I adore challah, especially day-old slices cooked into toasty-brown French toast slathered with creamy butter and pure maple syrup! But, sadly, I’m not adept at making it myself. Not that I’ve actually tried more than once or twice, though.
And when you have a friend that’s a pro at baking up pairs of giant herbed challah loaves, why should you?
I’ve known Nancy Leader since our days at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Yes, it was many moons ago… She’s a fabulous cook and artist that can whip up an incredible painting just as easily as yummy Herbed Challah. Nancy’s one talented gal!
And, as you can see from this picture, she’s equally adept at drinking from both her left and right hands! (Sorry Nance, I couldn’t resist!)
When I was putting together my Hanukkah post recipes and ideas for this season, I knew I wanted to include a “yeasty” recipe. Since some of the best Hanukkah foods are made with yeast, especially sufganiyot and challah, I would be remiss to exclude one. (All Challah Photos Credited to: Nancy Leader)
A few weeks ago I featured a fabulous Hanukkah Celebration Feast featuring 6 delicious recipes, including a No Yeast Cilantro Oil Flatbread. I figured I’d let Nancy lend her challah know-how using yeast, and I do my thing using baking powder. I think the separation of duties turned out fabulously!
Here’s the link for this fabulous post, which also includes a really festive HANUKKAH PRINTABLE – The 8 Nights of Hanukkah Countdown Treat Bags! They’re kind of a Jewish “advent calendar”!
Fill each night’s bag with Hanukkah treats, dreidels, gelt and maybe even a few Hamantashen!
Don’t miss out on this incredible Middle Eastern appetizer buffet menu that’s filled with easy, but festive and delicious creations!
CLICK HERE: Middle Eastern Hanukkah Celebration Feast
Nancy was kind enough to show us how to make not one, but two different Herbed Challah! They both use the same herb/garlic mixture, but in her Herb Laced Challah, she incorporates it right into the dough.
Then, in the second version, she “stuffs” it inside and into slits she cuts into the braids of the unraised loaf. Hence my naming it Herb Stuffed Challah. Wow, is she creative, or what?
This multi-talented gal is also a prolific gardener, and living in Mississippi, Nancy enjoys a long growing season. Unlike me, where I’ve already stowed away the outdoor furnishings, she just stepped outside and plucked her fresh herbs for this recipe. Sometimes I actually miss living in Miami!
Nancy uses a fragrant mixture of garlic cloves, fresh basil, rosemary and oregano mixed with olive oil to “lace” and “stuff” her Herbed Challah.
It’s a heady mixture that produces an aroma when baking that will give you hunger pangs! But don’t be tempted to cut into your finished loaves of Herbed Challah until they’re completely cool!
I love hot bread as much as the next gal, but your challah’s texture will benefit greatly from cooling completely before being sliced! I know, it stinks, but it will be worth the wait, I promise!
I’d also like to mention that it’s completely okay to substitute different herbs, depending on what you have on hand. Or maybe your husband adores marjoram, throw some in too! I think Nancy would agree, you can go with any combination that you love, and it will be incredible.
I’ve create a series of graphics to take you through the process of making Herbed Challah, step-by-step as explained and demonstrated by Nancy Leader. Take it away Nancy!
So far, so good, it doesn’t look took hard, does it? I’ve got this, and so do you! Okay, let’s go to the next step.
I know there’s plenty of heat in Mississippi, but can you believe how high the dough rose on her patio table? Wow, I hope I can get mine to rise so well.
Because we live at 4,500 ft. above sea level, I need to alter my baking recipes for high altitude cooking. So, unfortunately, sometimes it’s a bit of a crap shoot!
Here’s where it gets interesting, first let’s see how she “laces” her challah!
Okay, that didn’t look too hard… No, seriously I think Nancy’s technique looks totally doable! I can’t wait to try it! Now let’s see how you “stuff” a challah!
I’m showing my age, but do you remember the old movie “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” starring Annette Funicello? The title popped into my head as I was writing the previous sentence. Funny how our minds work, isn’t it? Now, back to Herbed Challah!
Yes, the Stuffed Herb Challah looks a little more advanced. But I figure I’ll start out with the easier version, and once I’ve perfected my braiding technique, I’ll be ready for “stuffing”!
Now let’s get these delicious looking challah loaves into the oven, shall we?
And that’s how Nancy Leader makes her Herbed Challah, both “laced” and “stuffed”! Wasn’t that a ton of fun? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get out my flour and give these loaves a try! Are you with me gals?
Why not join in on the fun!
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Nutritional information should be considered an estimate only; please consult a registered dietician, nutritionist, or your physician for specific health-related questions. Please note that the recipe above is published using a recipe card plugin, with preexisting software which can auto-calculate metric measurements, as well as change the number of servings.