Same-Day Ciabatta is in the Bag

For those weeks when you remember to start the ciabatta the night before, my no-knead ciabatta recipe is perfect.  It requires no kneading, very little effort in preparation and produces a delicious ciabatta bread with a crusty exterior and large air pocket holes on the inside.  The only downside to this recipe is that it requires slow overnight rising of at least 12 hours.

Every once in a while, I intend to start the ciabatta the night before and life just gets in the way.   This past week was one of those weeks.

I woke up Friday morning and still wanted to prepare ciabatta, but just didn’t have enough time for the slow-rise method.

So, I had to adapt another recipe that would be ready in a lot less time.

Oh, and, while I was experimenting, I decided to prepare it in a zipper bag to eliminate most of the mess.

It worked out perfectly.

This original The Crepes of Wrath recipe was sent to me by Kaitlyn last year.  I simplified the preparation and adapted it to my measurement and temperature preferences.  Best of all, I adapted the recipe to be prepared in a zipper bag.

And, yes, without the overnight rise it still produces the enviable crust, so chewy inside with those oh, so wonderful air pockets.

Here it is.

ciabatta in the oven.jpg


Davida’s Easy and Delicious Calzones for a Melave Malka Feast

Melave Malka (Saturday night meal) is the name given to the meal that we eat at the Shabbos has departed.  The literal meaning of the words Melave Malka is “accompaniment of the queen”, referring to our escorting of the Shabbos Queen out of our homes after the spiritually uplifting Shabbos.  The Shabbos is often metaphorically described as a Queen and the purpose of the Melave Malka meal is to figuratively escort the Shabbos away with singing and eating,  much as one would escort a royal guest who is about to leave.

According to Kaballah,  the luz bone at the base of the skull is nourished by the Melave Malkah meal.  The Neshoma Ye’sara (additional soul)  that accompanies a person through the Shabbos does not leave until after the Melave Malka has been enjoyed.  

Aaron used to be our resident Saturday night cook and we always looked forward to his delicious dairy Melave Malka dishes.  He had quite a repertoire of Melave Malka selections like pasta, pizza and all types of popcorn.  Now that Aaron is studying in yeshiva in Israel, Davida has cheerfully taken over this role.  She has become an excellent Saturday night cook and has brought  Melave Malka to a whole new level.

This Motzei Shabbos (Saturday Night), Davida and her friend, Chava, made the most delicious cheese calzones.  She prepared the ingredients and before we knew it, we had delicious warm calzones to enjoy for  our Melave Malka.   I asked her to share the recipe and now I am happy to share it with all of you.

calzones (more…)

Simple and Delicious Croutons Fashioned from Leftover Bread or Challah

Last week, I focused on bread and challah-related recipes.   This week, you may have some leftover challah.  I rarely put leftover challah into my freezer.  Instead, I convert it into croutons or bread crumbs.  I find that when I put leftover challah in the freezer, it usually just sits there until just before next Pesach when I use it to feed the birds.

Here is my simple crouton recipe.  It is so delicious that you may find yourself munching on the croutons even before you put them into your salad.

Although I usually just cube the bread, I find that if I am hosting a birthday party or themed dinner, I use a small cookie cutter to cut the bread into themed croutons.



leftover bread or challah

oil or cooking spray

Garlic Salt or Italian Seasoning (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Optionally remove crusts from challah or bread and slice. Brush bread on both sides with oil or spray with oil cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt or Italian seasoning. Cut bread slices into small cubes or your favorite shapes.


Place croutons in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake  for 15 minutes or until browned. Shut oven and be careful to watch the croutons, so they do not burn.  Allow to cool before serving over salad, stew or soup.


Deliciously Simple Onion and Garlic Rolls

These onion and  garlic rolls are simple to prepare and delicious.  When I was first married, I prepared these onion/garlic rolls regularly.  Since the total rising time is less than two hours, I found that I was able to start these after work on Friday and still have them ready for Shabbos.

onion garlic rolls up front


Pretzel Challah: Crusty and Salted

pretzel challah rolls

One challah recipe would never suffice in a family with many types of palates and personalities.   This pretzel challah recipe is unique, delicious and oh, so reminiscent of hot pretzels that you may just want to serve it with mustard.

Our youngest daughter, Davida, decided to try a new pretzel challah recipe. We were all skeptical, but it turned out to be delicious. This challah has a crusty, salty outside and a deliciously doughy inside. It is best enjoyed hot within 24 hours of baking. Unlike most challah recipes, it is not suitable for freezing.

She found the basic recipe in the Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings cookbook We made some minor changes and simplifications.


(I use two bowls for a total of  five pounds of flour)

1 pkg  or 2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 pounds (6 cups) of bread or high-gluten flour

8 cups room-temperature water
2/3 cup baking soda
kosher salt or everything mix (see notes)
optional egg wash (a bit of egg mixed with a few drops of warm water)
sesame and  poppy seeds (optional)


Simple and Delicious Challah to Wow your Shabbos Guests

I recently hosted a few boys for a friend’s son’s  Bar Mitzvah.  As a token of appreciation for hosting these teenage boys, my friend sent over some delicious baked goods and the most delicious challah ever. This challah was everything that one can imagine a challah to be.  It was beautiful.  It was moist.  It was just perfect.
zahtz challah
I asked her for the recipe and she gave it to me.  It may just become my new simply the best challah recipe!


Ciabatta Challah: a Simple No-Knead Solution

In case you haven’t noticed, our family table accommodates many different personalities and food choices.  Among us, we have meat lovers and vegetarians, those with simpler palates and those with more adventurous palates.  Of course, our taste in challah varies, as well.

We have some who love the sweet refined taste of a traditional challah and those who opt for a more rustic ciabatta type of challah.  The hallmark of this delicious ciabatta bread is the crusty exterior with large air pocket holes on the inside.  This recipe will truly wow you for its simplicity and deliciousness.  The most important and valued ingredient in this recipe is time as it requires slow overnight rising of at least 12 hours.

ciabatta cut in slices


DIY Everything Mix Topping: Perfect for Breadsticks and Challah

Now that Pesach (Passover) is behind us and chometz (leavened food items) are back on the menu, I would like to highlight a week of challah and bread-related recipes.  Over the next few days we will count down to our first Shabbos after  Pesach with challah.

Many people who don’t ordinarily prepare home-baked challah choose to bake  Schlissel (key) Challah for the first Shabbos after Pesach in merit for a financially successful year. They either bake the challah in the shape of a key or insert a foil-wrapped house key into the center of one challah.

I posted my own go-to challah recipe Simply the Best Challah Recipe…ever! several months ago.  Yesterday, I posted the special blessings to say when preparing the challah: Divine Challah: Blessings to Nourish the Soul.  Today, I will help you prepare a simple everything topping for your favorite bread or challah recipe.

As you can imagine, we are not a plain vanilla type of family.  We like our food  with loads of flavor and personality.  When we order bagels, of course, we tend to order the everything bagels, the ones with all the toppings.  We love that everything topping sprinkled on all types of baked items, like challah, breadsticks and even savory puffed pastry items like deli roll.

In a comment from Simply the Best Challah Recipe…ever!, my aunt posted her everything topping recipe.  Tante Sari explained that she prepares this topping in batches and stores it in a spice jar with a shaker top.  That way, when she bakes her challah, it is readily available.

everything topping in salt cellar

Of course, you can purchase an everything mix topping in many specialty stores.  The advantage of making this one yourself is that it is more cost-effective and you can tailor the proportions yourself.

Here is Tante Sari’s everything topping: (more…)

Simply the Best Challah Recipe…ever!


I bake Challah for Shabbos.  It is a real treat for our Shabbos table and it makes the house smell heavenly as it bakes.

The mitzvah (commandment) of Challah is especially designed for women and is a privilege and opportunity for special prayer.

I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for kneading the dough.  Since it cannot accommodate the full five pounds  of flour, I use two bowls, each with half of the ingredients of the final dough. Once kneaded, I combine the dough for rising.  After the dough has finished rising, a small piece of the challah is separated.  If the dough has been fashioned from at least five pounds of flour, a brocha (blessing) is recited before separating the challah piece.  A personal prayer may be inserted at this point.

Baking challah nourishes the body and the soul.


challah pull-apart baked

(I use two bowls for a total of  five pounds of flour)

1 pkg  or 2 tablespoons yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons for yeast
2 eggs
pinch of salt
2 1/2 pounds (6 cups) of bread or high-gluten flour
optional egg wash (a bit of egg mixed with a few drops of warm water)
sesame and  poppy seeds (optional)