Baking For the First Rain

Illustration: Fresh challah roll with omelet (Image Credit: Dr. Barry Lynn © 2020)

Low pressure dropping down from the northwest will most likely bring periods of rain — our first rains! — as we move into the second half of this coming week.

There is still a question about the timing of the arrival of the rains. The global ensemble forecast shows the rain possibly arriving on Wednesday, but also it may hold off until Thursday. In any event, Wednesday should turn chiller and windier, with the coldest temperatures of the fall season to arrive Thursday and Friday.

After a brief warm up early next week, another fall rain may patter our shores and hills again.

With all this cool and possibly rainy weather on the way, some of you may want to turn to baking (if you haven't been baking already during the coronavirus lockdown!).

Cooking, like chemistry, takes hard work, and often experimentation. Here's supposed to be a perfect and delicious recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I too like to experiment in the kitchen. Sometimes, I just have an idea of my own, and other times I am encouraged (by the kids) to further adapt my own recipes.

You may have seen my recipe for Challah (which at the time I called the "Perfect or Best Challah Recipe") in The Jerusalem Herald a few years ago. It can be found here. Some of my kids are a bit picky about their Challah, so I eventually found it a good idea to make it better than perfect, or even better than best (or as some of my Hebrew-English speaking kids might say: more best).

Here's the new set of ingredients. It forms one round Challah (three strands) and seven or eight small Challah rolls (single strand). I make the big one round so they all fit on the same cooking sheet. I brush them with egg and olive oil mixed together, and sprinkle sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds on top (sunflower seeds are a good addition, too). [If you're making this in a bread machine, then just add in the order listed and use the dough setting.]

Blend together:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tbs honey

  • 3 tbs canola oil

  • 3 eggs (medium)

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp yeast (fast acting)

Add, mix, and knead:

  • 2 cups white flour

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup spelt flour

  • 2 tbs Gluten

  • [If you use large eggs, add another 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour.]

Let rise about one hour in a warm spot [45 C/110 F]. Deflate, shape, and allow to rise a second time for about half an hour in the same warm spot. Turn the oven on to 180 C/350 F and set the timer for 33 minutes which includes five minutes to heat the oven.

Further instructions can be found in my previous article here. The kids and I usually eat some of them fresh out of the oven Friday morning!

[Please note: Dr. Lynn's complete and accurate weather forecast can be found here. Editor]

Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.

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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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