Oh gosh I love challah; there’s just nothing quite like that buttery, slightly sweet flavor. So you can imagine how excited I was to make my own last weekend. I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, this one containing apples and substituting the sugar for honey. It sounded pretty much perfect for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah, so I gave it a go! I’ll post a step by step recipe this weekend, but I figured I’d give you the basic recipe incase you wanted to make it in time for the holiday.
Apple Honey Challah
Makes 1 round challah
One 1/4 ounce packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup oil (any neutral variety will work)
2 eggs plus 1 yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
2 medium sized baking apples (I used MacIntosh)
1 beaten egg
1. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/2 inch chunks. Set aside.
2. Whisk together yeast and 1 teaspoon honey with 2/3 cup of warm water. Set aside until it’s foamy (about 5 minutes).
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, use a whisk to combine yeast mixture, oil (do this first, then reuse the measuring cup for the honey and it will slide right out), 1/3 cup honey, eggs, and the yolk. Switch to a dough hook attachment, and add in the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough starts comes together.
4. On a low speed, use the dough hook to knead the dough for about 5 minutes. It should be elastic, smooth, and a little sticky (well, mine was pretty sticky).
5. Coat a large bowl with oil and transfer the dough into it. Cover this and let it rise for an hour (it should be almost double in size).
6. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and carefully press it into a flat oval or rectangle-ish shape. Distribute about 2/3 of the apples onto half of the dough. Fold the empty half on top of the apples. Spread the rest of the apples over half of the folded dough and once again fold the empty half over the apples. Press the dough down slightly and tuck the corners under, forming a round. Cover with an upside-down bowl and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll each one out until its 12 inches long. Weave the ropes as shown above. Move the 4 ropes that come from the underside of the center over the strand to their right. Move the strands that were just covered over the strands to their left. Tuck any extra dough under to form a round. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment and brush with the egg wash. Preheat oven to 375 F and let this rise for an hour.
8. Brush the dough with the remaining egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes. If it starts to get too brown too early, cover it with tin foil to prevent burning. Smitten Kitchen recommends checking for doneness using an instant read thermometer (it should read 195 degrees in the center), but I just pulled mine out after about 45 minutes.
Wait until it’s cool (or try to) before cutting yourself a nice big slice.
Enjoy this one, folks. It’s definitely a keeper, especially for the holidays.