Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Countdown 2009....& My Cheesy Herb Challah

"The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to."

So much so for a laugh...! Ok I am not a sceptic, its just that I couldn't resist adding humour to my last post while I bid adieu to 2008. Its been a year well lived! Have nurtured some great friendships..both in the real and the virtual world. Hope I have touched a few lives on the way.

As I look forward to the year 2009...I can't help but anticipate what it holds for me...for us! However one things for sure...I am going to welcome it with all my heart !!

My experimentations with food knows no bounds. Mum didn't tell me that I couldn't play with my food..so here I am, playing with what I have at hand.Had seen pictures of challahs and wreath breads in so many T.V. shows and cook books. Had wanted to make them for sometime and I am glad I did it today, with obviously my 'savoury' twist in this overtly 'sweet' season. Trying something new is always so gratifying!

I made this Cheesy Herb Challah in the evening to go with my Masala Cola. (will post that later)

Challah is a special braided bread eaten by some groups of Sephardic Jews on the Sabbath and holidays.
According to Jewish tradition, Sabbath and holiday meals begin with a blessing over four loaves of bread (two Friday night and two Saturday afternoon). This "double loaf" commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion fell before the Sabbath and holidays.
It is these chunks of bread, recognizable by their traditional braided style, that are commonly referred to as challah.

Cheesy Herb Challah


1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp sugar
a pinch of salt
½ cup warm milk
1 egg , beaten
Extra flour for dusting

1 cup cream cheese
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp dried oregano flakes


In a small bowl of warm milk, add the sugar, salt, yeast and butter. Mix well and rest for 5 mins.
Tip: If the yeast is good, you will see bubbles.

In a large bowl, sieve the flour and make a well in the center. Add the beaten egg and the yeast-mix liquid. Slowly incorporate the flour into the liquid with your hands and knead well to form a soft pliable dough. Put the dough in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap.Let rest for 30 minutes till double in size.
Tip: Take care to place the bowl in a warm place, preferably near the gas stove/oven.

When the dough has risen, punch down and knead again. Let rest covered.

After the second rise, punch down the dough and knead well again.
Roll out the dough into approximately a 6x7 inch rectangle.

For the filling- mix the cream cheese, garlic and oregano together.

On the rolled out dough, spread the filling, leaving about a cm. on each side.
Now, gently yet firmly roll the rectangle dough with the spread, (away from you) to form a long cylinder.

Using a very sharp knife carefully cut the cylinder lengthways in half.
Working with the cut sides facing upwards, twist the halves together to form a braid/plait.
Put on a baking tray and shape the twists into a neat ring, twisting ad pinching the ends of the strands together to close the ring.

(I made a small wreath/challah as I was experimenting. Double the quantity if you want a bigger one.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the ring is firm and golden. (or MW for 10 minutes on medium high setting).

Since this is the last post of 2008, I send it over to a lot of friends..that I made this year. :)

I send this over to Lynn (of CookieBakerLynn) for the baking event she is hosting this month.

And to SriLekha(of Me and My kitchen) for her EFM-Savouries for December'08.
Also I share this with Lore for her monthly event-Culinarty Original Recipe.
Heres' for you too Trupti (of Recipe Center) for her Winter Treat event.

And since the cream cheese is white in color, the dish is sent over to Lubna (of Yummy Food) for FIC- White. An original creation of Harini a.k.a. Sunshinemom (of Tounge Ticklers).

The goodness of cheese is good for a pregnant woman, hence this also goes to Sangeeth (of Art of cooking Indian Food) for her Eat Healthy-Pregnancy event.

It was a recipe inspired from a cookery show I had seen long back on Discovery, so this goes to Ruth (of Ruth's Kitchen) for her Bookmarked Recipes event.

I hereby send this over to Susan (of Wild Yeast) for her weekly event Yeast Spotting.

In the nick of time, I rush this over to Annarasa for her Bread Baking Day #15 event-Festive Breads.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!! My heartiest wishes for a great year ahead. :)


  1. each day someone is coming up with mouth watering recipsssss..........:-)....ei rokom jodi tui korte thakish ami hong kong pouche jabo....tor hather ranna khete.....hehehehe....
    wish u a very happy new year dear!!!!

  2. Hi Navita, I was out on vacation but unfortunately the kids and I ended up with a stomach infection - recovered today only!

    Thanks for the lovely entry - My daughter is a huge cheese fan and I just scrolled this down soon, otherwise I will have to make one tomorrow itself:)

    Your challah certainly looks divine!

    Wish you both a very happy new year!

  3. aahbo aashbo.....:-)

  4. wow Navita, Challah looks very delicious..thanks for sharing & sending this recipe for the event

  5. thanks guys..i am overwhelmed at all the appreciation. :)have a great year!

  6. You're back! I couldn't find you for awhile!

  7. Thats new to me Blonde Duck...what was the error msg u were receiving..need to know, so that I can rectify, if required.
    thanks for letting me know though. :)

  8. Thank you so much for stopping by.... These are fabulous!!! For some reason the Challah reminds me of a pretz... hehe

  9. opps.. did the comment come through..

  10. hehehe girl...yes a giant pretz..lol.

  11. Pretty Cheesy Challah! Have a wonderful and healthy new year:)

  12. i myself am wondering how to sign up for tastemakers :) i will ask some of my friends and let u know later.

  13. Hi Navita!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, and taking interest in my peaches cookies! You are a great baker, so you will definitely master them!

    See, when they are just baked you get halves. To core them you use a small knife, and just kind of core a little of the each halve right in the middle of the flat side.
    There is a link within my peaches cookies post (http://cafechocolada.blogspot.com/2008/02/peaches-breskvice.html)that takes you to my other post about them where I used a different recipe, but you can see pictures of peaches cookies in making step by step; that should help. Use the recipe from my newer post, they're awesome, and end up prettier too. If you have any other questiuons leave me a comment, in the meantime I'll put an email link where people can email me with questions, I should so do that! :)

    You have a great blog too, thanks for inviting me! Off to look through it now :) Happy New Year!!!

  14. Funny quote and wonderful bread. Happy new year :)

  15. Like when I would click on your profile or try to visit your blog, it would say you didn't exist or the blog had been discontinued.

  16. Hi Navita, thanks for dropping by. Savory Challah is definitely an interesting idea. I hope I become confident/patient enough to try baking yeast breads somtime soon. Happy New Year.

  17. Hey Navita the herb challah looks really good, loved the savory treat among all the sweet ones I see these days....Happy New Year ! Hope you have a fabulous 2009 :-)

  18. Beautiful Challah! I loved your post... Happy New Year to you!!! :)

  19. Wish u a very happy new year!

    Great recipe!

  20. Thanks for visiting Navita.The challah is perfect and love the info you have given with it.Perfect & tasty entries for the events.

  21. I've never seen challah done this way, how intriguing! Thank you for joining YeastSpotting!

  22. I love the idea of a cheese challah but I didn't know where to start. Thanks for sharing your recipe! :) Happy New Year to you too :D

  23. Lovely challah you have there! The Bread Baking Babes did our Challah in October and we all had fun doing the bread.

    We'd love to have you as a Bread Baking buddy sometime. To be a Bread Baking Buddy you just have to bake the bread we make that month within a few days after we all post about our bread of the month and then contact the Host Kitchen blog (Cookie Maker Lynn was our host kitchen this month for our Swedish Yule Wreaths) with a link to your post about our bread of the month.

    Cheers and Happy New Year

  24. The challah looks delicious Navita! Wish I could take a bite :)
    Thanks for sharing it with the Original Recipes Round-Up!
    Happy New Year to you and your family!!!

  25. This is a really lovely loaf. I never would have thought about sing cheese with challah. Nicely done!

  26. Thank you girls....I am honoured :)

  27. Great receipe, thanks for sharing the interesting cultural history as well.

  28. Zen thanks for following me :)

  29. Never thought of the cheese and oregano, what a good idea! Looks great!

  30. Wow, I'm impressed that you managed to weave this without losing all the filling. Looks lovely and delicious as well.

  31. This is absolutely divine, im gonna try it out

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  32. Sorry I'm so late seeing this.
    I love your cheesy challah!

  33. I get best, fresh, tasty food all the time and I'm still stressed out.
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  34. Nice Blog.I really like your content.Thanks for sharing.

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  35. It's great how do people get surprise when I told that I mad that instead of buying it. they never believe that I can make this shape.


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