My long-time coworker Ali proclaimed me an official member of the Jewish faith the other day.
Because I made challah.
And a million jokes that contained both of the following words: challah, holla.
But dear readers, if the Jews are God’s chosen people, challah is the chosen bread. See that light in the photo up there? It’s shining down from the sky. And should you choose to make apple and honey challah for your next day of atonement, I suggest you schedule this to come out of the oven at the exact moment you break your fast. For the following reasons:
1. This bread will make your house smell like you’ve died and gone to heaven.
2. This bread tastes even better than that.
To make apple and honey challah, you will need:
- 2 1/4 tsp. active, dry yeast (the size of one standard envelope)
- 1/3 C, plus 1 tsp. honey
- 1/3 C neutral oil (I used canola)
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 4 1/4 C bread or all purpose flour
- 2 medium baking apples, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (per Deb’s recommendation, I used McIntosh)
- 1 more egg for egg wash
I used a mixer to prep this bread, but Deb has instructions for ye who make your bread by hand.
Stir yeast and 1 tsp. honey into 2/3 C warm water. Let sit for a few minutes, till foamy. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey, eggs, and yolk till combined. Switch to dough hook, add flour and salt, and knead on medium till all ingredients are pulled together. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll have a smooth dough. Lower mixing speed and knead for 5 more minutes.
Put dough in oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let rise for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size.
Gently press dough out into a long rectangle. Place 2/3 of apples on 1/2 of dough, and fold over. Place remaining 1/3 of apples on 1/2 the folded dough. Fold the last apple-less part over top, and pinch together any open seams. Throw it back in the bowl, cover, and let sit 30 more minutes.
Cut dough into quarters, and roll each piece into a rope with your hands. Weave the strands together using Deb’s beautiful photo tutorial as your guide. Brush the top with a lightly beaten egg. Let the bread sit for another hour. After 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Give the dough one last egg wash and pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes. If yours, like mine, starts getting more brown than you like, you can cover it with foil once it reaches a hue of your choosing. I’m not that kind of patient. Once my bread is in the oven, I’m not coming back to check on it until it’s done.
A note: Yes, of course some of this is sitting in the fridge, reserved for a Saturday French toast endeavor.