In the winter months I try to get my Shabbat started Thursday evening ’cause if not I will have to forgo the part I enjoy most: trying something new. If by midnight on Thursday I am not just about done, including the cholent, then we stick to the basics.
Friday is a hectic day any way you turn it, so I try not to leave more than the challah, potato kugel and fresh salads for Friday- especially when Shabbat starts at 4:20! Fridays always start with the sound of the mixer as it kneads my challah dough. I am very fond of this great kitchen invention as there is no way to get a really light and fluffy dough without the help of the mixer. Maybe some super strong muscles will do it, but mine definitely will not!
When I mix my dough I mix it in three stages. First I let the ingredients combine to form the dough and then I let the mixture rest in the mixer for about 5 minutes. Again I turn the mixer on and let it knead for about 8 minutes. Once more I let it rest for 5 minutes and then give it the final kneading for about 6 minutes. Once the dough is done kneading, I coat the inside of a standard sized kitchen garbage bag with oil and let the dough rise in there for a minimum of 1 hour, or until I am ready to work with it. This can sometimes take many hours depending on what my day looked like!
There is nothing like freshly baked challahs at the Shabbat meals. My biggest problem is figuring out what to do with all those fresh challahs every week! My family cannot possibly consume all that challah. For a while I gave it away, but once all my takers moved away, I was stuck. I did not want to stop making challah and performing this special mitzvah but, all the extra challahs got swallowed up by my freezer until Pesach. I was searching for an innovative and tasty way to deal with all the extra loaves. Instead of baking all the dough as a challah I tried to improvise with babka filling and create some fresh cakes, since those would surely go! The end result was not as I had anticipated, so once again I was left with a huge quantity of leftover challah.
While trying to figure out this doughy situation, my sister-in-law (thank you Chani S.) gave me a delicious cinnamon bun filling that I tried out with my dough. The end results were truly what I was looking for! A moist and tasty treat that sent everyone for seconds. By the time those buns are cool enough to glaze, there usually are not enough left to bother with the icing!