Cooking with Parshat – Beshalach -בשלח

I decided to stick to my adventure of making at least one dish related to the Parshah read this week. In Parshat Beshalach we read:

יד  וַתַּעַל, שִׁכְבַת הַטָּל; וְהִנֵּה עַל-פְּנֵי הַמִּדְבָּר, דַּק מְחֻסְפָּס–דַּק כַּכְּפֹר, עַל-הָאָרֶץ.

14 And when the layer of dew was gone up, behold upon the face of the wilderness a fine, scale-like thing, fine as the hoar-frost on the ground.

טו  וַיִּרְאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל-אָחִיו מָן הוּא–כִּי לֹא יָדְעוּ, מַה-הוּא; וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, אֲלֵהֶם, הוּא הַלֶּחֶם, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן יְהוָה לָכֶם לְאָכְלָה.

15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another: ‘What is it?’–for they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them: ‘It is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

לא  וַיִּקְרְאוּ בֵית-יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-שְׁמוֹ, מָן; וְהוּא, כְּזֶרַע גַּד לָבָן, וְטַעְמוֹ, כְּצַפִּיחִת בִּדְבָשׁ.

31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna; and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Since bread is the most important aspect of Shabbat meal, I have decided to bake the bread that would remind my guests of coriander and honey, hence of The Lord’s protection and care of us, His people.

Again, to give credit, where credit is due, the original recipe came from a book I got a few years back, written by an Israeli author, Rena Rossner. I have adjusted the recipe ever so slightly, and the bread came out really delicious, fragrant, soft, and looking rather rustic, if I can say it about bread at all. This is a dairy bread, although you can make it parve, of course, substituting butter for Earth Balance or any other shortening of choice.

So, you need:

1.5 cup of warm water ( a bit less if you are not using rye flour)

1/3 cup honey

1 tbsp dry yeast

1 egg

1/2 cup butter

1 tbsp ground coriander (I buy seeds and grind them myself for better taste and fragrance)

1 full tsp salt

1/4 tsp each cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, ground nutmeg

1 tbsp orange or lemon zest

About 5 cups of flour ( I used a combination of equal proportions of rye, white organic bread and wholewheat flour)

The dough is made just like any bread dough:

Combine the yeast with a bit of honey and warm water and let sit until it looks frothy and expanded in volume.

Add the rest of the ingredients with the flour being the last so that you can see how much flour your dough takes in.

Knead it into a ball and let rest for about 2 hours in a warm place under a clean dish towel. Pinch it down and knead again just a little bit.

Divide into two parts and shape into round balls. Let rest for another hour or two on the prepared greased baking sheet.

Bake at 410 F for about 10 minutes, and then at 350 F for another half an hour.

As any bread, you can freeze this bread after it’s cooled. To reheat on Shabbat, the best way is to take it out of the freezer a few hours before serving, wrap in the foil and put in a warm place (I leave my oven on very low, or just put the bread on the blech‘s coolest part) about two hours before you start the meal.

 

As usual, while baking for Shabbat, it’s good to devote at least some time to d’var Torah:

 

 

“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand and all the women went out after in dance with timbrels.” (Exodus 15:20)

Parashat B’shalach describes the parting of the Reed Sea, the Israelites’ escape, and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army.  In awed gratitude, Moses leads the Israelites in Shirat Hayam, the Song of the Sea.  It seems pretty straightforward.  But the book of Psalms says, “Our ancestors in Egypt did not understand Your miracles in Egypt…”  (Ps. 106:7) What’s not to understand?

 Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk (1717-1787; disciple of Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezhrich, and a Chassidic master) observes humanity mostly takes the miracle of everyday nature for granted.  Only when presented with a supernatural phenomenon do we pay attention.  This is echoed in the contemporary poem Miracles, by Yehuda Amichai (1924-200; Israeli poet): “From far away everything looks like a miracle/but up close even a miracle doesn’t look like one/Even a crosser of the divided Red Sea/saw only the sweating back/of the walker in front of him/and the movement of his large thighs…”

The Jewish system of b’racha, or blessing, is designed to ensure we recognize and appreciate those everyday miracles.  It requires us to stop and reflect on our good fortune in experiencing something beautiful (a rainbow), something powerful (lightning and thunder), something soothing (trees), or something humbling (the open sea).  Blessings remind us the world cannot be appreciated only intellectually; it also needs to be experienced emotionally.  This is why Moses and the people sing after the crossing; words aren’t enough.

 The Song of the Sea tells us what happened.  Our job in reading it is to try to imagine how it felt to the Israelites and be grateful. (Courtesy of Dr. Ackerman)

 

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely recipe and so appropriate – thank you! Gut Shabbos!

    Liked by 1 person

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