Monthly Archives: October 2016

Babkha and challah class

I recently enrolled in a babkha and challah baking class at the Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham, North Carolina (

It was much easier that I thought it would be. The baker had already mixed and proofed the dough so half the work was done. The dough is enriched with eggs, oil, and some sugar. We used the same dough for both breads.

The first step for challah is to divide the dough and make two long ribbons about 18 inches in length.

Than we made a two stranded braid: the detailed instructions can be found anywhere on the internet. There are many good recipes out there with detailed instructions. My ends did not want to stay tucked!

They were placed in a warm oven to proof or rise before baking.

Babkha is made with the same dough but it is rolled flat in a trapezoid shape. The shmear (cinnamon and butter filling) is spread over the dough and then the dough is rolled to make a log. This log is folded into an “S” shape and baked in a loaf pan after a streusel is sprinkled over the top.

The instructor, John Trimpli, sent us all home with dough and extra shmear and streusel.

The student’s babkha loaves cooling.

The Fiat was smelling so good on my half-an-hour drive home.

After a 15-hour day, I am looking forward to munching on the challah and braiding and baking on my own but it is late ….so tomorrow.

On a social note: The JCC had gender neutral single-use bathrooms.

More pictures to come as I try baking these at home.


Filed under cooking

After Hurricane Matthew

Paulownia tree down on the patio.

Basjoo bananas 

The mailbox did not survive.

Basjoo bananas 

Paulownia tree on the patio and Gus

Sweet Gum on the driveway 

Paulownia on patio

Hurricane Matthew 

And now the cleanup begins……


Filed under General Gardening

A quick Crape Myrtle guide:

Pruning: friends don’t let friends Crape-murder……

How to prune a crape myrtle:

Example of crape murder:


Cultivars: Here is an excellent link for characteristics of the cultivars:


Gus stopped chemo for the adeno-carcinoma in his lungs in September but is still alive an kicking. His cough is becoming worse and he is not as active but he doesn’t seem to be in pain and still eats well. Just taking it day by day.


and now back to Hurricane Matthew……


Filed under General Gardening