Pascale’s Kitchen: Fun treats made with two-day-old challah

After every festive meal, the same question always arises: What should be done with the leftover challah? This week, I’ve brought you four recipes that call for leftover challah or bread.

 Challah with herbs and cheeses (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Challah with herbs and cheeses
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

Every Friday morning and on mornings leading up to Jewish holidays, I love waking up early so I can get a head start preparing challah dough. I place a large bowl on my counter and measure out the flour, oil and water. I mix all the ingredients together, and then vigorously knead the dough before covering the bowl and placing it in a warm place so the dough can rise. 

After the dough has risen, I knead it again and let it rise a second time. Next, I braid the challot or shape it into rolls, and then I place them in the hot oven to bake. Every once in a while, I peek inside the oven to see what kind of magic is taking place there. I only move on to other tasks that need to be completed before Shabbat once my challot and rolls have finished baking and are cooling on my counter. 

Every once in a while, I don’t have time to bake challot, to the great disappointment of my family members, so I buy challot at our local bakery. After every festive meal, the same question always arises: What should be done with the leftover challah? I love concocting new creative recipes that make use of leftover challah. Sometimes I slice it, toast the slices, and then grind them in a food processor to be used as breadcrumbs, which are great in meatballs. Other times, I cut it  into small cubes, add dried herbs and olive oil and make croutons, which are wonderful in salads. 

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This week, I’ve brought you four recipes that call for leftover challah or bread. One recipe is challah with herbs and cheeses, which can be served as a fun meal in the middle of the week. First, I check which herbs and cheeses I happen to have at home. All you have to do is mix together the olive oil and butter, then add the herbs and garlic and mix well. I make shallow crisscross cuts into the challah, and then push the olives and cheese inside the cuts. The whole thing gets wrapped up like a present inside baking paper and then a sheet of foil. It needs to be baked for 15-20 minutes, then you can place it right in the center of the table, where everyone can tear off a section and gobble it up. 

Another great recipe made with leftover challah or other bread is bread pudding. The slices of bread get soaked in a heady milk mixture, and then the bread pudding gets baked in the oven. Within minutes, an incredible aroma begins wafting through the house, which draws everyone to the kitchen like a magnet as they wait impatiently for the dish to finish baking. When it’s done, nobody would ever guess that you’d used leftover challah to prepare this delicacy. I personally love adding chocolate chips, blueberries and goji berries to bread pudding, but you can really add anything you like, such as banana and apples slices and jam. You can also add vanilla sugar or instant pudding powder or serve the bread pudding with fresh fruit or ice cream. 

Two more great dishes to make with leftover challah are grilled sandwiches. You can make savory grilled cheese or a sweet version with chocolate, almond spread and banana slices. 

 Bread pudding (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Bread pudding (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Bread pudding

Use 2 round pans with a diameter of 20-22 cm., or one large round pan with a diameter of 32 cm.

  • ¾ of a challah that is two days old
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 container (250 ml.) sweet cream
  • 30 gr. butter, melted
  • ½ - ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (bittersweet, milk or white) or 5 tsp. of jam
  • 2-3 Tbsp. blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp. goji berries, fresh or dried
  • 2 Tbsp. light raisins

Grease the pan well.

Cut 4 pieces of the challah and use them to line the sides of the pan. Cut the rest of the challah up into medium-sized pieces and place them in the bottom of the pan.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk, sweet cream, sugar and vanilla to the eggs and mix well. Pour the mixture on top of the challah pieces and make sure each piece of challah gets covered well with the mixture, including the challah pieces on the sides of the pan. 

In a small bowl, place the chocolate chips, blueberries, goji berries and raisinsl. Sprinkle them on top of the challah pieces. 

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread pudding has turned golden brown and firmed up. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 50 minutesStatus: Dairy

 Challah grilled cheese (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Challah grilled cheese (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Challah grilled cheese

Makes 2-4 servings.

  • 8 slices of old challah
  • ½ cup pesto or other spread
  • 2-3 Tbsp. harissa
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 2 pickles, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup hard cheese, grated
  • ½ cup olive oil or butter, melted

Spread the pesto or other spread on 2 pieces of challah. On the first slice, add the tomato slices, the dried tomatoes and the pickles. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then a layer of grated cheese. Place the second slice of challah on top and brush with olive oil or butter. Place the sandwich in an electric sandwich maker and close the top and cook until the bread turns golden brown. Make the other 3 sandwiches in the same way. Serve hot. 

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 20 minutesStatus: Dairy

 Sweet toasted sandwiches (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Sweet toasted sandwiches (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Sweet toasted sandwiches

Makes 2-4 servings.

  • 2-4 bread rolls
  • ½ cup chocolate spread
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • A pinch of cinnamon, optional
  • 2-3 bananas, sliced (or apple slices)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • Topping: 
  • Powdered sugar

Cut the rolls in half. On one side, spread the chocolate, and spread the almond butter on the other side. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and then add the banana or apple slices. Close the sandwich with the other half of the roll. Prepare the rest of the sandwiches in the same fashion. Brush the butter on the rolls and place them in the sandwich maker. Close the top of the sandwich maker and cook until the sandwiches turn golden brown. Place the sandwiches on a plate and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. Serve hot.

Level of difficulty: EasyTime: 20 minutesStatus: Dairy

Challah with herbs and cheeses

Makes 4-6 servings.

  • 1 tsp. garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 50 gr. butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. pesto
  • 1 Tbsp. harissa (if you want it to be spicy)
  • 2 Tbsp. dried tomato spread or artichoke spread
  • ½ cup Kalamata or other type of olives, pitted and chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 200 gr. Parmesan or hard yellow cheese, grated
  • 1 leftover challah

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, parsley, melted butter and olive oil. Set aside. 

Preheat your oven to 200°.

Use a serrated knife to make shallow crisscross cuts on top of the challah, with 2-3 cm. between each crisscross. 

Spread the pesto and dried tomato paste on top and then push the olive pieces into the cuts on the challah. Place a sheet of foil on your work surface, then a sheet of baking paper on top of that. Carefully lift up the challah and place it on the baking paper. Spread the garlic, parsley, melted butter and olive oil mixture on top of the challah. Then, press the grated cheese into the slots on top of the olives, leaving half a cup of cheese on the side. 

Wrap the challah in the baking paper, then the foil, and seal. Bake for 15 minutes. Then, sprinkle the remaining half cup of cheese on top, and continue cooking for a few minutes until it melts and crisps up. Serve hot.

Level of difficulty: Easy-mediumTime: 30-40 minutesStatus: Dairy Translated by Hannah Hochner.