Show 443, September 18, 2021: Beth Lee of “OMG! Yummy” with The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook

Beth Lee author of the Essential Jewish Cookbook

“Baking is an integral part of Jewish culture and traditions. Whether you’re making challah for Shabbat, macaroons for Passover or babka for family brunch, The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook (Rockridge Press) by first time cookbook author and food blogger (OMG! Yummy) Beth Lee helps capture the essence of traditional Jewish baking in your kitchen. It’s filled with 50 classic recipes―those you might remember your bubbe (grandma) or mom whipping up―with clear instructions to help make them successfully every time.”

“With appealing photographs from photographer Annie Martin and stories and recipes representing Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Mizrahi backgrounds, Essential Jewish Baking celebrates the rich history and warmth of traditional Jewish baked goods.”

“Beth A. Lee grew up on the East Coast before moving to Northern California, far away from the traditional Jewish food she was raised on. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a degree in business and pursued a marketing career in Silicon Valley.”

“In 2010, Beth realized she preferred pita chips over computer chips and launched her food blog, OMG! Yummy. Through her blog, she reconnected with her love of cooking and her passion for documenting her family’s multicultural food traditions.”

Beth shares her recipe from The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook for Sweet Challah Rolls with Apple Currant Filling.

Beth Lee is our guest with rolling pin in hand.

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Sweet Challah Rolls with Apple Currant Filling

Sweet Challah Rolls by Beth A Lee

Recipe excerpt from:
The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook
by Beth Lee

Dairy-free, Nut-free, Pareve

Prep Time: 40 minutes Inactive Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 27 minutes

Challah rolls filled with apples and currants are the ideal sweet baked good for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I originally developed this recipe for a High Holidays cooking class, but these little gems are perfect all year round. Ready faster than a traditional challah recipe, these rolls are also versatile: Leave the filling out, make one loaf instead of individual rolls, or double the recipe and freeze some for another day. Makes 8 rolls

For the dough

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (7 grams/1 packet) active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 3 ½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • ¼ cup (47 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (235 grams) warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup (118 grams) chopped and peeled sweet firm apple
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (36 grams) currants or raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  1. Mix: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, flour, and sugar. Add the warm water, egg, oil, and salt.
  2. Knead: Using the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, knead on medium-low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, making sure the dough is thoroughly combined and scraping down the sides as necessary. Once kneaded, the dough should be smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is overly sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary.
  3. First rise: Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a round, and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Use your finger to poke a 1-inch hole through the center of the dough. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Make filling: While the dough is resting, in a medium bowl, combine the chopped apple, lemon juice, currants, cinnamon, and sugar. Set aside.
  5. Prep: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Fill and shape: Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten a piece into a roughly 6-by-4-inch rectangle and spread a heaping tablespoon of filling down the center. Close the dough up around the filling and gently roll it out with your hands to a roughly 9-inch rope. Loosely coil the rope, tuck the end under, and pinch to seal. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough to create 8 rolls. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Second rise: Loosely cover the challah rolls with a kitchen towel, set in a warm location, and let rise for about 30 minutes, or until the dough slowly springs back when poked with your finger.
  8. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  9. Egg wash: Whisk together the egg and water. Use a pastry brush to coat each roll with the egg wash, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
  10. Bake: Bake the rolls for 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for about 22 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Show 442, September 11, 2021: Baker Bob Oswaks, Bob’s Well Bread, Ballard and Los Alamos Part One

Bob Oswaks of Bob's Well Bread

“Bob and Jane Oswaks, owners and proprietors of the award-winning Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos, debuted their long-awaited second location at the historic Ballard Store at 2449 Baseline Avenue in Ballard, California late last year. The 1,500 square foot Bob’s Well Bread at the Ballard Store was designed by The Oswaks, located fourteen miles south from their flagship store. The Oswaks rotate regularly between both operations to ensure the quality and standards of hospitality, food and beverage.” Chef Gary Clark leads the new kitchen and the Head Baker is Scott Smith.

“Since its inception in 2014, locals, travelers and journalists alike have embraced Bob’s Well Bread Bakery artisan breads and bakery. The bakery has successfully become a family business and an integral part of the growing Los Alamos community, which has developed into a richly diverse wine country destination.”

“Bob’s Well Bread Bakery and the Oswaks family are committed to products that are hand-made with only the finest ingredients and natural starters. No added preservatives will be found in any of their baked items, and they strive to source ingredients locally using farmers and growers who practice the purest growing initiatives. They allow their loaves to take their time, and practice old world European traditions and techniques to make the very best breads and baked goods possible. Their commitment to being “well bread” means doing good things, supporting the community and donating what they don’t sell to local food banks.”

For Breakfast or Brunch ponder the Raisin Challah French Toast with bacon lardons. For Lunch it’s the Meat Loaf Sandwich with a proprietary blend of ground beef and pork, caramelized onions, sharp cheddar cheese and spicy aioli served on Pain de Mie. Bob shares the entertaining story of how the signature Meat Loaf Sandwich (initially a rotating sandwich special) became a regular part of the menu.

Bob Oawaks (with his hands in the English Muffin dough) joins us.

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Show 442, September 11, 2021: Baker Bob Oswaks, Bob’s Well Bread, Ballard and Los Alamos Part Two

Bob Oswaks of Bob's Well Bread

“Bob and Jane Oswaks, owners and proprietors of the award-winning Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos, debuted their long-awaited second location at the historic Ballard Store at 2449 Baseline Avenue in Ballard, California late last year. The 1,500 square foot Bob’s Well Bread at the Ballard Store was designed by The Oswaks, located fourteen miles south from their flagship store. The Oswaks rotate regularly between both operations to ensure the quality and standards of hospitality, food and beverage.” Chef Gary Clark leads the new kitchen and the Head Baker is Scott Smith.

“Since its inception in 2014, locals, travelers and journalists alike have embraced Bob’s Well Bread Bakery artisan breads and bakery. The bakery has successfully become a family business and an integral part of the growing Los Alamos community, which has developed into a richly diverse wine country destination.”

“Bob’s Well Bread Bakery and the Oswaks family are committed to products that are hand-made with only the finest ingredients and natural starters. No added preservatives will be found in any of their baked items, and they strive to source ingredients locally using farmers and growers who practice the purest growing initiatives. They allow their loaves to take their time, and practice old world European traditions and techniques to make the very best breads and baked goods possible. Their commitment to being “well bread” means doing good things, supporting the community and donating what they don’t sell to local food banks.”

For Breakfast or Brunch ponder the Raisin Challah French Toast with bacon lardons. For Lunch it’s the Meat Loaf Sandwich with a proprietary blend of ground beef and pork, caramelized onions, sharp cheddar cheese and spicy aioli served on Pain de Mie. Bob shares the entertaining story of how the signature Meat Loaf Sandwich (initially a rotating sandwich special) became a regular part of the menu.

Bob Oawaks (with a Saturday special Olive Fougasse loaf in hand) continues with us.

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Show 53, December 21, 2013: Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery, Los Angeles

f you think Tunisian fare is the same as the foods of Morocco then you perhaps need a refresher course. No eating with the fingers or belly dancers here. It’s actually more Mediterranean and North African fare.

Alain Cohen of Got Kosher Cafe and BakeryAlain Cohen of Got Kosher Café & Bakery located in Los Angeles’ Borscht Belt on Pico Blvd. joins us to give a quick education. Don’t let the “Kosher” part or the name scare you. The Jews (and the Romans) were in Tunisia before Muhammad or the rise of Islam.

The tasty Merguez sausage with harissa (born in Tunisa) appetizer is house-made.

One of Got Kosher’s specialties is “Shwar-guez.” It’s their take on schwarma. It’s ground beef seasoned with their merguez sausage spices and grilled on a schwarma pit.

Tunisian Couscous is also a popular specialty. The versions are Couscous au Poulet, Couscous Masson (with braised beef and beef meatballs,) Couscous Royal ( with chicken, beef, lamb brochettes and merguez,) and Vegetarian Couscous.

They also house-bake some incredible varieties of challah.

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