It seems that the Aviary has become my personal Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
“To take challah” is, literally, to “sacrifice” a piece of the bread dough from which a special braided Sabbath loaf is made (more information here). This afternoon I knitted a challah, formed it into a dove, and sacrificed it in the kitchen oven.
A Sabbath ritual? Performance piece? Performing peace?
The recipe for Sacrificial Dove Challah follows:
oversized chopsticks (the kind professional Chinese chefs use)
My family’s challah recipe (I think the source was a King Arthur Flour brochure, from the 70’s) – makes three loaves
2 c hot water
6 Tbls butter
2 pkgs yeast
2 Tbls sugar
2 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
6.5-7 c bread flour
1 additional egg, for glazing
- Melt the butter in the hot water. Pray for peace.
- When lukewarm, add the yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 c flour. Beat very well (an electric mixer is perfect for this). Add remaining flour until dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl, and knead for 8-10 minutes. Pray for peace.
- Grease the bowl (more butter), return the dough to the bowl and allow to double. Pray for peace.
- Punch down, “take challah” (pinch a walnut-sized piece and set aside to “sacrifice” in the oven floor), divide into three portions, braid (or knit) into loaves.
- Cover lightly on lined or greased baking sheet, allow to rise again, paint with beaten egg, bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25-40 minutes, until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. Cool on racks. Pray for peace.
Then share the challah in conversation about peace.
More photos of the process here.