We know it’s short notice, but we thought we’d take the time to share a SpratMat family recipe for those of you looking to add another item to your feast this year. (Or you can sandbag this for next year. Or Tuesday. Or whenever, really. It’s equally delicious any time of year.)
We’ve been making challah bread crescent rolls for pretty much as long as I can remember. The recipe comes by way of René’s dear friend Maria Vieksans, to whom it was handed down by a mysterious Mrs. Zarem (who is still referenced in the recipe). Our take on it actually varies from year to year — a result of relying on whatever we have available in the cupboard — but the basic gist is this:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups flour (divided into 2)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil
Next, add the first two cups of flour, eggs, sugar, second 1/2 cup water, oil, and one teaspoon salt out of nowhere just for the heck of it. Mix this all together really well, then add the remaining two cups of flour. Let sit for another ten minutes.
After your brief contemplation of life, knead the dough for about another ten minutes, spattering with flour as needed. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double (about one hour).
After the dough spent all that time and effort rising, punch it back down to show it who’s boss, but then go ahead and let it rise again for about another hour.
Now, at this point, a true challah master would begin preparing the dough for braiding. We just roll it out nice and flat, about 1/8-inch thick, cut it into rectangles, and then cut triangles of those rectangles because geometry is fun (aim for isosceles triangles). Next, roll the triangles into croissant-like shapes and bend into a crescent.
Let these rise again until double in size (don’t worry, you don’t have to punch them down this time). Brush with glaze (oh yeah, you'll need an egg yolk and a teaspoon of water for that) and bake ten minutes or until golden brown. This recipe makes 4-6 dozen rolls, we think, depending on size.
If you’re looking to spice up the rolls, we’ve experimented with everything from orange zest to pecans to cranberries to cinnamon, and it’s always been delicious, or at least not bad.
Anyway, we wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, and we’d love to hear about your own favorite recipes!