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Cinnamon Apple Challah

December 27, 2014

Challah is typically made for the Jewish sabbath or holidays, like Rosh Hashanah. With the new year coming, I decided to make a round challah loaf as a symbol of the cycle of the seasons. It does take a bit for the dough to rise, but the result is a lightly sweet bread filled with cinnamon apples.  This recipe makes 2 loaves.

20141226 Apple Challah

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 c lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 pkg ( 2 1/4 t) yeast
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t ground cinnamon, divided
  • 5-7 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 medium tart apples
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground ginger

Then you will…

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the warm water with the yeast and teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in 1 egg, the three egg yolks, honey, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon.
  3. Stir in the flour until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and not sticky, adding more flour as needed.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl that is lightly oiled. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  6. Punch the dough down and allow the dough to rise for another hour.
  7. Meanwhile, peel and finely dice the apples.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, combine the apples with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the brown sugar, nutmeg and ginger.
  9. Divide the dough into 8 equal portion. Using your hands spread the each dough piece into a rectangle, roughly 12 inches by 3 inches.
  10. Add a little bit of the apple mixture down the middle of each piece, leaving at least an 1/8-inch border.
  11. Wrap the sides of the dough up over the apple and pinch to seal each piece into a tube filled with the apple mixture.
  12. Gentle roll and stretch each piece into a rope roughly 16 inches long. Be careful not to allow any apple to poke out.
  13. At this point you should have 8 ropes of apple dough. You will have 4 pieces for each loaf. Search online and you will find many different ways to braid a 4-strand challah. You can also search for a “turban challah” to see patterns for making a round loaf like I did.
  14. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  15. Braid into two loaves and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  16. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg with a splash of water.
  17. Brush the egg wash on top of the loaves.
  18. Bake for 20 minutes.
  19. Remove from the oven and brush again with the egg wash. At this point you can sprinkle a little brown sugar on top if you would like.
  20. Return the baking sheet to the oven, flipping it so the other side is to the back. Bake for another 20 minutes.
  21. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
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