The Kosher Baking Story
Baking has always been a big thing for humans, bread is considered to be the most elementary of foods, eating bread to break ones hunger is the most basic way of survival. The making of bread is very different from culture to culture, and as men started to migrate and met other like him in different parts of the world the cooking and baking changed forever, because of this mixture of tastes and flavors we enjoy many diverse kitchens and ways of cooking today.
The Jewish people have traveled long, it is in the dramatic and tragic story of this people that they have been moved from their country and forced to travel around the world, but surprisingly the Jewish way of cooking has not changed much, probably due to the segregate nature of the Jewish nation.
The Challa is a kind of bread that is traditionally eaten on the eve of Friday, this kind of bread is associated with the traditional Shabbat food and the Shabbat cooking, to further explain this you will need to know that religious Jewish people do not cook on Shabbat, they can not light a fire or do any kind of work, so all the food for the traditional family dinner at the evening of Friday has to be prepared in advance.
The preparation of the Challa is no different, many traditions dictate different strategies for the preparation of the Challa, some start the mixture of the flour and the ingredients early on Friday morning and others prefer to prepare the whole thing on Thursday lunch, following the old saying that the Challa is at its prime once it has aged for two whole days.
For all that can be said about the way different people cook is that it is always different, and one will not adopt the other ones way simply because it is not his way, everyone sticks to his own personal way, and in fact all this does not have a big effect on the real basics of the challa making, it is just little changes that create the diversity in food from one place to the other.
The whole procedure of making Kosher food is very complicated, it gets more and more complicated as the level of the Kosher is increasing, kosher baking is the same and has to follow the same rules, some of the kosher rules are very physical and do not allow to mix one ingredient with the other, and some are much more spiritual and social like making sure that some of the flour has been deducted for the poor and needy.
Kosher baking is not difficult and in fact, once you give it a go you will not feel that there is any difference than any other way of baking, except if you are usually using livestock fat or things like this you will probably not notice anything that is special about the baking, except if the baker like to sing some Hasidic songs while he is working.
Try some Jewish cooking, it will certainly make a change in your dinner, and if you are making a Challa, try and serve it to your family on the evening of Friday, after all it is meant to be enjoyed with the whole family around the table and in the spirit of love and peace.