What is a Balaboosta?
Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well.
I make simple food with easy recipes and I like to try new things. My family and friends love my cooking and always ask me to share, with them, what I know about food, flavor, and technique.

I'm not a professional chef and I've had no formal culinary training. What I know and do in the kitchen comes from three women...Nana, Grandma Della, and Rose, my mom. Each one of them knew more about putting a meal on the table than any fancy chef in a white hat. They were the ultimate Balaboostas.

What I offer you is a lifetime of experience in the kitchen with my compliments and theirs. I hope they'd be proud. I will bring you my recipes as I make them with photos of the actual food I'm preparing. I'm no professional photographer either but I promise, my food will speak for itself in every picture.

The food on my table isn't stacked in a trendy tower.
Instead, my food is stacked with flavor and full of my passion for cooking. So please come in, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy.

To see amazing detail in any photo just click on it!
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Disclaimer: While most of my recipes are "Jewish Style", I do sometimes cook with pork. This might have been a great disappointment to some but my grandmothers knew that I live in modern world. I light Shabbos candles religiously but I have to admit...I do not keep a Kosher home.

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Braided Challah - Round Challah - Egg Bread


The number of challah recipe variations probably equals the number of balaboostas out there kneading their dough. Challah is often garnished with sesame or poppy seeds meant to represent the manna which God sent down to sustain the Jewish people as they wandered through the desert. Each ethnic group puts their own twist on this classic egg bread. Some prefer a sweeter dough and may even add raisins creating a perfect bread for breakfast or dessert. Traditionally this bread is braided, however, for certain holidays, like Rosh Hashanah, it is fashioned in a circle representing life and new beginnings.
This recipe makes enough dough for three loaves. It can be frozen if you do it before it rises. You can even create a coffee cake by rolling a portion of the dough into a large rectangle after the first rising. Simply spread the rectangle with your choice of filling such as almond paste or a cinnamon-nut-sugar mix and roll it up like a jelly roll. Be sure to let the dough rise a second time before baking.
To make this recipe you will need several bowls, 3 cookie sheets, & 3 towels. Be sure to read this recipe and gather your equipment before you begin .

Don't be afraid to try it...it's easy and fun!

Now roll up your sleeves and let's get kneading!

Ingredients...
  • 8 cups Flour
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten (reserve approximately 1 tablespoon of egg for egg wash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Here's how you do it...

  1. Mix both packages of yeast into the warm water and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl beat together the oil, sugar, salt, & eggs and set aside.
  3. Measure the flour into a very large bowl and make a well in the center.
  4. Pour the yeast water into the well and mix thoroughly.
  5. Now mix in the small bowl of blended oil, sugar, salt, eggs, & vanilla.
  6. Knead the dough until it is smooth.
  7. Divide the dough into 3 parts.
  8. Place each part in a greased bowl.
  9. Cover each bowl with a damp cloth. (kitchen towels work well).
  10. Place the bowls in a warm spot (I often use the top of my refrigerator) and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled it's size.
  11. Take the dough from one of the 3 bowls and divide it into 3 equal parts.
  12. Roll each part into a rope or snake 12 to 15" long leaving the middle a little fatter than the ends.
  13. Lay the snakes next to each other and braid them tucking the ends under.
  14. Place the braided dough on a greased cooke sheet and allow it to rise again.
  15. Repeat this with the remaining 2 bowls of dough.
  16. Now take the reserved tablespoon of beaten egg and add a few drops of water to it creating an egg wash.
  17. Brush this egg wash over each of the braided loaves. (I find it easiest to use my fingers for this step).
  18. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
  19. Allow to cool on a rack.

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