Monday, November 14, 2011

Jewish Holiday Cookbook

9780756640897HJewish Holiday CookBook  - Festive meals for celebrating the year
From Jill Bloomfield and Janet Ozur Bass
Published at DK Canada

About the book

The traditions and recipes of Judaism are celebrated in this beautiful modern cookbook geared toward kids and their families. Eleven Jewish holidays are discussed and accompanied by recipes for the ancient and modern foods traditionally served. Kids can lead the charge on braiding their first challah or making their own kugel, while spending time learning about Jewish history and heritage.

Who are Jill Bloomfield and Janet Ozur Bass?

Jill Bloomfield is DK’s resident kid’s cooking expert. She is also the creator of a kids cooking consulting company, Picky Eaters. Originally a microbusiness that provided hands-on kids’ cooking parties in clients' homes, Picky Eaters evolved as the “kids in the kitchen” trend caught fire (though, thankfully, her clients' kitchens did not). In addition to her work in the world of kids cooking, Jill also teaches English, public speaking and Jewish culture classes in Rockville, MD.

Rabbi Janet Ozur-Bass is a rabbi, mother, teacher, and self-proclaimed foodie. She lives with her three children and her husband, a cantor, in Rockville, Maryland.

My thoughts

My son, Alexandre, had a special assignment to do to complete his gold level for a section in his Awana book.   He had to make a Jewish recipe for a holiday they celebrated.   Knowing that DK Canada had a special cookbook on Jewish Holidays, I requested it.    But Alexandre needed to do this and the book was delayed.   After looking on the internet I saw that one recipe was posted in the Look at It link on    I printed the said recipe and he did it all by himself!

Before I go ahead and let you know which recipe he made, I want to tell you more about this cookbook.  The Jewish Holidays cookbook contains festive meals for celebrating the year.   As homeschoolers and Christians, I find it important that my kids understand the history of Christianity and the fact that Jewish meals were important during Bible time.    We also have a special curriculum explaining the various Jewish holidays which I intend to use with this special cookbook!  Each holiday presented in this cookbook has between three to six recipes.  In a way you could plan a whole meal for a specific holiday based on the Jewish calendar.   

The holidays covered in this book are Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Tu B’Shevat, Purim, Pesach, Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Lag B’Omer and Shavuot.  What I particularly like about this book is that it gives a little introduction on the holiday covered with the recipes.    It is unique and very creative I find.   Having included a Rabbi as well as a co-author was a marvelous idea.

So the recipe that my son Alexandre made for his Awana group was the challah.  Here’s the information included about this recipe.

Challah is traditionally served at the beginning of Shabbat dinner.  A prayer is said over the freshly baked bread before dinner begins.  This prayer is called the motzi.

This recipe makes two loaves and should serve 24.


2 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sesame seeds.


1. Pour water into bottom of large mixing bowl.  Add yeast, and allow to sit for 1 minute.

2. Add honey, oil, eggs, sugar, and salt to yeast mixture.  Stir to combine.

3. Scoop spoonfuls of flour into the wet mixture, combining well each time.   As you continue adding flour, the mixture will thicken.  You can use your hands to mix in the flour.

4. After all of the flour is mixed in, knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth.   Add up to 1/2 cup of additional flour if your dough is sticky.  Allow dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.  The dough should double in size.

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface like a cutting board.   Deflate risen dough by punching it.   Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and knead each piece for 3 minutes.  If dough is sticky, add a little bit of flour as you knead.

6. Grease 2 large baking sheets with margarine, and set them aside.   Preheat the oven to 375 F.

7. Divide each loaf into 3 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a long rope about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter.  These will be the 3 strands of your braid.  Bring the ends of the strands together and begin braiding.  After it is fully braided, tuck the beginning and end of your braid under the loaf.  Repeat for the other load, and place each on a prepared baking sheet.  Cover each loaf with a slightly damp towel and allow the loaves to rise once more, for 45 minutes.


8. After the loaves have risen,  use a pastry brush to spread beaten egg over each one.  Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with sesame seeds.


10. Bake on a low rack for about 35 to 45 minutes.  The fully baked bread should be a deep golden color and should sound hollow when tapped.


Here’s a picture of Alexandre with his challah bread.


Once it was cooked and cooled off, we placed it in a place and wrapped it in Saran Wrap.   When my husband came in the house after a day of work at a contract, his first reaction was…”Where are you bringing this?”  We told him that it was for an assignment Alexandre wanted to do for one of his Awana gold.    He was disappointed a bit but was happy to learn that we had another challah bread in the kitchen.    My husband kept saying that it was impressive that he did this from scratch.   “Another recipe we can make for guests…”

Oh and the day Alexandre made his bread, I had to bring my other son Dominic to see our family doctor who is Jewish.  I asked him how to pronounce the name of the bread and he graciously told me.    He was impressed that Alexandre had made one from scratch as he buys his challah bread at Loblaws… 

We adore our experience in making a challah and plan to make more Jewish recipes with this cookbook in the future.  

Oh and by the way, DK Canada has a note at the bottom of the book’s page.    Apparently there is an error on page 94… The Frog Meringues should bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meringues are fully dry.  They apologize for any inconvenience.

I highly recommend this cookbook to any family homeschooling their kids and teaching them about Jewish traditions and the Bible.   It is an experience that you won’t regret and it will open your family to try new recipes every once in a while.  

The Jewish Holidays Cookbook is available at your favorite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: I received the product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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