The Daring Bakers Make Challah!



Let's Holla for some Challah, Whoop Whoop!

Sorry, I had to. I tried not to, but it came out anyway.


May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.


I was very excited when I saw that this month's challenge was to be challah! I've made challah once before (here) and it turned out great! I loved it, it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. The last time I did sourdough and a four- stranded braid. This time I decided to do do regular dough, the rounded version, and fill it!


This bread vexed me from the start. Whereas the sourdough version was so easy to work with, this dough never became smooth and elastic, it took forever in rising, the apple bits refused to stay in, and then it took forever in baking. I was pretty sure it wasn't even done on the inside when I took it out, but it was getting a little too dark on the outside. It wasn't until just now, when I am typing up the recipe that I realized I only used 1/3 cup of water and not 2/3 cup. Whoops...


I should not have worried, though, because even with my little mistake, the bread still turned out beautifully! The crust is perfect, the inside is perfectly done, neither underdone nor overly dry. It was awesome with a little bit of butter and drizzled with some honey! If I can stop myself from snacking on it almost constantly, I want to make some french toast with it! 



Apple and Honey Challah (Smitten Kitchen)

Bread:
2 1/4 tsp (a standard 1/4 ounce package) active dry yeast
1/3 cup + 1 tsp honey
1/3 cup neutral oil, plus more for the bowl
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/4 cup flour

Filling:
2 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
a squeeze of lemon juice
a dash of cinnamon

Egg Wash:
1 egg

In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, 1 tsp honey and 2/3 cup warm water.
Let stand for a few minutes until foamy.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, whisk together the yeast mixture, oil, remaining 1/3 cup honey, eggs, and yolk.
Switch to the dough hook and add in the flour and salt (just go ahead and dump it in) and mix on a moderate speed until the dough starts to pull together and form a craggy mass.
Lower the speed and knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth, elastic and a little sticky.
Transfer the dough to a large oil-coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and gently press it into an oblong shape (the shape here doesn't matter as long as you get it mostly flat and even).
Spread 2/3 of the apple mixture over 1/2 of the dough.
Fold the other half of the dough over the apples and seal the edges.
Press the dough down, and re-flatten the dough.
Spread the remaining 1/3 of the apples over half of the dough, and fold the other half over the apples.
At this point your dough should vaguely resemble a square-ish shape - tuck the corners under with your hands so it forms a rounded shape.
Turn the bowl you used before upside down and put it on top of your dough - let it sit for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
Roll and stretch each piece into a rope about 12 inches long (tuck any apple pieces that fall out back in with your finger).
Arrange two ropes in each direction, so they form a + sign.
Weave them so that one side is over and the other is under where they cross the other strand.
Take the four strands that come under and cross them over the strand to their right.
Take the four strands that come over and cross them under the strand to their left.
Or whatever, just cross them over and under until you get a round-shape. Haha.
Tuck any corners or odd bumps under the dough to form a circle.

Transfer the dough to a parchment covered baking sheet or stone.
Beat an egg until smooth and brush over the challah (don't get rid of the excess egg, you will be using it again!)
Let your bread rise for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Brush your challah with the egg wash one more time.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes - if the loaf starts to get too brown you can cover it with tin foil.
Cool on a wire rack before slicing. If you can. I couldn't. :)
Enjoy!




24 comments:

  1. YUM - those apples peeking out look SO good. I bet this was delicious... was there any leftover for French toast? :) Beautiful challah!!!

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    1. There was, and it was delicious! We slathered it in warmed up apple butter instead of syrup and it was awesome! :)

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  2. I like the dried apple version. Perfect with the honey on top!

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  3. Love the idea of apple in them. Even with the lil mistake it looks perfect?

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  4. Ooh, you got some amazing caramelization on that loaf! All I can think is a thick slice of your apple challah with soft, creamy cinnamon butter.

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  5. That's so great that even with your little mishap it turned out wonderfully! It really does look delicious

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  6. Well done!!! It's great that your bread still turned out delicious!!! Yeah i know what you mean!! Sometimes when we make a recipe even when it's right in front of us, we can somehow manage to misread it. hehe.. initially mine said 3/4 cups flour with water first. I almost read it as 3 cups instead. wow. that would have been a boo boo for sure!

    Totally loving your apple and honey filling! I need to try braiding a round one in the future! Lovely job!

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  7. Your challah is so pretty! I've been wanting to try filled breads but they really intimidate me. I'd love to try this recipe though. It looks so delicious! Awesome job :)

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  8. Ooh wow, those drizzled honey photos look amazing. I bet your challah made the world's best french toast. Yum!

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  9. love the use of the apple...now i wish i'd added apple alongside my hefty dose of cinnamon! :-)

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  10. I like those caramelized bits on the outside. I bet they tasted really good! It's 7sm in Malaysia right now, and I wish I had some of this for breakfast.

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  11. How gorgeous! And the thought of the subsequent french toast with apple butter sets my mouth to watering. Yum!

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  12. Looks delicious! Love the idea of an apple filling. I almost did apple and cinnamon before realising I had no apples haha. I'm going to have to try that next time I bake challah, yours looks so yum.

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  13. Wow, that looks positively gorgeous! I love the glossy caramel-looking crust, and I can't even imagine how delicious it must have tasted. Thank you for inspiring me to give it a shot!

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  14. Apple and honey challah sounds fabulous! And drizzled with honey - oh my ...

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  15. Wow must've tasted great with apples. Your challah looks charmingly rustic!

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  16. Apples and honey sound like a perfect combination, I love the apples peeking through
    Great job on this challenge Jenni

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  17. Thank you, as always, for visiting my blog! I wish I had been more adventurous now - that apple and honey version looks sensational! I would be worried I would eat the whole thing though. Might do it before my next marathon so I can justify eating the whole loaf ;)

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  18. I was a little scared to try incorporating anything into my challah. I love that you were truly daring and gave it a go.

    I love how in the kitchen, like so few places in real life, you can overlook something or make a mistake and the result is still gorgeous and delicious. <3 Keep up the awesome baking!

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  19. Yum...apple honey challah reminfds me of Rosh Hashana celebrations as a kid with loads of relatives - so much fun! You turned out a beautiful challah, Jenni..the sliced apples on top look so pretty!

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  20. I see a lot of Bakers did filled breads with the Challah! I had no problem with the risings or the dough using Peter Reinhart's recipe - but his has far less sweetener. (I always wonder if honey affects yeast, especially in sourdough but even with commercial yeasts, just because of its antiseptic powers. There is probably nothing to it, but I still always wonder...)

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  21. I kinda like the aple pieces poking out... Call it rustic and people will think it is by design! I am sorry the dough wasn't as fun to work with as you had hoped, but I am so glad the end result was to awesome!! Thanks for baking with me this month! :)

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  22. You made it! Your challah looks beautiful with big chunks of apples! Making french toast with this challah sounds delicious!

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  23. You made it! Your challah looks wonderful with the big chunks of apple. I had that problem too of the apple bits sticking out too much and with the baking as well. Mine got pretty brown on top. Great idea about making french toast with this challah. I'm sure it'd be delicious!

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