Challah bread photos courtesy of google.
Recently in Beretta, my favorite bakery in Como, Alli and I were discussing the delicacies of the Colomba, Italian Easter cake vs Challah, Passover bread. Since then both my dreaming and waking selves have been consumed with memories of these breads and the roles they have played in my life. Long forgotten memories of colorful Easter eggs nestled into golden braids which open to fluffy cloud like bread float to the top of my memory bank as I write this. In my Italian upbringing, challah and Easter bread were basically the same and my family delighted in this Easter treat. In my 10 years living and celebrating Easter in Russia, the brilliant eggs nestled in variations of the bread of my childhood always made me smile. I was surprised to realize that for me the Colomba only entered my life when I moved to Italian speaking Switzerland. Oddly the Colomba has almost completely replaced my beloved Easter egg bread, our affectionate name for this treat from my childhood. Thus, I went on a search for a recipe which might recreate my memories. Questioning my mom, I discovered she uses a recipe for challah bread and has not made it for years. Then it came to me, Alli! She's joining us for Easter, and when she asked what to bring, I jokingly responded, challah bread. She took up the challenge and joins us as a guest, her recipe is below, along with her story of challah bread memories.
Photos of Bunny and Bianchina on our dining table with our Colombo from Beretta.
Some of the fondest memories from my childhood are around the dinner table with my three sisters, my parents and my grandparents. Growing up in a Jewish household, our bread of choice was always Challah, and it was always at the center of every dinner table.
This Challah recipe comes from one of my grandmas most prized possessions, a recipe book called “Kasha n Kisses" which she bought from her Synagogue bake sale in 1971. My grandma, 33 at the time, did not pride herself in her cooking; she jokes about how her food was barely edible when she and my grandfather were newlyweds. ”Kasha n Kisses" is so prized in our family because without it, we would not have most of our grandmother’s most famous dishes, and possibly some of our best family stories. Her cooking style now integrates both her Italian roots and typical Jewish dishes like matzo ball soup - which she uses both as a nutritious meal and when necessary a weapon. More than once Grandpa has had a matza ball lobed at him for stepping out of line - latkes, kugel, brisket and of course, Challah.
Side note, day-old Challah bread makes the BEST french toast. Enjoy!
Bunny proudly displaying Alli's challah bread.