One good thing (okay, maybe the only good thing) about the current heat wave is that your dough sure does rise quickly under such conditions. The first rise happened in 20 minutes, and the subsequent two in 10. In short, the heat and humidity made for some very fluffy water challah. So for any of you who are "yeast-challenged", i.e. claim they cannot bake challah because it never rises, I suggest you try on day like today.
In a related vein, the issue I tend to have is not with the baking challah part- it's with the taking challah part. I can never remember how much flour equals the amount requiring the taking of challah. By that I of course mean officially, since I always take challah, even though some rebbeim claim that with certain volumes you don't take at all. Here is a run down of the general guidelines/quantities:
- 1 lb flour = approx 4 cups
- 5 lbs flour = take challah with the blessing
- 2 1/2 lbs flour to 5 lbs flour = take challah without the blessing
- Less than 2 1/2 lbs flour = do nothing
And FYI, if you hate having to smell up your kitchen with burning the challah taken, you have a couple of options. First, you can store the challah taken until Pesach, and then you burn it all with your chometz. I actually know quite a few people who do that. My freezer of course prevents me from taking that route. Instead, I follow option 2, which is to double-wrap the challah taken in wax paper or aluminum foil and then dispose of it in the garbage.