As of this writing, Chanukah is just 17 days away ... eek! So here is a suggestion for a gift you can give someone, or the gift of time to yourself.
The following is a review of Tribes-A-Dozen Voilà! Hallah Egg Bread Mixes I won from a recent giveaway at Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe.
According to its own website, Tribes-A-Dozen is an "all-natural, Kosher line of traditional bread mixes created especially for busy home bakers."
In case you were wondering what's the difference between challah and hallah ... it's simply the transliterated spelling. I prefer challah. Tribes-a-Dozen prefers hallah. Same difference, and almost the same pronunciation.
The ingredient lists for all 3 consist of simple natural ingredients. Nothing weird, freaky or unpronounceable, unusual for packaged mixes. Included is a packet of rapid-rise yeast. You still have to add eggs, oil and (in the case of the 2 non-traditional mixes) a bit o'honey. Sesame and poppy seeds are suggested for garnish.
|Didn't bother with the poppy/sesame seed garnish.|
The Traditional Egg Bread Mix kneads up well. The dough handles beautifully, barely any stickiness, and I had no problem braiding the challah. The finished product was comparable to homemade, but one bite gave away its secret. It was denser than my from-scratch challah, but still better than store-bought. I wouldn't be ashamed to serve it to anyone. I'd give it 2 thumbs up.
The Simply Spelt Egg Bread Mix was a little different. The coloring was somewhere between the traditional and the wholey whole wheat. The taste was in between as well: more like a white/whole wheat combo with a little wheat germ added.
The dough was the most difficult of the 3 to work with. While some of the whole wheat dough stuck to the bottom, the entire spelt batch behaved as if there was way too much liquid. The dough was elastic and grainy (not smooth), with a very sticky consistency. I had to really oil up my hands in order to form the balls. My impatience would have been really put to the test if I had to braid up this perceived disaster.
Turns out the baked rolls were also very good. The tenderness was on par with the whole wheat, even if the taste wasn't. It was nice to finally discover what a spelt roll tastes like, even if it was my 3rd choice. Don't get me wrong, I did like it, just not as much as the whole wheat. And, for what its worth, youngerSon liked the spelt rolls the best. So I give spelt a 1 1/2 thumbs up .
The bottom line: if you are new to challah-making, want to save a little bit of time, or need to purchase a very tasty gift, buy these mixes. As of this writing, there was a sale on the mixes at the Tribes-A-Dozen site.
Full disclosure: Neither Tribes-A-Dozen nor Sweet Lavender Bake Shop provided monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.