Banana, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip, Sesame Tahini, Raspberry Cream Cheese, Lavender, Rose, Salted Caramel, Matcha…
You probably think these are trendy ice cream flavors.
But they’re not! They’re challah flavors!
The gals at Challah Hub are mixing things up (literally).
For the past few months I’ve been drooling over Challah Hub’s daily Instagram challah photos: Asiago Cheese, Margarita, Challapeño Gruyère, Coffee Pecan Date…
Thanks to Elina Tilipman and Sarah Klegman, our beloved yet humble egg bread has gotten all gussied up.
It’s tradition with a twist, and it’s about time.
Elina and Sarah are the co-founders of Challah Hub, a blog that shares daily mouthwatering photos of challah across all social media platforms. They bake, share new and adventurous challah recipes, and teach classes on challah making.
Elina and Sarah and I recently chatted about all things challah.
(It’s been a delicious week of challah making in my house. While every challah we made and tasted was amazingly fabulous, the salted caramel was the kids’ favorite. Thanks to Sarah and Elina, I’ve included the recipe below.)
What inspired you to start Challah Hub?
We both share a love of challah, and ever-evolving taste buds. It didn’t take long for a challah baking session to turn into a conversation about the types of challah we had tried, but we longed for experimentation! So, we started some hands-on challah investigating.
It began innocently: Chocolate Peanut Butter Challah, Apple Cinnamon Challah…we shared photos of our baking sessions and people started getting excited, so we just kept going.
Challah Hub is where we share original recipes from our challah adventures as well as daily Challahspiration (drool-worthy photos of all types of challah)!
How do you decide what kind of challah you’re going to make week after week?
We have a top-secret document where we put all our challah ideas and inspirations…buuuut we really only use it 25 percent of the time. Usually, we’ll schedule a bake session, and then one of us will get inspired. Maybe we had some good ice cream recently (see: Mint Chocolate Chip Challah), or maybe we just had a long week (see: Whiskey Toffee Challah), or maybe it’s Cinco de Mayo (see: Margarita Challah).
But our favorite way to get recipe ideas is by talking to people. We bring special guests over for baking sessions (foodie journalists, artists, DJs, and more), and we’ll talk about their favorite foods. Then we’ll use that as inspiration for a challah!
How often are you posting new recipes ?
We post Challahspiration just about every day on Instagram and Facebook! We create and share about 2 new recipes per month on ChallahHub.com.
Tell me a little about yourselves, and how did you meet?
Sarah grew up in Michigan, and after she attended film school in Chicago, she moved to LA in 2008, where she spent some years as a talent manager and comedy producer. She now writes, bakes challah, and works in the content creation and marketing space for social media and tech conglomerate Mobli Media Inc.
I was born and raised in Germany. After finishing high school in 2002, I dove right into the music industry, studying event management and economics. I worked in booking, managing, touring, and marketing. I worked with several Israeli and Jewish artists and also planned some diverse intercultural activities between Germany and Israel—as well as worked with several Jewish artists throughout Europe. Since 2012, I’ve been based in LA, and work with Sarah at Mobli.
Sarah and I met at brunch one day in 2013, by way of a mutual friend. Sarah was showing pictures of a challah she had just finished baking, and I offered to pay for Sarah’s brunch if she would teach me to bake challah. Sarah loves brunch, so the deal was solid.
Have you always baked challah?
Challah has always been in our lives. Sarah’s mom baked challah nearly every Friday night growing up, but it wasn’t until Sarah moved to LA that she started baking challah herself. I ate challah nearly every Friday night growing up, and these days, I bake challah nearly every Friday… sometimes more!
Is there a secret to making great challah and, if so, would you share it?
Good challahs are made by passionate people, so perhaps the one thing you need in your challah is the passion for eating it once you’re finished baking! But if you’re looking for a more concrete answer:
Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast & a warm day
“Better for Bread” flour
After 10 minutes in the oven, do a second egg glaze
Do you teach any classes on baking challah?
We offer private baking sessions. Email us for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are Challah Hub’s future plans?
This year, we’re planning on growing our little challah project with more recipes, fun merch, profiles on our baking session special guests, aaaaand…you may even be able to eat Challah Hub challah at home soon! Follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook for tasty pictures and sassy captions.
If you want to be notified when Challah Hub might be available in your area, subscribe to our email list on our homepage: Challahhub.com.
Salted Caramel Challah
Recipe courtesy of Challah Hub (Thanks Sarah and Elisa!)
1 cup warm water
1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
4 cups of flour
¼ cup sugar
⅛ cup canola oil, plus more to smear in a bowl
½ teaspoon salt
1 more cup of flour (for braiding time)
3 eggs beaten
1 egg white (for your egg glaze)
about 1 ½ cups of salted caramel (Sally will show you how to make your own)
DISSOLVE your packet of Rapid Rise Yeast in 1 cup warm water.
TIP: Use a cereal sized bowl and empty your packet of yeast into it. Then, pour your cup of warm water over top, stir for 2 seconds, then wait for it to get poofy.
MIX 4 cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup sugar in a big bowl.
DUMP ALL THAT STUFF INTO A BIG BOWL AND START MIXING
Once the dough is mostly mixed, you can roll up your sleeves and use your hands to mix, fold, and knead the dough. Add sprinkles of flour (up to ½ cup additional) as needed, until your dough leaves the side of the bowl.
*Careful not to over knead the dough or your bread might be tough.
OIL UP a big bowl.
TIP: Put some oil on your fingers and smear that stuff around. Drop your dough into your oiled bowl, then cover it with a damp cloth.
LEAVE IT ALONE for 2-3 hours. Do NOT put in fridge.
BRAIDING: After your dough has risen for 2+ hours (about doubled in size), plop it onto a floured surface, and knead the air bubbles out. Separate into 3, 4 or 6 strands.
FLATTEN out the strands of dough, by pulling them apart at the center with your fingers. You’re making a mini challah-ditch to fill with goodness.
SPOON your Salted Caramel into your challah-dough-ditches. When you don’t think the strand can handle any more, seal it up, by pinching the dough closed around the caramel. This is messy work, but someone has to do it.
BRAID it. It’ll be kinda messy.
COVER a cookie sheet with foil, and LIGHTLY spritz with non-stick cooking spray, then place the braided dough on it.
GRAB that damp cloth, cover your challah again, and let rise for 1 more hour.
START GETTING HOT by preheating your oven to 325.
PAINT YOUR CHALLAH with egg whites. Get into all the nooks and crannies.
TOSS that challah in the middle rack of your oven for 28-38 minutes (depending on the oven).
TIP: After about 15 minutes, take it out and paint a layer of salted caramel on the top.
*Watch the browning on top, like roasting marshmallows, you want golden brown.
When you’re done (you can slowly turn the Challah on it’s side by peeling up the foil, then knock on the bottom – if it sounds hollow, that’s a good sign that it’s done), PLACE it on a wire cooling rack, and let it cool (give it 15 minutes or so).