Adam and I have been baking the Shabbat challahs for most family dinners for awhile now, and so this year we decided to volunteer to bring for each night of Rosh Hashana as well. Rosh Hashanah challahs really aren’t that different – but they are typically sweeter than usual to symbolize a sweet new year. Extra sugar, honey, apple, or raisins are a pretty typical addition for a Rosh Hashanah challah.
Night one we went with something a little unique… an apple challah from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook. It sounded easy enough: a slightly sweeter than normal challah with a simple apple filling rolled into each strand, jelly-roll style, braided and baked as normal. I wanted to go with a more traditional round shape for Rosh Hashanah, so after seeing a few kind of complicated instructions for the ““pinwheel” shape, I was happy to be directed to something a bit simpler – a “woven” round. Definitely more up my alley! I went in pretty confident this was something I could do – no problem at all!
Well… It wasn’t quite as easy as I’d thought. Rolling wet apple bits into challah dough doesn’t result in easy to work with strands. Instead, I found the apple bits kind of sloshing around inside what I had thought were tightly wound strands, and the dough itself started breaking the more I worked with it, revealing the apple underneath. Humph.
After ever-so-carefully playing with each and every strand until it was something I could halfway work with, I went ahead and wove the dough into something resembling the instructions. The dough ended up falling apart a little bit every time I tried to adjust, resulting in one of the strands completely breaking through to the apple layer. I wasn’t quite sure what would happen if the apples were allowed to be exposed quite like that when it baked, so I tore off a piece of the dough I’d reserved for the challah bun and attempted to cover my mistake. Not the best idea I’ve ever had.
In the end it wasn’t so bad, but the “repair” piece ended up browning more than the rest of the challah – check out this beauty:
That wasn’t the funniest shape of the night. For the challah bun, I thought I’d do a super easy method of just spiraling the dough into a round. Well apparently I did *something* wrong, as it sort of popped up in the oven, creating a nice ice-cream-cone-esque shape:
But ya know what? It still tasted scrumptious:
And it would make AMAZING french toast. I also wished this morning that I had apple butter on hand for breakfast…. oooh that would’ve been good.
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Apple Filling (for the record, I only used about half of what the recipe called for simply because it was too difficult to work with all of it in the dough.):
- 3 medium tart baking apples, peeled, cored, diced
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling on top.
- Put all of the bread ingredients, in order, in the bread machine. Set to dough cycle.
- Meanwhile, mix the apple filling ingredients and chill until ready to use.
- Remove and segment as per the number of strands you’re doing. Recipe suggested 3 – which maybe would’ve worked better than my 4.
- Roll segments into a big flat rectangle (approx. 12 x 3inches), brush with melted butter (or margarine to be parve) and place filling down the center of each strip. Roll up jelly-roll style and pinch to seal.
- Braid as you wish… Good luck!
- Let rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until about doubled.
- Sprinkle with sugar*
- Bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350°F oven.
*My big modification: I would’ve given the dough an egg wash if I had it to do again, and then sprinkled with sugar. I think it would’ve looked a lot nicer and helped the sugar to stick.
Next… part 2: Challah with golden raisins and a streusel topping!