An experiment gone right…

very right!

Today, I decided to bake bread, something I took up again very recently after a fifteen-or-so year absence.  I planned to make a ‘challah’ (egg bread) because it’s one of my favorites.  Then, I got to thinking, “What if I add…?”…so I did!  I added raw sunflower seeds, chopped raw pecans, chopped raw walnuts, raw sesame seeds and an extra egg for good measure!  Here’s the result:

Nutty Challah, straight from the oven!  Oooh, it smelled so good!  That crochet-work you see was my eighth grade graduation gift from my Slovak grandma, 52 years ago...I've been repairing it, so if it looks a bit wrinly, it's because I have a lot left to stitch up and haven't ironed it yet!

Nutty Challah, straight from the oven! Oooh, it smelled so good!  The ‘gloss’ comes from a egg yolk ‘wash’, brushed over the dough right before it is put into the oven.  That crochet-work you see was my eighth grade graduation gift from my Slovak grandma, 52 years ago…I’ve been repairing it, so if it looks a bit wrinkly, it’s because I have a lot left to stitch up and haven’t ironed it yet!

I let it cool and took it into the kitchen to slice (I put half in the freezer).

YUM!  Beautifully textured, and I simply cannot tell you how marvelous it tastes, warm with a bit of butter!

YUM! Beautifully textured, and I simply cannot tell you how marvelous it tastes, warm with a bit of butter!

Why was it an experiment?  I wanted something heartier and healthier, so I just began adding the nuts.  Then I added a couple heaping tablespoons of sesame seed for good measure, thinking they couldn’t hurt!  I thought I may have ‘killed’ the yeast, as I feared the water was too warm, and the dough was very heavy and didn’t really ‘rise’ as I felt it should.

I popped it in the oven and prayed for it to rise!

And, as you see, it DID!  Very nicely!

My “Nutty Challah” was very delicious with the hot and spicy, Spanish-style chicken soup I made yesterday…I’d give you the recipe for the Challah, but I didn’t really measure all these additions, and some subtractions, like ‘less sugar’.

The soup, however, is 2 chicken breasts; 7 small onions, sliced and sauteed in butter until almost caramelized; 3 bay leaves; 3 large carrots, sliced; a half each of green and red pepper, chopped; a cup or so of ‘Romana’ dried beans (similar to Pinto Beans, but smoother and a bit sweeter); a generous sprinkle of ‘Pinto Bean Seasoning’; a generous sprinkle of dried Minced Garlic and dried Crushed Red Pepper; a generous sprinkling of Lemon Pepper and enough filtered water to almost fill a 4 quart pot.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer at least 3 hours, til the beans are soft.  I remove the chicken, chop it into chunks and put it back in.  No salt was added, because the chicken contains quite a bit.

And I didn’t take a photo!  Oh, well…let’s say I ‘owe you one’!  Next time, I shall!

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