Challah and The Weird Sisters Book Review

I’m going to change things up a bit and hopefully do this every few months. This will be my book and food series. My goal is to read a book, find food mentioned in it or inspired from it, make the food, share the recipe, and review the book. Think dinner and a movie. 😉 Enjoy!

The Book Review:
The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown (2012), is a book about three sisters Rose, Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) returning home. The three sisters all create their own difficulties in life and have to find a way to overcome them with the hopes of a better life. If I had to describe their relationship in one quote, it would be this one: “See, we love one another. We just don’t happen to like one another very much (28).” They would do anything for each other, but they simply cannot get along.

Cordy spoke to me the most out of these characters because I can relate to her (although, I’m not nearly as wild and crazy, wow!). She’s a bit of a hippy, easy-going, doesn’t stress too much, and is ok with people making decisions for her because she’s too laid back to care. Hair, clothes, and make-up are not really a priority in her life, but she does love to cook. Yes, I love Cordy, and everyone else does as well, which makes the other sisters jealous. She’s everyones favorite. Rose is the oldest and wants to mother everyone. Everything has to be just so, which results in mountains of stress for her. The middle, Bean, is self-centered. She wants to look good, feel good, and have fun at any cost. But eventually life catches up with them. Rose needs to learn to let go, Bean needs to escape her own personal hell, and Cordy needs to take responsibility.

As for the parents, well, getting to know them explains a few of their unusual quirks. Their father is a professor at the local university. He is obsessed with Shakespeare and quotes him almost every time he speaks. At first, this drove me insane. I complained about it to anyone that was around me while I was reading, but I think that’s the point. I think he was intended to annoy the reader because he annoyed the sisters as well. It seemed like it was his odd way of forcing his children to think for themselves. Their mother, who is battling an illness, weaves in and out of their conversations, missing most of what is being said. Not because she’s ill though, it’s just her way. But she loves them, would do anything for them, and when it comes time for her to add her two cents, she does it beautifully and possibly makes the biggest impact.

Overall: Lovely book, quick and easy read. This book isn’t so deep that you get lost, but it isn’t so predictable that you’re left yawning. It’s a great book to help you relax and unwind.

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The Recipe:
I selected challah because of Cordy’s love for baking, especially her love for braided breads. I believe this bread even became French toast in the book, so guess what we’re having for breakfast tomorrow? 🙂 The bread is sweet and delicious and I adore the look of the tiny braided bread on top of the large one.

Let the yeast activate
Double in size
Brush with egg wash
Let cool
Beautiful, tall slices, perfect for French toast

Serving Size = 2 loaves (2 of the small braids, 2 of the large braids)
Original Recipe: The Frugal Girl

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 packages)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened or melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/4 – 5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  1. In a mixing bowl (I used my Kitchenaid Mixer), add the water and yeast. Let the yeast activate, takes about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, butter, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Mix well. Add the salt, keep mixing. Stir in 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white (reserve the yolk). Mix until a soft dough forms, adding flour until achieved.
  2. Lightly flour a surface and knead until smooth (I usually do this in the mixer as well). Place in the bowl, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size (TIP: I like to put bread in a warm environment, so I preheat my oven long enough to make it warm, shut it off and then put the dough in to rise).
  3. Divide the dough into two pieces, then divide each piece into two more pieces (one should be about 2/3 of the dough and the other 1/3 of the dough). Divide all pieces into three pieces to braid. For one loaf, roll out the three pieces of the large dough into 12-inch ropes. Then roll out the three pieces of the small dough into 6-inch pieces. Braid the large dough, then braid the small dough. Stack the small on top of the large, place on a baking sheet, cover and let rise for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. Repeat with the second loaf.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Add one teaspoon of water to the egg yolk and mix. Brush each loaf with the egg yolk and water. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on write racks. Note: The top braid could slide off a bit during baking. Once you slice it, the pieces will still look pretty good.