Soooo….whaddya think? My first Challah!! I’ve shied away from Challah as braiding skills require patience, something I don’t have a lot of. But when I saw this pull-apart version by @thekitchn, I knew it was a sign! No precision required, just cutting, stacking and lining up. It’s still not perfect, but I was going for a rustic look 😉.
This was dough was easy peasy, if you’ve never worked with a yeasted dough, start here. Now that I’ve made it once, I have a long list of test flavors to work on - chocolate & hazelnut, orange & walnut, and maybe even a savory-sweet filling… any suggestions? The only problem is that I ate about a quarter of it standing at the counter. That honey glaze? Don’t be fooled, it’s not just a glaze, it’s there to be slathered on anything within arm’s reach!
Shanah tovah umetukah to all our friends who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah! xoxo Kirsty
For the dough
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) water, at room temperature
Non-stick baking spray or room temperature butter to grease the pan
1-1/2 cups (190g) flour
1-1/2 cups (190g) bread flour
1 (1/4 oz.) packet instant yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the apple filling:
3 cups peeled and diced apples (from about 3 medium apples)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (70g) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more as needed
For the honey glaze:
4 tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (60ml) honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the dough:
Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line the pan with a parchment paper sling, so that the paper hangs over the 2 long sides.
Combine both flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs, water, honey, and oil and beat on medium speed until a shaggy dough forms.
Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-high speed until a smooth ball forms that comes off the sides of the bowl, for another 5-7 minutes.
Brush a medium bowl with soft butter or non stick baking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the honey glaze and apple filling.
For the glaze:
Heat the butter, honey, and salt in a small pan over medium heat, stir until smooth. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.
For the filling:
About 30 minutes before the dough is ready, peel, core, and dice the apples until you have 3 cups, and place in a medium bowl. If you want to do this ahead, cover the diced apples with a damp paper towel and put in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Add the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon to the bowl, toss to combine.
Assemble the challah:
Turn the dough out onto a clean, un-floured work surface. Roll the dough into a rough 20”x15” (50x38cm) rectangle. Spread the apple mixture, including any accumulated juices, over the dough into an even layer. Lightly press the apples into the dough.
Cut the rectangle into 36 pieces: first cut the dough lengthwise into 6 strips (see first picture below), then cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. Stack 6 pieces on top of each other (see middle picture), then repeat to form a total of 6 stacks. Transfer the stacks, upright like soldiers, to the prepared pan, lining them up like dominos (see last picture). You will have to squeeze them in tightly and some apples may fall off, but just tuck them between the folds.
Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it’s about 1-1/2 times its original size, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375F (190C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the pan on the lined baking sheet. Uncover the challah and brush with warm glaze (rewarm the glaze if needed). Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake until golden brown, with an internal temperature of about 200F (93C), 15-20 minutes more. If the ends of the loaf start to brown too quickly, cover them loosely with aluminum foil.
Place the loaf on a wire rack and let cool 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the loaf, then remove the bread from the pan. Brush the top and sides with more warm glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining glaze alongside, or salted butter.
The bread will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days. But who are we kidding, it'll be lone gone by then!
Recipe slightly adapted from Jessie Sheehan's Apple Honey Challah Pull-Apart Bread on thekitchn.com