Challah (pronounced hallah) is a Jewish celebration bread, baked typically on the Sabbath, brushed with egg and braided. Following a recipe from The Bread Bible that stated it made one loaf, I dutifully braided my three strands, thinking to myself that it seemed awfully big already before the proof. As the loaf rose it grew and grew and grew right out of the pan I was planning on baking it on. I transferred pans, egg-washed, and baked big bertha off...an hour later as I pulled it out of the oven, it looked like a character out of ghost busters. Laughing hysterically I placed it on two wire racks to cool and thought to myself it could probably feed a whole village!
Linzer dough has an Austrian history dating back to 1653, named for the City of Linz, this sweet treat is one of Austria's most famous desserts. The dough traditionally consists of flour, ground nuts...typically almonds, sugar, yolks, spices and lemon zest and filled with preserves. This gave me the chance to use some of my hand-picked, homemade blackberry jam that I had made in Oregon (although traditionally black current preserves are used). I took my time rolling and cutting out each cookie then sandwiching the tasty jam in between, the final product looking just as hoped!
Wrapping up my projects, the scent of fresh baked bread and toasted almonds filled the cottage and I couldn't have felt more satisfied...hope you all had a fabulously warm and cozy holiday, see you in the next year!