What do the staff do at night???
One of the questions that adult tzevet (staff) get asked is, “what do you do at night?” The answer is we do all different types of things but one of the special things about being on tzvevet at machaneh ramah is that we have amazing programs that are run in the evening specifically geared towards enhancing the tzevet experience at camp.
Last night was the perfect example of this. It was a dark and stormy night (really), you could say that the heavens had literally opened and it was pouring rain. There was thunder and lightning and yet that didn’t stop about 25 tzevet members from attending the annual Tzevet challah baking workshop (run by yours truly the camp blogger!). It’s a special evening where we gather together to sample all different flavors of challah, learn about the Jewish significance of challah baking and the mitzvah of taking a special piece of dough from the larger batch of challah dough and put it aside as a symbol of gratitude for all that God has given us. We make the challah dough, we learn interesting ways to shape the challah, and then we eat more challah and sip tea and enjoy each other’s company as we wait for our challot to bake.
So as we put all our rain gear on to head back to our respective staff housing we left with warm challot in our hands and an even warmer feeling in our hearts. It’s the feeling of knowing that we are not only a group of adults who come and work together each summer, rather we are each others summer family. We truly enjoy each other’s company, we marvel at the talents and the amazing energy that each tzevet member brings to camp and we love the fact that machaneh ramah is our summer home. Below is the recipe that we made. Happy Baking!
Yona’s Challah Recipe
3 Tbsp Yeast
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ Cup Warm Water
1 ½ Cup Sugar
1 Cup Oil
1 Tbsp Salt
3 Cups Warm Water
15 Cups flour
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. You will know your yeast is
good to use if you see it bubbling and frothing. To get the perfect temperature for warm water combine
¾ cup hot water and ¾ cold water. This creates the perfect temperature water. Using water that is too
hot will kill the yeast. Using water that is too cold with not activate the yeast. Set the yeast mixture
In a separate bowl combine all the ingredients from step two and add the proofed yeast mixture and knead together until your dough
begins to form. knead everything together for a few minutes until you get smooth not sticky dough. I do not add all the flour at
once slowly combine as you may find you may need less flour. Or you may need a bit more so you can
sprinkle a bit more in as needed. You do not want to add too much flour to the dough as it will become
heavy and tough to work with.
You will use the same bowl you used to make your dough to let your dough rise. Take the dough out of
the bowl, spray the bowl with pam and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp
clean towel and place it in a warm area to rise. Let your dough rise until it
doubles in size. That should be approximately 1- 1 ½ hours.
Once your dough has risen, punch the dough down removing all of the air bubbles. Take a piece of
dough the size of an egg and recite the blessing for separating challah.
“ברוך אתה ה אלהינו הלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציונו להפריש חלה”
Boruch Atoh Ado-nay Elo-heinu Melech Ha Olam Asher Kidshanu mitzvotav
Vitzivanu Lihafrish Challah
Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with
his Commandments and commanded us to separate challah (from the dough).
Take the piece of dough, wrap it in tin foil and bake until it’s burnt.
Shape your challot, and then let them rise again until they double in size. Once they have risen and are
ready to be baked, brush them with a beaten egg which will give them a beautiful sheen once baked.
Place them in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius for about a half hour.
Every oven is different so check your challot to see if they are golden brown on the top and light brown
on the bottom.