Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rosh Hashanah 5773 | Pomegranate Challah & A Giveaway!!! {closed}

As I wrote about in my post on pomegranate-shaped challah, it's no secret that I love pomegranates. I have a pomegranate-shaped necklace, and our ketubah has a pomegranate on the scroll. There is a powerful symbolism around pomegranates and fertility, abundance, and the new year. Many people eat them on the second night of the holiday as their traditional "new fruit." Additionally, pomegranates supposedly contain 613 seeds, the same number as the mitzvot in the Torah.
This challah turned out to be quite a challenge, but I learned a few things in the process of making it. Besides a recipe, I'm excited to share with you the amazing way of removing the seeds from a pomegranate without staining your fingers and your clothes (no kidding, I actually wore a white shirt while seeding my pomegranate... totally clean!). Pomegranate seeds--arils--are watery, sweet, and crunchy. For some reason, I sort of expected them to change consistency in baking... which they really didn't. I had an idea that they'd become like cranberry texture. They don't. But don't let that deter you. This bread is delicious and the additions of extra aromatic spices and pomegranate juice are a fun twist.

1/2 c water
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry or instant yeast
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp sugar or more for a sweeter challah
2 egg plus 1 more for egg wash
1/4 c neutral oil such as canola or vegetable
3 1/2 c bread flour
1 tsp salt
scant 1 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground cloves (just a pinch)
3-5 tbsp pomegranate juice (I used Trader Joe's organic)
Arils (seeds) of 1 pomegranate

Yield: 2 nice-sized round challot. You can either coil or make a braided round.

Please note, adding juice to challah may change the brakha said of this bread depending on the customs of your community. Check with your rabbinic authority for clarification on the laws of challah.

Place very warm but not boiling water in mixing bowl. Add yeast and honey, mixing lightly. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy.  Add eggs and vegetable oil and mix with wood spoon.  Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, and pinch ground cloves.  At this point, your dough should be on the shaggy side because it's lacking in liquid.  Don't worry too much about this.
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If you have a stand mixer, beat dough hook or knead by hand. Add the pomegranate juice slowly (I poured it into a glass) until a ball forms and holds together, cleaning the sides of the mixing bowl.  This dough has a lovely dark color due to the addition of the juice.  If the dough is very sticky, add more flour.
Turn the ball out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times until very smooth.  Place in oiled bowl and cover in plastic wrap or a towel.  Now you can prepare your pomegranate!  Place a piece of paper towel over your cutting board and cut open the pomegranate (the paper towel keeps those staining juices from trickling down onto you and your clothes).  Take half of the fruit and place it a bowl of water, using your hands to break out the seeds underwater.  The heavy seeds will sink to the bottom, while the membrane and skins will float.  Amazing right?  No mess!
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When you're done, you can skim off the membrane and skin and then pour the contents of the bowl through a strainer.  Ta-da!

Allow to rise at least one hour, preferably more (usually about an hour and a half), until doubled in size.   With some extra flour ready, knead the pomegranate seeds into the dough by hand and shape as desired.  I ended up adding about 1/4 c of additional flour.

Allow to shaped loaves to rise an additional 20-30 minutes. Top with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
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Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Since round challot tend to be doughy in the middle, check at 20 and 25 minutes, foiling the top as necessary to prevent over browning.  The challot are ready when internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
As I said, these challot are different. The seeds are a little juicy and a little gummy. They pop in your mouth and have a lovely tang. The spices of the bread are aromatic which I think is one of my favorite parts along with the pomegranate juice. This particular pomegranate also didn't seem quite as ripe (the seeds weren't all bright red like you sometimes get). However, I'm calling this a success. The Hazz and I enjoyed one loaf, and we're freezing the other to serve in a few weeks. I can't believe it's already the middle of Elul!

This High Holiday season, Nirbeh zchuyoteinu k'rimon, may our merits increase like the seeds of a pomegranate.

Rosh Hashanah Blogger Party & Giveaway
This week, I am thrilled to be participating in the Rosh HaShanah Blogger Party where you'll find some AH-MAZING links to other great recipes this year for your High Holiday table.  I'm so happy to be included, and I can't wait to try some of these recipes out!

Welcome to the first ever Jewish Holiday Blog Party, hosted by Jessie of Taste and Miriam of Overtime Cook, and sponsored by Kitchen Aid! As you may know, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is coming up, and Jewish bloggers from all over the world are celebrating with all kinds of twists on traditional Rosh Hashanah foods. 

To kick off the celebration, Levana Kirschenbaum is giving away a copy of her fabulous new book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen to three lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment on this post sharing with me your favorite part about Rosh Hashanah (it can be food, services, family, whatever you like!). Limit one entry per reader per blog so click over to the other participating blogs below for your chance at additional entries! Giveaway ends 5 am eastern time on September 11th, 2012. 

Prize is sponsored by Levana and available to readers from all blogs participating in the Rosh Hashanah Blog Party. Prize can only be shipped within the US. 

This is the first of hopefully many exciting Holiday Blog Parties, so if you would like to join in the fun, please email holidayblogparties@gmail.com.

Stop by and check out some of these amazing Rosh Hashanah themed recipes on the following blogs: 

Challah and Bread:
Marlene of The Jewish Hostess made Apple Challah
Amanda of The Challah Blog made Pomegranate Challah
Shelly of The Kosher Home made Apple, Honey and Pomegranate Challah!

Sides, Salads and Starters: 
Sarah of Food, Words, Photos made Tzimmes (Rosh Hashanah Carrots)
Tali of More Quiche, Please made Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash
Roberta and Lois of Kosher Eye made Simanim Salad
Chanie of Busy In Brooklyn made Pomegranate Coleslaw
Rivki of Life in the Married Lane made Super Salad
Hannah of Cooking Manager made Beets Marinated with Ginger and Garlic
Sina of The Kosher Spoon made Pomegranate, Almond and Raisin Couscous 
Shulie of Food Wanderings made Rosh Hashanah Salad
Hindy of Confident Cook-Hesitant Baker made Warm Roasted Beets with Farro
Sarah of Kosher Street made Sweet Potato Apple Tzimmes

Main Dishes:
Jessie of Taste made Smoked Salmon
Samantha of The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Chicken with Dates
Michele of Kosher Treif Cooking made Coconut Chicken Strips with two dipping sauces
Melinda of Kitchen Tested made Key Lime Glazed Duck
Stephanie and Jessica of The Kosher Foodies made Chicken Braised in Pomegranate 
Liz of The Lemon Bowl made Beef Brisket
Estee of Anyone Interested? made Easy Breazy 5 Minute Brisket

Desserts and Drinks:
Miriam of Overtime Cook made Mini Apples and Honey Tarts
Laura of Pragmatic Attic made Fresh Ginger Honey Cake
Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Honey Caramel Apple Galette
Danielle of Hugs and Cookies xoxo made The World's Best Rugelach
Amy of What Jew Wanna Eat made an Apple and Honey Cocktail
Nick of The Baking Process made Apple and Date Honey Squares
Lisa of The Monday Morning Cooking Club made Honey Chiffon Cake and Traditional Honey Cake
Leah of Cook Kosher made Pomegranate Ice Cream
Nossi of The Kosher Gastronome made Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel


  1. This looks so fantastic! Thank you for participating!

  2. This is just beautiful! I haven't made challah since I was little and I cant wait to when it gets a little cooler out! Happy New Year!

  3. Cool idea! I don't really like pomegranate arils enough to put them in my challah, but I like the concept. :)

  4. I love this! Shana Tova, and, THANK YOU!

  5. I bet it tastes even better than it looks!

  6. Sounds amazing. I make challah regularly but haven't explored adding things in- looks like I have something new to try this month!

  7. This will be my first Rosh Hashanah, but I'm really looking forward to spending time with my friends!

  8. Nice twist. I love the challah and apple in honey.

  9. Challah with honey drizzled on top. For some reason its only that amazing during Rosh Hashana!

  10. Challah, apples, honey, family. : )

  11. I just love the idea of adding pomegranate to challah! So unique. My favorite part of RH is the honey. Lots and lots of flavored honey. I like to infuse my own with vanilla, mint, rosemary, etc.

    1. Those honeys sound so great! Last year we did a honey tasting at our synagogue with Clover, Buckwheat, etc honeys, but I never thought about doing infused myself. Great idea :)

  12. A great take on Challah with raisins that many people eat on Rosh Hashanah!

  13. This is a comment from Toby, who is having trouble commenting:

    I have become well known in my small circle for the fabulous brisket that I serve at Rosh Hashana. Well it is very good if I do say so myself. What I always add when complemented is that it is not my recipe but Levana's recipe. After my mother-in-law gave me the recipe years ago, I and bought Levana's book Levana's Table. I would love to have another of her books in my collection of Jewish cook books.

  14. hanging out with family

  15. I love making it exciting for my kids- and its such a fun one for that- with so many Rosh Hashana foods, customs, and minhagim, there's so much to celebrate with kids especially- like specially parties, food arts and fun. Shana Tova!

  16. That is one I never made a pomegranate challah. Love it & full of antioxidants for a healthy 5773. Shana Tova!

  17. I am intrigued by this idea, but wondering if the seeds would bother me in the challah. I might just have to try it. Would love to have you join our monthly Kosher Recipe link up, email if interested.