TUNNEL OF FUDGE
Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Chocolate . . . Just Add Chemistry
December 28, 2004
By KENNETH CHANG
ATLANTA - With two bad knees, Shirley O. Corriher is not quite as nimble as she once was when she performs her "protein hop" - an interpretive dance of sorts to demonstrate the molecular transformations that turn flour, eggs and sugar into a cake...
...regarding the faux pas in including milk products in a Jewish style bread has prompted me to write.
Jewish baking (and cooking) provides special circumstances including not mixing dairy with meat (in any form). Matzoh, the Jewish unleaven bread, must be completed within 18 minutes to be acceptable for Passover use. These are a few mandates of Jewish dietary law. Not all Jews are "kosher" or observant of these religious rules, but to those who are, the addition of dairy to a baked good may pose a problem. Many Jewish style cakes and cookies call for vegetable oil as an ingredient for this reason. * Cookies made with oil will be flatter (and I think crisper). Unlike butter and margarine, oil has no water to steam and cause puffing. Solid fats also have an ability to hold onto air bubbles and oil does not. Jewish style coffee cakes are incredibly tender and moist (yum) as oil quickly coats the flour proteins interfering with the absorption of moisture and the formation of toughening gluten strands. You do sacrifice the buttery flavor, however, when using oil...
In 1997, I attended SFBI's "Advanced Artisan Baking" class, an intensive 40-hour course. Our instructor was French and was a well respected and
accomplished baker in his own right. We made challah one day. As I recall, our teacher pronounced that challah was merely "Jewish brioche", and that when he had baked in New York City, the "Head" Rabbi was a great fan of his challah and had declared it, "THE BEST!". You guessed it. The challah did contain butter, and as the only Jew, I knew it was a no-no. As the only woman and one of only two non-professional bakers in the class, I felt that opening my mouth would have been seen as confrontational. I kept mum, but I did say a silent prayer that the Rabbi's challah was either butterless or he was aware of the butter as to pair it with other foods ppropriately.
Ellen aka Gormay
PS In "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking", Marcy Goldman, in offering her recipe for "Buttery Egg Bread", says "Buttery challah seems almost to be a contradiction in terms- as challah is specifically a nondairy bread making it appropriate for serving with a meat based Sabbath meal". She suggests that this challah-like, Jewish-style brioche would be a good accompaniment to a meatless salad.
*The information on the properties of oil in baking came from "CookWise" by Shirley O. Corriher
I've been baking challah (egg bread) for years, but can't seem to come up with a nice tender loaf. The texture is fine, it's like any good white bread, but good Jewish bakeries do something to make their product tender. I don't mean "cottony" and softly blah, like Wonderbread, but the best term I can find is "tender".
Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Not kosher, Magus, only in that you couldn't put butter or cheese on it, or drink milk with it. It would definitely be considered a meat dish. Normal challah is parve, or neutral, and can be eaten with anything, because it contains no meat-related ingredient.
I never thought of using drippings that way, but it does sound good.
What I've always wondered is why you can't eat creamed chicken - there's no possibility of a chicken having been "seethed in its mother's milk". But there it is.
I never thought about the cross-species thing; that's really interesting. As far as I know, though, the prohibition is total, covering meat from any source.