Episode 7 – Braiding & Breaking Bread

In the seventh episode of the Foodbod Pod we meet Anne Iarchy and Karine Vignelles who discuss their food influences and deliver a lesson in how to braid challah dough. We also hear from members of the Sourdough with Foodbod Facebook group.

Anne describes the food she grew up with in Belgium and the various influences from her travels and time living in several countries before she settled in the UK and how she plans her week buying and cooking for one. She also discusses different options for making challah, the traditional bread prepared and eaten in Jewish households on Shabbat and on special occasions. Anne demonstrates how to braid the dough for a traditional challah shape, for small challah rolls topped with seeds and even for special shapes, producing a challah E for Elaine.

Meanwhile, Karine Vignelles discusses her inspirations from her French upbringing and how her husband’s Algerian heritage influences the ingredients they source and the food they prepare at home and her belief is respecting each other’s cultures and traditions.

Members of Sourdough with Foodbod, my sourdough baking group on Facebook offer their top tips for home cooking and baking and we hear from fellow “foodbodder” Phil Russell who is in the process of opening a small sourdough bakery with his wife as their “retirement” project in their new home in Spain.

Listen here and enjoy!

Or on Apple, Podbean, Spotify, Amazon, Google and other platforms.

Little Home Baker’s Challah Recipe


500g white bread flour

50g caster sugar or honey

8g salt

7g yeast easy bake (the one that you can mix straight into the flour)

50g sunflower oil

1 egg beaten

200-250g luke warm water (for my flour it’s 205g)

egg wash and seeds for toppings


In your mixer bowl, mix all dry ingredients

Then add the oil and mix.

Then add the egg and mix.

Slowly add the water, bit by bit. Each time incorporating as much as possible. You want enough water to incorporate everything, but not too much to make it a sticky mess. Now attach the dough hook and mix on slow/medium speed for 8-10 minutes. You need to

have a shiny, pliable dough. By hand it’s about 15-20 mins Oil a bowl, put the dough in and turn the dough round so it has an oil cover. Cover the bowl. I use a shower cap.

Leave in a warm place to proof for 1h30-2h. Take out of the bowl, cut in 3, 4 or more (depending on how many strands you want) even pieces, degass them and make balls.

Cover the balls with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes Roll each ball out into a strand. As the dough resists and shrinks repeat 2-3 times till you get a good length.


Transfer to your oven tray covered with baking paper.

Cover for a second proof for 45-60 minutes.

10 minutes before the end, put your oven on to 175C fan.

Uncover, egg wash and add seeds.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Anne used Matthews Churchills White Flour to make her challah.

And yes, David had a go!



(serves 5 people)

2 red onions, sliced or chopped

1 spring onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

500g spinach

1/2 tbsp grated nutmeg

200g feta cheese, chopped in small cubes

2 eggs, beaten

butter, large knob

salt & pepper to taste

1 pack fillo/phyllo pastry

olive oil

Nigella seeds


Large frying pan, slotted spoon, large bowl, 9” springform cake tin, brush, wooden spoon, chopping board, garlic crusher, knife


1. Heat the oven to 180C fan.

2. In a large pan melt the butter and sauté the onions until soft and  turning golden. Add the garlic and spring onion and cook for a couple of minutes.

3. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted. When all batches are done, allow to cool.

4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, spring onion, nutmeg, feta cheese, salt and pepper.

5. With a slotted spoon, add the spinach into the bowl leaving the excess liquid in the pan. You could even slightly squeeze some extra liquid out. Mix well.

6. Oil your baking tin including the sides.

7. On a clean and dry surface, gently remove 1 sheet of phyllo and apply some oil with a brush. Put that sheet gently in the bottom of your tin. The edges will hang over the sides. Make sure not to rip the sheet. Repeat the same with 2 more sheets, each time brushing the sheet with oil, and placing it at an angle so that the excess eventually goes fully round the edges.

8. Tip the filling in the tin.

9. Take another sheet and squish it into a bowl and place it on top of the filling. Repeat with another 2-3 sheets. Then take the excess and cover them over.

10. Brush some olive oil over the pastry sheets and sprinkle some nigella seeds.

11. Bake for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

12. Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it.

13. Gently remove from the baking tin and enjoy it with a Greek salad.

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