Somewhere Over The Rainbow
On the Shabbat where we read Parshat Noach, it is tradition to make a rainbow challah symbolizing the rainbow G-d sent to Noah as a promise to never destroy the Earth again.
Parshat Noach has always held a special place in my heart. When you’re a kid, who doesn’t love to hear the story of Noah and the Ark? As a little kid, Who doesn’t play with their Noah and the Ark toys and love to make the animal noises? It is one of the most memorable stories in the Torah, one of the first stories children are taught after the story of creation.
During these tough times Parshat Noach acts as a reminder that there will be an end. We will be able to see our families again to study,cook, play games, and just talk. G-d will send a rainbow just as he did when he made his promise to Noah, we just have to keep looking.
4 ½ Teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets of active dry yeast works too but I have found instant yeast results in a fluffier texture)
¾ Cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup margarine, melted
7 cups all-purpose flour ( I typically use anywhere from 6-8 cups of flour depending on the temperature and humidity outside)
Whisk eggs, salt, ½ cup margarine, ¾ cup sugar, 2 cups warm water, and yeast in a large bowl.
Add the beaten eggs and flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes.
After five minute of kneading, cut the dough into six pieces. Using gel food coloring, spread the top of each piece of dough with one of the six colors of the rainbow. Knead each piece of the dough for another 3-4 minutes to make the six colors of the rainbow.
Grease 6 bowls with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to prove. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once proved, turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut each color into 2 equal portions. Roll out one strand of each color. This will be a six strand challah.
Place the red strand next to the orange strand so that they are touching and essentially make one strand. Do the same for the yellow and green strands. Do the same for the blue and purple strands. Now you have three strands and can braid like you would a normal challah.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating beat one egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the top of the loaves. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 425 degrees. (Keep an eye on the loaves once you up the temperature, you may have to cover them with tinfoil if the tops start to get too dark.)
Continue baking for another 5-8 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.
NOTES: Do not try to slice the bread right when it comes out of the oven. If you are storing the bread to eat later, make sure it is fully cooled before you put it into any kind of container or it will create condensation that will lead to mold.