culinary Institute
• The Flour: Challah is separated when the dough is made of one or more of the following five grains: wheat, rye, barley, oat or spelt.
• The Liquid: In order to be able to recite the blessing, the majority of the liquid content of the dough must be water. If the majority of the liquid content is comprised of liquids other than water (e.g., oil, eggs, honey, fruit juice, etc.), challah should be separated, but without reciting the blessing. However, at least one drop of water should be added to the liquid.
• The Dough: Challah is not separated from a sweet cookie or cake batter that is loose (as opposed to a heavy batter/dough, like that of a babka).
• The Quantity: In order to separate challah and recite the blessing, the dough should contain at least 59 ounces (3 lbs. 11 oz., or 1 and 2/3 kilograms) of flour. If the amount of flour is between 43 and 59 ounces (1.230 to 1.666 kilograms), challah should be separated without a blessing. Do not separate challah if the dough contains less than 43 ounces of flour.
Sprouted Rye Berry Bread
4 cups rye berries
8 cups water for sprouts
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups starter (*recipe below)
This bread requires advanced planning - preparations begin 5 days before baking.
Soak 4 cups dry Rye berries in 8 cups lukewarm water for TWO DAYS. Drain off the water and rinse well, draining again.
Let the berries stand out covered by plastic wrap for THREE DAYS until the rye berries have sprouted. Now add the starter, honey, cardamom seeds, salt and oil.
Place the mix into a food processor and blend until you form a soft dough.
Form into three equal loaves. Place onto greased baking pans then bake at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes.
* Starter -
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
2 cups water, room temperature
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1. In a medium bowl, add the yeast to warm water and then let stand for about ten minutes.
2. Stir in flour until mixture forms a thick batter.
3. Cover the bowl with a loose cover of plastic wrap and let it stand for about three days.
4. Every day, stir the mixture. After about three days, the starter will begin to bubble and have a yeasty, sour aroma.
5. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator.
Easy Spelt Bread
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105° to 110° F)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 cups spelt flour (use any combination of whole or white spelt)
Combine the yeast, water and honey in a large warm bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes or until the yeast softens. Stir in the butter and salt and 3 cups of the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining flour in increments until the dough becomes too stiff to stir, then place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 6 minutes, adding any remaining flour as necessary, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Do not overknead.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Grease two 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaf pans. Punch the dough down to deflate it and divide it in half. Form each half into a smooth loaf and place in a prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the top of the pans.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Uncover the risen loaves. Place the pans on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until the tops are light brown and crusty. Remove from the oven and tap out of the pan into the baking sheet. Turn the oven off and return the breads to the oven to crisp for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.