Round Challah for a Sweet New Year
Aug29

Round Challah for a Sweet New Year

Round Challah is a traditional sweet bread, served on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the cycle of life and a sweet new year. A few years ago, I was blown away by my cousin Carla’s homemade honey and raisin challah at our holiday celebration. Orna and Sam with Cousin Carla September, 2011 You probably already know that I have a thing for bread. I also have a major thing for challah. And topped with cinnamon sugar?! You’ve got to be kidding me! But how could I possibly make this incredible loaf myself?  Carla agreed to come over the next day and show me how it was done—removing the fear factor, and sparking my love for baking any kind of bread. Well, truthfully, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yeast, which is why I’ve included step-by-step details, so that even if you’ve never used yeast before, you can do this! And most importantly, enjoy the process. The instructions below are for kneading in a stand mixer, or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with some elbow grease. On her next visit from Vancouver, Carla surprised me with my very own copy of The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz, where she found this wonderful recipe. Highly Recommend! Both of these kind, generous bakers have inspired and encouraged me, and I hope to do the same for you! A special thank you goes out to Norene and friends in Norene’s Kitchen on Facebook for answering all my questions! Carla’s always getting on my back to be more “relaxed” and just enjoy cooking—but I’m sure that if I have all these questions and issues, someone out there does too, so here’s hoping that I’m making the process a little easier and less daunting. There’s no sweeter way to bring in the New Year than breaking fresh, homemade Challah with your family. Chag Sameach from our family to yours. xoxo      What you will need  Bubbled up yeast Make a well in the flour   Add the oil, eggs, water, salt, honey, and yeast mixture   Mix with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth   Knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky   Place in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to grease the top Cover and place in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 1 – 2 1/2 hours until doubled in size (or refrigerate overnight) Dough has doubled in size when you lightly poke two fingers into it and the indent doesn’t come right back out Roll into a long...

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Extreme Makeover for OrnaBakes and Bulkas on YouTube!
Aug26

Extreme Makeover for OrnaBakes and Bulkas on YouTube!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I launched OrnaBakes, with my Cinnamon Bulkas (yeast buns). Since then I’ve learned so much—about blogging, and cooking! You wouldn’t believe how much time and effort goes into each post… and how many programs and platforms I’ve had to master. (WordPress, MailChimp, iPhoto, iMovie, YouTube, Evernote, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, the list goes on…) When I started I barely even knew how to hold a full size camera, and was terrified to remove the memory card for fear of inserting it the wrong way into my Mac. Sam probably regrets nagging me to learn how to use iPhoto for all those years, because now every computer, camera, and iOS device in our house (of which there are many) is overtaken with pictures of food! It’s very rewarding to see what a long way my pics have come since my first post. Exhibit A: Featured Image from First Bulkas Post (9/27/12) Exhibit B: Updated Bulkas Post (Pic Optimized for Pinterest in 4:5 ratio, proven to get the most pins) These heavenly buns are my personal favorite, and along with my Crunchies—another traditional South African treat—are my Signature Bake. While perfectly sweet and buttery, they aren’t too rich—so your family can enjoy them anytime. (And they don’t completely break the calorie bank!) What better a recipe for the launch of my brand new site (So exciting!) I recently had a blast teaching a class on how to make them. My friend Liat’s sweet daughter Chloe was my Sous Chef. Watch the YouTube clip and see for yourself how simple it is. Proudly edited by yours truly—so please go easy on me. 🙂 Thank you to my saintly husband, Sam, for taking the time to record the class. And for listening to me go on about my website for hours on end… (He banned me from saying “bulkas” ever again!) They’re a little time-consuming, but well worth the effort. I’ve added step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and video clips to the recipe, so there’s no guesswork. Click here for the updated Cinnamon Bulkas Recipe. Just in time for the upcoming Jewish New Year Growing up in South Africa, it was our family tradition to break the fast on Yom Kippur with a warm Bulka (a/k/a Boolke). I wish that my Auntie Phyllie could see me sharing her special tradition with my little Aja. OrnaBakes 2.0 Rockin’ logo designed by sweetheart Sammy Jay Purkin! My Trader Joe’s and Costco Shopping Lists are now super-easy to navigate and print. It’s a snap to add comments or share your favorite recipes or posts. You can search recipes by diet, holiday, country, or type. A...

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Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns)
Sep26

Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns)

These soft, buttery buns, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, are just sweet enough, but not too rich—so you can enjoy them anytime! I like that these don’t look like the Cinnabon type cinnamon bun—the more common way to make them—and I love the satisfaction of peeling each layer apart. (Mmm… makes me salivate just thinking about it!) They’re heavenly warmed up for breakfast! Growing up in South Africa, it was our family tradition to break the fast on Yom Kippur with a warm Cinnamon Bulka (a/k/a Boolke). Waiting in anticipation to bite into Auntie Phyllie’s delicious, fresh-baked Bulkas made the fast all-the-more torturous! When I moved to Los Angeles, my friend’s mom, Rita—who took in all the stragglers for the holidays—gave me a taste of home with her mouth-watering Cinnamon Bulkas, passed down from Bobba Skuy, who grew up in little shtetl called Varklan, near Riga, Latvia. Nothing gives you more satisfaction than sitting down with a warm Bulka that you made from scratch! That’s why I went the extra mile to make these easy enough for anyone to enjoy making them. Watch the YouTube clip and see how simple it is. The highlight was making “bilkas” with Aja! It seems that no matter what you do to this dough they are still edible! (Well, to an almost-four-year-old, anyway!) I baked hers off in the toaster oven and she was in heaven! What you will need. Melted butter mixture. Yeast before proofing. Beautiful bubbled up yeast! Kneading the dough (Love this pic!). Smooth ball of dough. Set aside in a warm place to rise. Dough doubled in size. Dough has doubled in size when indentation remains after tips of fingers are pressed lightly and quickly into dough. Work with half the dough; refrigerate the rest. Divide each half into sixteen pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. With the craggy side up, flatten into a round. Keep rounds covered. Butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and slit from the centre to the edge. Form a triangle. Combine on one baking sheet, about an inch apart. Cover loosely and allow to rise for 20 – 30 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown. Transfer immediately to cooling rack. Sit down and enjoy a warm bulka and cup of tea/coffee/milk! Cool Tools Parchment Sheets Bench Scraper Silicon Pastry Brush Instant Read Thermometer Cuisinart 5 1/2 Quart Stand Mixer Resources The New Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum  Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns) 2013-08-03 18:26:23 Yields 32 Special Cinnamon Buns that kids and grown-ups will love to make and eat! Write a review...

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