I think rituals are such an important part of childhood. Rituals provide consistency in busy lives and something the kids anticipate with glee. I have so many fond memories of wonderful childhood rituals that I still recall with total clarity.
Shabbat rituals are especially important to me. I love the family traditions within the Jewish family. My kids look so forward to Shabbat each week. Drinking “yayin” (grape juice), lighting Shabbat candles, going to shul and getting lollies and singing Shabbat songs that they have learned at kinder and prep.
One of my favourite rituals is baking challah with the kids. I use a recipe passed down to me from one of my oldest friend’s mom (the recipe is in an email format from 2002!) and it often makes me think of my friend, even though she lives many oceans away.
I wanted to capture our ritual in film, to look back in years to come when perhaps the kids are older and feel they have better things to do than bake challah with mom. But for the moment, I love the kitchen floor covered in flour, sticky little fingers kneading the dough and the three of us preparing for Shabbat together.
This is such an easy recipe to do with kids, and because I have passed this onto so many friends and family, I have shared it below for those that want to try it out. It comes with a warning though….the smell while it is baking is so tempting that you may gobble up the entire loaf before Shabbat begins!
Into a large (plastic) bowl, sift: 81/2 – 9 cups flour.
Add: 3 teaspoons salt, 1 cup sugar, 2 packets INSTANT yeast. Mix through
with a wooden spoon.
Make a well in the centre.
In another bowl: 3 eggs (beaten lightly with a fork), 3/4 cup oil, 21/4
cups lukewarm water. Gently stir together and pour into the well in the
flour mixture. Stir in the flour slowly until it becomes too sticky, then
use your hands to mix the dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead
(like you would for clay) until it becomes pliable. Place in the large
bowl and drizzel over a bit of oil. Cover and leave to rise in a warm
place till dough doubles in size.
When ready, punch down the dough, divide into 2 portions( to make 2
loaves). Divide each portion into 3. Roll into sausages , pinch together
at the top and plat as you would your hair. place on greased tray. Brush
with beaten egg and top with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 180 (350) for
Before you platt your loaves, you need to cut off a small piece of
dough the size of a walnut and say the following bracha :
Baruch Ata Hashem, Eloheinu Melech Haolam
asher kiddushanu bemitzvotah, ve’tzivanu
le’hafris challah min ha’issah – amen (this comes from the instruction that
when we use over a certain quantity of flour, a portion has to be burnt as
a “sacrifice” as in the days of the Temple. This is what is meant by
:”challah is taken”)
You place the walnut size dough next to your challot and throw it away
when it comes out the oven.