L’Shanah tovah to all my jewish foodies out there! And for the rest of you who might be curious or confused, here’s a completely awesome buzzfeed article about Rosh Hashanah. (Hint – 15 Things every Jew wants you to know.)
Right, so Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year (I bet my Buzzfeed readers knew that one!) which is exactly what you think, a celebration of life and hopes for a happy and healthy new year. So why a round challah? Most of you might know Challah as a braided bread, but for Rosh Hashanah Challah is round – to symbolize a circle of life, and cycle of a new year. Apples carry a similar symbolism for this high holiday; Jews are ALL about symbolism. We eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year; so this challah is made with honey, apples, apple butter, and baked in a circle! This recipe came from The Kitchn and is super fantastic!
The Recipe seems kinda complicated, but is REALLY easy as long as you read it through first! Scroll down to the bottom for full recipe! There were some pretty big developments in the kitchen this week with all the cooking and baking for the holidays, I had to SHARE the kitchen. Not only did I share the kitchen, but my mom and I made the challah together! I know, but we both survived and enjoyed ourselves! Turning over a new leaf this year I guess!
After making the dough, letting it rest, letting it rise, and halfing it – making this challah is somewhat like making strudel! Roll it thin, fill it with the apple butter and apple pieces, then “strudel roll it tight” into a long rope. (Those are my mom’s words).
Happy New Year! Hope that even if you don’t celebrate the holidays you’ll give this challah a try – it’s completely fantastic and beyond delicious! It’s not bragging if I’m recreating somebody else’s recipe, is it?
Til next time – Happy baking!
Apple Butter Challah
Makes 2 round challahs
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110°F)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
- 4 large eggs, divided
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2/3 cup apple butter, divided
- 1 small apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped, divided
Stir together the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and the water in a medium bowl. Let sit until foaming, 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Add the vegetable oil, 3 of the eggs, and the honey to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the wet mixture. Gently stir until the dough begins to form, then turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead well, adding more flour a little at a time as necessary, until a supple dough forms, 10 to 12 minutes. (I typically add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour while kneading, depending on humidity.)
Rub about 1 teaspoon of oil around the bottom of a large bowl, add the dough and turn to coat; cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Grease two 9-inch round cake pans; set aside. Gently punch down the dough and divide in half. Working with 1 piece of the dough (and keeping the other covered so it does not dry out), roll it into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Spread 1/3 cup of the apple butter evenly over the top, and sprinkle with half of the chopped apple.
Starting at one of the long ends, tightly roll the dough in on itself, like a jelly roll. Pinch the ends to seal and gently stretch into a 24-inch rope; coil rope into a circle and place into one of the prepared pans. Repeat process with second piece of dough, remaining 1/3 cup of apple butter, and remaining apple.
Whisk the remaining 1 egg in a small bowl and brush the challahs with one coat of egg wash. (Put remaining egg wash in the fridge.) Let rise for another 30 minutes. Fifteen minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Uncover the challah and brush with a second coat of egg wash. Bake until deeply browned and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. (An instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf should register 195°F.) Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the pans and let cool on a wire rack.