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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

A Little Light Baking, With Challah And Paw Paw Bread

Preheat your ovens! Muddy Fork bakes challah and Daniel Orr bakes paw paw bread. Then we meet farmers who are trying to tackle nitrate pollution in groundwater.

Challah is an enriched egg bread. These loaves at Muddy Fork Bakery contain olive oil and raisins.

You eat challah on the sabbath and on Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah, which begins Sunday, October 2.

Eric Schedler of Muddy Fork Bakery is doing a special bake for the occasion — fresh challah his customers can enjoy just hours out of the brick oven. Katie Zukof is part owner of Muddy Fork with her husband Eric. On today’s program, he bakes the challah while she tells us how she views the tradition of eating the bread now that their two little girls are celebrating with them.

Muddy Fork Bakery's Challah

Yield: This recipe makes two 1-pound rounds of challah


  • 65 gram dry raisins (1/2 cup), soaked in water for 2 hours and then drained
  • 7 grams yeast (1/2 tablespoon)
  • 150 grams water (1/2 c up + 2 tablespoons), heated to 75 degrees F
  • 3 large eggs
  • 38 grams olive oil (3 tablespoons)
  • 500 grams of flour (approximately 4 cups + 2 tablespoons)
  • 40 grams sugar (3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
  • 9 grams salt (1/2 tablespoon)


  1. Before you get started, you'll need to soak the raisins in water for two hours. Drain the water and set the raisins aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F.
  3. Whether you're using active dry or instant yeast, Eric recommends proofing the yeast in the warm water for several minutes. Stir until yeast is fully dissolved. Then add two eggs and beat. Add olive oil.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, then combine with wet ingredients. Knead the dough in the mixing bowl for 5 minutes. Add the raisins and continue kneading until well distributed. Let the dough sit and rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until it nearly doubles.
  5. Lightly flour the counter and pour out the dough. Stretch and press it into a large rectangle. Cut into 4 equal rectangles. Roll each rectangle of dough into logs 20 inches long. (If the dough resists, roll part way and let it rest while you work on the other pieces. Then return to each one to roll it to length.)
  6. Twist two logs of dough together, then curve them into spirals. Place them on an oiled baking tray or a tray with parchment. Let the challah spirals rise for another 2 hours, or until they have almost doubled in size again.
  7. Beat the third egg and brush the loaves with the egg. (You will use only a small portion of this egg, so consider whipping up an omelet for yourself!) Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until deep golden brown and firm enough at the edges not to collapse.

Also today, fertilizer from corn fields is leaching into groundwater and rivers. Levels of nitrates are so high in some places, the water is unsafe to drink. From Harvest Public Media’s series Watching Our Water, we’ll hear what some farmers are doing to turn things around.


My gramma and grandpa knew where the trees were, and on their walk home from school when it was paw paw season, they would eat these until they got sick.

Daniel Orr makes paw paw bread (to be enjoyed in moderation) and some okra pickles for the end of the season.

Stories On This Episode

Farmers Feel Pressure To Fight Agricultural Water Pollution

Planting cover crops and spoon-feeding fertilizer are two ways to cut agriculture’s contribution to nitrates in water, but not enough farmers are buying in yet.

Midwestern Paw Paw Quick Bread

It's Indiana Banana season! Think of this recipe like a banana bread with paw paws instead.

In The Face Of Uncertain Future, Ag Industry Titans Pair Up

The prospect of fewer, larger companies controlling so much of the basic food supply is giving some farmers and anti-trust advocates heartburn.

Spicy Pickled Okra

We want to make these spicy, so in addition to red pepper flakes and smoked paprika, we're adding a generous dash of Sichuan peppercorns.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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