Two Challahs for Rosh Hashanah, Part 1

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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!

Right?

Apple filling

Apple filling

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:

A funny looking apple challah.

A funny looking apple challah.

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:

Ice cream, anyone?

Ice cream, anyone?

But ya know what? It still tasted scrumptious:

Inside the challah.

Inside the challah.

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.

Full recipe:

Bread:

  • 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.
  1. Put all of the bread ingredients, in order, in the bread machine. Set to dough cycle.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the apple filling ingredients and chill until ready to use.
  3. Remove and segment as per the number of strands you’re doing. Recipe suggested 3 – which maybe would’ve worked better than my 4.
  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.
  5. Braid as you wish… Good luck!
  6. Let rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until about doubled.
  7. Sprinkle with sugar*
  8. 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!

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5 Responses to “Two Challahs for Rosh Hashanah, Part 1”

  1. sweetcomice Says:

    This Challah looks wonderful. And your idea for french toast is brilliant.
    Challah has always been one of my favorites. Do you have a recipe you like that is not for the bread machine? I’ve been baking for years and find making Challah to be like making art that you can eat.
    thanks for the great, honest photos.
    Georgia
    http://sweetcomice.wordpress.com/

  2. Cari Miller Says:

    Thanks, Georgia!

    I make 99% of all of my bread in the bread machine. In other words, I’ve made bread without it maybe twice ever. It’s just so much easier, and I’m just that lazy! I know there are a lot of good recipes though, including the one that came with the woven loaf instructions: http://www.ou.org/shabbat_shalom/article/woven_round_challah/
    Although to be honest, I’m a bit wary of the possibility of a good yet egg free challah. It may be worth a try though?

    Challah is definitely one of the tastiest and prettiest breads to make.

  3. FrenchToast « Life at No. 71 Says:

    […] is from awhile back… but remember how we said that Apple Challah would make amazing French […]

  4. Two Challahs for Rosh Hashanah, Part 2 « Life at No. 71 Says:

    […] at No. 71 Just another WordPress.com weblog « Two Challahs for Rosh Hashanah, Part 1 Mowlgi’s Tomato Sauce […]

  5. Shana Tova! « Life at No. 71 Says:

    […] Apple Challah – once again this year I’m making a challah for each night, and I made this same recipe for Apple Challah again this year. Luckily it turned out much prettier than last year, though admittedly it rose more out than up, so it’s a wee bit flat. I’m excited to dig in at dinner tonight regardless! And don’t forget to use leftover apple challah for french toast the next morning! Mmmmm… […]

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