The Shabbat Table – Holiday celebration breads!

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, and Happy Hanukkah! The authors of the bestselling Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day are back with their newest bread-baking book, Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Sweet and Decadent Baking for Every Occasion (St. Martin’s Press).

Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., shocked the baking world when they proved that homemade yeast dough could be stored in the refrigerator to use whenever you need it. Now they’ve done it again, using the same quick and easy baking method to create savoury, sweet, healthy and decadent recipes for holidays and special occasions.

Still searching for latke recipes? Just in case you haven’t decided yet on what kind of latkes to make for Hanukkah, there are a whole lotta luscious latke recipes for your eating pleasure on Latke Love and More Latke Love:

Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day is chock-full of fragrant treats. All the old standbys are here, plus scrumptious samples from around the world—including Israel, Ukraine, Greece, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Austria. All were time-consuming and painstaking to make at home—until now. There are step-by-step photographs to help home bakers develop their confidence and sharpen their bread-making skills.

In 100 clear and concise recipes illustrated with photos throughout the book, as well as chapters on ingredients, equipment, tips and techniques, and a baking products resource list, Zoë and Jeff adapt their ingenious approach for high-moisture stored dough to a collection of mouth-watering breads from the four corners of the globe.

Recipes include Whole-Grain Challah Dough, Brioche, Sticky Caramel Nut Rolls, Ginormous Skillet Cinnamon Roll, Chelsea Buns, Monkey Bread, Jelly-Filled Doughnuts (Sufganiyot), Apple Fritters, Chestnut Chocolate Bread, Kugelhopf, Raspberry Braid, and a Family-Size Soft Pretzel. There’s even Montreal-style Bagels, made with honey and encrusted with seeds.

Recipes and photos are from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Copyright © 2018 by Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press.



We’re not sure why doughnuts are typically sweet, not that we’re complaining, but they are also delicious with savoury fillings. “When my family was in Naples, Italy, doing research for Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day, we found a street stand that sold fried, stuffed doughnuts filled with fresh mozzarella and ricotta and served with tomato sauce. We found a way to pass this vendor on our way to everything.” —Zoë

Makes about 12 doughnuts

1 pound (grapefruit-size piece) Challah dough (see below), or any dough from the book

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1 cup whole-milk ricotta

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neutral-flavoured oil, for frying, enough to fill a deep saucepan 4 inches from the top (see Equipment for Frying Doughnuts, below)

Tomato sauce, for serving


  1. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
  2. Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle, about 9 x 12 inches on a lightly floured surface. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 2-inch squares.
  3. Mix together the mozzarella, ricotta, nutmeg, oregano, salt, and pepper. Put about a tablespoon of the filling on each piece of dough, placing it so that you can easily close the dough around it. Brush the edge of the dough with water.
  4. Press the dough closed around the filling, making sure that the dough is sealed well, so the filling won’t come out while it is frying. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Heat the frying oil in a deep saucepan to 360°F to 370°F, as determined by a candy thermometer.
  6. Carefully drop the stuffed doughnuts in the hot oil, two or three at a time, so they have plenty of room to rise to the surface. Do not overcrowd, or they will not rise nicely.
  7. After 2 minutes, gently flip them over with a slotted spoon and fry for another minute or until golden brown on both sides.
  8. Using the slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining dough until all are fried.
  9. Serve with warm tomato sauce.


Equipment for frying doughnuts:

 There are a few tools you’ll need to make doughnuts. Nothing fancy, but having these on hand will make your doughnuts easier to make and as tasty as those from your favourite doughnut shop.

  • A doughnut cutter or a 3-inch and 1-inch round biscuit/cookie cutters (the little one is to get the doughnut holes).
  • A deep saucepan for frying the oil. It needs to be deep enough that your doughnuts can float in the oil without being too close to the rim of the pan. You want t least three inches above the oil to be safe.
  • A candy thermometer is a super easy way to keep track of how hot your oil is. Some people can look at the oil and know the temperature but we like to use a thermometer.
  • A slotted spoon or fry basket for retrieving the doughnuts from the hot oil.
  • When the doughnuts come out of the oil, they need to sit on paper towels, which will absorb any excess oil.



 Challah is traditionally baked on Fridays in Jewish households, and it symbolizes the start of the Sabbath, a time of rest. It’s enriched with eggs and sweetened just enough to make an ordinary Friday feel like a holiday.

We also include variations on the traditional three-strand braid. With a little practice, you’ll have no trouble plaiting three, four, and even six strands of dough (see photos) to create a gorgeous challah.


Makes four loaves, slightly less than 1 pound each. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.

  1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle), a Danish dough whisk, or a spoon. If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
  3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises for 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days, or freeze it.
  5. On baking day, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Dust each piece with more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
  6. Gently roll and stretch each dough ball, dusting with flour so your hands don’t stick to it, until you have a long rope about 3/4-inch thick, about 15 inches long. You may need to let the dough relax for 5 minutes so it won’t resist your efforts.
  7. Braid the challah: Lay the 3 ropes side by side and, starting from the middle of the loaf, pull the left strand (rope) over the centre strand and lay it down; always pull the outer strands into the middle, never moving what becomes the centre strand.
  8. Now pull the right strand over the centre strand. Continue, alternating outer strands, but always pulling into the centre. When you get to the end, pinch the strands together.
  9. Flip the challah over so that the loose strands fan away from you. Start braiding again by pulling an outside strand to the middle, but this time start with the right strand. Braid to the end again, and pinch the strands together. Visit, where you’ll find recipes, photos, videos, and instructional material.
  10. If the braid is oddly shaped, fix it by nudging and stretching. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rest at room temperature for 90 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the centre of the oven. Brush the loaf with egg yolk wash and sprinkle with the seeds.
  12. Bake for about 30 minutes. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time. The challah is done when golden brown, and the braid near the centre of the loaf is set.
  13. Allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.



Makes 1 challah


1 3/4 pounds Challah dough (see above), or any other enriched dough in the book

Flour, for dusting

Egg yolk wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water), for brushing the loaf

Sesame or poppy seeds, for sprinkling on the loaf


  1. To bake: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 3/4-pound (medium cantaloupe-size) piece. Divide the dough into 3 pieces (this is easiest done with a scale, but you can do it by eyeballing the different sized pieces as well).


1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece

1/2-pound (peach-size) piece

1/4-pound (plum-size) piece


  1. Start by dividing the 1-pound piece into 3 equal balls, and then stretch those pieces into ropes and braid them, just as the Challah recipe instructs. Place the braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Create a braid with the 1/2-pound piece of dough.
  3. Divide the 1/4-pound piece into 2 equal pieces, elongate them into ropes (about 1/2 inch wide), and then twist them together.
  4. Stack the 1/2-pound braid on top of the 1-pound braid and then top with the 1/4-pound twist.
  5. Dust the loaf with a little flour and cover very loosely with plastic. Let the loaf rise for 90 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack placed in the center of the oven.
  7. Brush the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds (if using).
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and firm to the touch. Depending on how high versus how wide your braid is, you may need to bake it for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  9. Allow the loaf to cool completely before serving.