Amy Riolo is an award-winning author, chef, host of Culture of Cuisine cooking show, and a Mediterranean cuisine expert. She has graced numerous television and radio programs in both United Staes and abroad, like Fox TV, CBS, Nile TV, and The Travel Channel. Amy is based in the Washington DC, area and leads culinary tours to the Mediterranean.
Her most recent book, “Nile Style: Egyptian Cuisine and Culture” is the first cookbook devoted to the multi-ethnic and multi-religious history of the Egyptian table. The recipes on the book revolve around 25 unique menus celebrating occasions such as Ancient Nile Festival, Ramadan Breakfast, and Passover. All menus include some historical and anecdotal introductions. From classics like Fava Bean Puree, Yogurt with Honey, and Whole-Wheat Pita Bread, to Lamb-Filled Phyllo Triangles and Peanut, Coconut, and Raisin Baklava, there is something here to tempt every palate!
Amy Riolo is giving us a sneak peek of her awesome book “Nile Style: Egyptian Cuisine and Culture” by sharing with us her recipe for “Egyptian Sesame Challah.” She explains why this recipe is perfect for the Spring by saying, “To me, the spring months are synonymous with warmth and family. The colder it gets outside, the more I yearn to be inside baking. This homey, satisfying recipe for freshly made Challah is a pleasure to both eat and make. Guests always rave about its beautiful braided shape. Whether you’re looking for a fun DIY baking project, to increase your international recipe repertoire, or create an edible centerpiece for your table, this bread won’t disappoint. Eating it is like taking a step back in time….”
Egyptian Sesame Challah
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or oil
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sesame seeds (untoasted)
1. Combine yeast with 1 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl, stir to combine and allow to rest until frothy.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt, 2 eggs, and yeast mixture. Stir well to combine and form a dough.
3. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. If dough becomes too sticky to work with, add a little more flour, ¼ cup at a time, and continue kneading.
4. Place dough in a large bowl greased with butter or oil. Turn to coat, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise for 1 hour.
5. When the dough has risen, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Take one half of dough and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch-long rope and place perpendicular to one another. At one end of the ropes, gather the ends of each piece together and press down to seal. Braid the three strands together. Grab each end of the dough braid and connect them to form a circle. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
7. Place loaves on a greased or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Place egg yolk in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and whisk to combine. Brush egg yolk on the top and sides of the loaves to cover and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until completely golden and the bread sounds hollow when you knock on the top of it. Allow cooling before serving. (If not serving within a day, wrap cooled bread in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to a month.)
You can visit Amy Riolo’s Official Website for more information and updates.