More backdated reviews - Livre d'Or — LiveJournal

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More backdated reviews
Saturday, 31 January 2004 at 05:30 pm

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Comments on The Silmarillion and Use of Weapons are now up. That's about me up to date for this month, I think.
Not much new on the diary front. I did a repeat run of the lecture on Judasim I gave last term, this time out in Forfar. This audience was both smaller and kinder than last time, but I think on the whole it was successful. I was sharing the stage with a Sikh speaker, and learnt loads about Sikhism. I have to say, the more I learn about it the more I feel drawn to it, as a religion. All good fun.

Went to J&J for Friday night last night. LC and her bloke, and RB were also there, and it was generally lovely. J&J really have a feeling for the shabbat atmosphere, and their older boy B is just starting to get the hang of what's going on. It's really wonderful to welcome the Sabbath with them, in a proper family. Not that I mind celebrating with students and friends, but there's something very special about going to J&J's. And Mrs J made a really wonderful meal, including home-made challah and many other yummy things.

B is the most incredible child: his favourite bedtime story at the moment is An illustrated social history of Britain's railways... He's learning to talk very, very slowly, but he is making noticeable progress. The little one is still too little to be interesting, but hey, he'll grow.

As for today, it's been sleety and horrible all day, so I stayed in and played on LJ, and did fun things with aubergines. Have stressful week ahead, with a lab meeting plus a meeting with the Überboss. But after Tuesday I might be able to breathe a bit.

Moooood: relaxedrelaxed
Tuuuuune: Saint-Saëns: Piano Trio in E major
Discussion: 3 contributions | Contribute something

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Date:January 31st, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
32 minutes after journal entry
I have had challah before, many years ago, when visiting my Jewish friend Nicole and her family, and I loved it. Is it okay to eat it as an ordinary food, or should it be kept for the special occasion of Shabbat?

If the former, can one buy it anywhere easily, or should I try making it? :) (Probably silly questions, sorry!)
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livredor: words
Date:January 31st, 2004 07:17 pm (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 07:17 pm (livredor's time)
I have had challah before... Is it okay to eat it as an ordinary food
The main point of challah is to be nice; there's no particular religious significance to that specific type of bread. And the main difference between it and normal bread is that the dough is enriched with egg; it is, however, different from brioche, but I'm not sure exactly what in the baking procedure makes it different. I can't imagine anyone would be offended by your eating some.

should it be kept for the special occasion of Shabbat?
Many Jewish people think it is important to keep some foods special for shabbat; it doesn't have to be challah, but that's a fairly obvious example. But there's no direct reason for not eating any given food on normal days. If you're not Jewish anyway, there's no reason at all not to eat it whenever, I think.

can one buy it anywhere easily
You can buy challah quite easily; I've seen stuff sold as 'challah' in supermarkets, Tescos and Sainsburys for example. Nice, authentic challah is a bit more difficult; you'd probably want a kosher bakery, and there aren't that many of those except in Jewish areas. lethargic_man often brings me challah from Golders Green when he comes to visit, cos no way can I get it in Dundee!

Or should I try making it?
If you like making bread anyway, I believe it's fairly easy. I'm not the best person to ask, cos I really can't bake to save my life. But my sister, and J, and darcydodo, and hatam_soferet all know how to make challah. So you could ask either of the latter two, or I could ask the former two on your behalf, if you'd like me to. Or does anyone else feel like telling taimatsu a good recipe for challah?

In fact, darcydodo has a recipe on her site; if you know enough about breadmaking to follow that, it might be a good place to start! Darcy's challah contains rather a higher proportion of egg than is quite typical (it's been described as 'slightly bread-like omelette!'), but it's very nice.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) (1/31/04 08:19 pm)
livredor: letters (thanks to darcydodo)
Date:February 4th, 2004 08:17 pm (UTC)
4 days after journal entry, 08:17 pm (livredor's time)
this sounds like the kind of recipe you might arrive at if you were trying to bake bread with flour that has a relatively low gluten content (i.e. extra sugar to make the yeast generate more CO2, egg to help trap it in the dough)
I'm seriously impressed with that inference! Wow. I have no idea whether you're right or not, but it's a very cool theory. What kind of flour would have a low gluten content, though? I do know that you can go heavy on the eggs in order to make things of cake-like consistency out of not very flour-like substances such as ground almonds or potato flour.

Maybe you can correlate that with challah's historical origins?
Funnily enough, I have absolutely no idea where or how challah comes from. I think because it doesn't have any specific religious meaning, the origin is not something that really gets discussed. Claudia Roden is the most likely source I can think of; I will ask my mother to consult her copy, next time I speak to her.
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