Breaking Breads By Uri Scheft

Chocolate and Grapefruit Challah from the book Breaking bread on a wire mesh stand

I have decided to maximize my resources in 2019. My shift in attitude has meant a new perspective of shopping. I am trying not to buy everything brand new. The thrift store has become one of my favorite places. After looking at all the books I own, physically and digitally, I knew it was time to use the library services. I still buy books but sometimes I borrow. Borrowing books is particularly easy because I realized I could use my library card for ebooks. I recently acquired the book, Breaking Breads by Uri Scheft from Hoopla, a digital lending service. From the book, I made this Chocolate and Grapefruit Confit Challah.

Chocolate and Grapefruit Challah from the book Breaking bread on a wire mesh stand

I have been working on my bread making skills for a while. I love eating bread and I want to be able to make really good bread at home. In the past few years, I have stagnated and mostly made a no-knead bread because it is easy and time efficient. After a while though, I started missing the textures and taste of other types of bread. So I tried to make sourdough and challah at home. I have been minimally successful in my efforts.

One thing that I like about Breaking Breads is that it is focused on the bread styles of Isreal. Scheft is an Isreali baker, who has studied baking all over the western world and now owns a bakery in New York City. This book on baking bread is not just a recipe book. In the beginning, he talks a lot about his approach to bread making. He gives tips and tricks on how to get the best result using the recipes. One of his suggestions is that reducing by half the bread recipe changes the outcome. I was glad I read that part because I usually make smaller batches of a recipe. For making the chocolate and Grapefruit Confit Challah, I committed to the full 7-cup size.

Dough for Chocolate and Grapefruit Confit challah in a blue bowl

The original recipe in Breaking Breads calls for making an orange confit since I had grapefruits on hand. I felt fortunate to have a standing mixer while making this challah because the dough is dense. First off, the challah base had sour cream. Other challah recipes I have seen online use mostly egg and butter to enrich the dough. I used a bit more water than called for in the recipe while making the dough. The additional water might have been a result of making the bread on a very dry day.

One thing that I found intriguing about the recipe is that the grapefruit confit and chocolate are not mixed into the dough from scratch. The recipe called for adding the grapefruit and chocolate after making the dough. A speckled bread is a result of using this method and I quite like the effect. Ultimately, I reduced the yield of the recipe before mixing in the chocolate and the grapefruit confit. I simply only mixed the filling into half of the challah dough. I baked the other plain challah dough and froze it for later day consumption. The plain challah dough is very delicious on its own.

I hope you give the Breaking Breads book a read. It is pratically free if you have a library card and use Hoopla. I can’t wait to try more bread from this book. The Chocolate and Grapefruit Confit Challah was a smashing success.


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