Apple and Honey Challah Bread

I told you that I recently got over my fear of yeast, and so I thought that I would continue in my “rising” adventures, and try out this delicious fall-inspired challah bread courtesy of Deb over at smitten kitchen.

I was gifted with a large bag of apples, and although I had been eating an apple a day, I still had a large amount of apples left and wanted to make something delicious w before they went bad.  I had recently made apple pie, so I wanted to try something different and this bread looked absolutely delicious and perfect for an everyday breakfast.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

Bread

1 standard 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast

1/3 cup (79 ml) plus 1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup (79 ml) vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl

2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt

4 1/4 cups all-purpose

Apple filling
2 medium baking apples (I used MacIntoshes), peeled, cored and in 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks

Squeeze of lemon juice, to keep them from browning

Egg wash

1 large egg

Coarse or pearl sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

The dough:

1) Whisk yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into 2/3 cup warm water and let stand until foamy, a few minutes.

2) In your stand mixer, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (1/3 cup), eggs and yolk.

3) Switch to your dough hook and add your 4 1/4 cups of flour and salt. Use the dough hook on moderate speed until the dough is mixed well in a large lump of junk.

4) Lower the speed and use the dough hook to knead the dough for about 5 minutes until smooth, elastic and just a tiny bit sticky.

5) Transfer dough to a large oil coated bowl and cover (with plastic wrap or sealed cover) and set aside for about an hour until the dough doubles in size.

Side Note: I actually let it rise overnight which allowed me to skip the second “rise” the following morning.

6) Turn dough out onto a floured counter and gently press it down into a flat, oblong shape. The shape does not matter so however it goes, it goes.

7) Spread 2/3 of apple chunks over 1/2 of the flattened dough. Fold the other half over the apple chunks and press the dough down around them, flattening the now lumpy dough.

8) Spread the remaining 1/3 apple chunks over half the folded dough. Fold the other half over the apples, pressing the dough down again.Your dough packet will likely be square-ish.

Note: This is where I skipped the second rise.

9) Divide dough into 4 pieces.

10) Roll and stretch each one as carefully as you can into a rope — don’t worry about getting it too long or thin, just 12 inches or so should do.

Note: If any apple chunks fall out as you form the ropes or at any other time in the forming of the loaf or risings, just gently press those buggers back in with your fingers.

11) Weave your dough.  I did not end up doing as intense of a weaving job as Deb, but this is what I did and it worked well for me.  Arrange two strands perpendicular to your other two strands and do a little over and under trick.  (See picture).  Then just fold the tips under going towards each other (again, see picture).  Really,  just fold it and make it look pretty.

12) Transfer the dough to a parchment-covered heavy baking sheet

13) Beat egg until smooth and brush over challah.

14) Let challah rise for another hour but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

15) Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you’re using it.

16) Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 35 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed.

17) Remove from oven…Cool for a little bit (if you can). Break off a piece of it.  Eat it.  Let it melt in your mouth.

18) Share and Enjoy!

Yeah, so this is a lot of work and it takes two-three rises, but you can do it! And trust me, it is worth it!  I am also tempted to make another Challah of some sort and then make french toast out of it…this is what people keep telling me to do…and you know how I feel about french toast. 🙂

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