We are fast approaching Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New year. So this week we set aside canning and talk BREAD!
I have long since known a Jewish man, named Micheal. When I was but a teen he once told me…”Your never too poor to buy good Bread”. He would gift us with fresh bagels each time he would visit from the big city bakeries. Each week was a new flavour. A real luxury considering the only bagels we had round here were dense & factory made. I confess I would try to horde … You would too if you had as many siblings … He rightfully instilled into me my love and culture of bread.
Although we were not Jewish, I…we now enjoy Challah. It is the bread of breads. Labour of love as it requires a long rise time 2.5 hours roughly. Luxury in carb form. And in my opinion – totally worth it. It is also a great showy bread and makes a great gift. Tori Avery Has a beautiful Honey Apple Challah recipe that I have made. And is quiet yummy.
According to Tori’s post “On Rosh Hashanah we dip apples in honey to symbolize our hope for a sweet new year.”
As Micheal thought me: Shanah Tovah Um’tukah! (May you have a sweet New Year!)
Honey Apple Challah – C/o Tori Avery.com
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, divided
- 1/4 oz active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp salt
- 5-7 cups flour
- 3 medium granny smith apples
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)
Egg Wash Ingredients
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp cold water
- 1/2 tsp salt
Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the bowl, whisk to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes, yeast should bubble or froth.
Once your yeast has activated, add remaining 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water along with the egg, egg yolks, honey, canola oil, vanilla and salt. Thoroughly blend the ingredients together.
Begin adding the flour to the bowl by half-cupfuls, stirring with a large spoon each time flour is added. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead.
Continue to add flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and knead a few more time
Place a medium saucepan full of water on the stove to rolling boil.
Grease a bowl with canola oil. Push the dough back into the bottom of the bowl, then flip dough over so that both sides are slightly moistened by the oil.
Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Place the bowl of dough on the middle rack of your oven. Take the saucepan full of boiling water and place it below the rack where your dough sits. Close the oven, but do not turn it on. The pan of hot water will create a warm, moist environment for your dough to rise. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Take the dough bowl out and punch it down several times to remove air pockets. Place it back inside the oven and let it rise for 1 hour longer.
During this final rise, fill a mixing bowl with cold water and dissolve ½ tsp of salt in it. Peel the apples and dice them into very small pieces, about ¼ inch large. Place the diced apples into the bowl of lightly salted water. Reserve. When you are ready to begin braiding the dough, drain the apple pieces and pat them dry with paper towels. Toss the apple pieces with 1/4 cup of sugar. If you’d like, you can add ½ tsp of cinnamon to the sugar to give the apples an apple-cinnamon flavor.
Take the dough out of the oven; it should have doubled in size during this final rise. flour a smooth surface like a cutting board. Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Knead the dough a bit, adding flour as needed to keep it from feeling sticky.
This dough makes 2 loaves : Divide the dough into two equal halves. Put one half of the dough on a smooth, lightly floured surface. Leave the other half of the dough in the bowl covered by a moist towel. Cut the dough on the floured surface into four equal portions.
Take one of the four portions and stretch it with your fingers into a rough rectangle, about 1 foot long and 3-4 inches wide. Note; the dough needs to be thick enough to handle an apple filling.
Sprinkle some of the sugared apple pieces across the center of the rectangle. You should use about 1/8 of the apple pieces in each rectangle. Leave at least 1/2 inch border along the outer edge of the dough
Gently roll the upper edge of the rectangle down to the lower edge and pinch to seal, creating a snake-like roll of dough stuffed with apples. This is the beginning of your strand.
Gently and carefully roll the stuffed strand till it becomes smooth, until about 16 inches long
Once your apple strand has been rolled, repeat the process with the remaining 3 pieces of dough, making sure that they are even in length with the first strand. In the end, you’ll have 4 apple-stuffed strands.
Now braid your challah. See photo below for an example.
After the round has been braided, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the braid rise on counter 30 to 45 minutes longer. You’ll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into the dough and the indentation stays, rather than bouncing back. While this challah rises, you can work on the other half of the dough in the same way.
Prepare your egg wash by beating the egg, salt and water till smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the mixture onto the visible surface of your challah. Reserve the leftover egg wash. Sprinkle the top of the challah with 1 tbsp corse white sugar.
Place in oven. After 20 minutes, take the challah out of the oven and coat the grooves of the braid with another thin layer of egg wash. These areas tend to expand during baking, exposing dough that will turn white unless they are coated with egg wash. Turn the challah around, so the opposite side faces front, and put it back into the oven. Turning it will help your challah brown evenly—the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front.
Bake for additional 20 min approx (exact time varies due to moisture).- watch for bread to become golden brown and cover with foil tent for remainder of baking. You will know its done when it will be completely golden brown and It should sound hallow on bottom when tapped. Thermometer will read 190.