picture from Sweet as Sugar Cookies

With Rosh Hashanah gone and passed and Yom Kippur quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time for some sweet challah bread. This has been on my top 26 list for a while. But when it came time to make it, I didn’t want to do the traditional challah. While quite tasty, I wanted something that had a bit more pizzazz. So I saw this recipe for harvest apple challah, from one of my favorite blogs to check out, and thought it was just right. While I always think I can improve, I think it came out pretty darn good. Next, pumpkin challah. Yummmm.

Dough Ingredients

  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3½ cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

Apple filling

  • 2 medium-to-large apples, NOT peeled; cored and diced into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Topping

  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Sugar, for sprinkling

(1) Start by making the dough. Combine the yeast and the water in a small bowl and let sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes foamy. In the meantime, place the butter, honey, eggs and salt into a large bowl. Once the yeast is foamy, pour into the large bowl and mix the ingredients together. Then start putting the flour in one cup at a time, kneading by hand until the flour is gone and the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl anymore and is smooth. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover and let rise until it doubles in size (about 2 hours). 

(2) Lightly grease a 9″ round springform pan (or a cake pan, if you don’t have a spring form one). Cut the apples into chunks, while keeping the peels on. Toss the apple chunks with the sugar and cinnamon.

(3) Gently deflate the dough and flatten it into a rectangle (about 8″ x 10″) on a lightly greased surface. Spread half of the apple chunks in the center of the dough. Fold a short edge of the dough over the apple to cover it, patting down firmly so that you seal the apples in and spread the dough a bit. Spread the remaining apples on top of the folded-over dough. Cover the apples with the other side of the dough, again patting firmly.

(4) With a sharp knife, cut the apple-filled dough into 16 pieces. Cut in half, then each half in halves, etc. This will be messy! Don’t worry it won’t be seamless. The apples will fall out and the sugar mixture will ooze out. Lay the dough chunks into the pan. It will be crowded, so squeeze them in together so that they all fit in a single layer. Apple chunks will fall out during this process, but just tuck them in under the dough pieces. Cover the challah with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it crests just the rim of a 9″ round cake pan.

(6) Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325°F. Once the challah is done rising, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the dough with the egg mixture, and sprinkle heavily with the extra sugar. Bake the bread for 55 minutes, or until the top is at least light brown all over, with no white spots. Remove the challah from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges of the springform pan and carefully transfer it to a cooling rack.

(7) Serve the bread hot or warm if you can. If not, room temperature will still be good. Finally, if you want a sauce on top, mix a ½ cup of honey and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Drizzle with this just before serving or serve on the side for dipping.

(8) Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted from Sweet As Sugar Cookies

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