Spiritual Kneading Through The Jewish Months is Dahlia Abraham-Klein's newest cookbook. In it, she features an evocative collection of challah recipes, Jewish spiritual insights, and Torah study as it relates to each Jewish month. The separation of Challah, in addition to baking challah, is a a woman's mitzvah (commandment) and Rosh Chodesh, the first of each Jewish month, is traditionally a women's holiday. In Spiritual Kneading, Dahlia focuses on women’s spiritual growth via the tradition of challah baking while meditating upon the Jewish theme of the month.
The book covers all twelve months of the Jewish year, with specific Torah text for each month. The book also features a specific challah that relates to the Torah theme for that month, such as a Spiral Challah with Apple and Silan for Tishrei, a Rainbow Shaped Challah for Cheshvan, a Cheese Loaf for Kislev and a Star of David Challah for Tevet. Dahlia believes that kneading is an action meditation and so she also includes a meditation guided through the kneading of the challah dough.
Spiritual Kneading is also the perfect book for a Rosh Chodesh group. Each chapter gives sources, ideas, and questions to be discussed by the group while the challah dough is rising. The purpose of baking challah in this particular way is to develop ones own personal spiritual growth within the context of a Rosh Chodesh group.
Here are two delicious recipes from Spiritual Kneading Through The Jewish Months cookbook:
In her Basic Challah Recipe with Dry Yeast Dahlia includes details on how to knead the dough as well as how to freeze the loaves to bake at a later date, which is extremely helpful for those new to challah baking. It also makes 8 loaves so you can make the full recipe and freeze the challahs for the upcoming weeks.
Her Pita (round pocket bread) recipe is the perfect recipe for the month of Nissan, for which it is is featured. The recipe yields 30 pitas, which is excellent if you are cooking for a crowd. You can also always freeze the pitas you don't use up. The cooking time is quick (only 3-4 minutes for each batch) and so your pitas will be ready in no time.