Apple and Honey Challah
Why serve apples, honey and challah separately when you can combine them all into one and enjoy them together? This majestic apple-studded round challah is perfect for Rosh Hashanah and for starting the new year off right. Photo by Josh Cherner.
- 2¼ teaspoons (¼-ounce packet) active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup plus 1 teaspoon honey, divided
- ⅔ cup warm water
- ⅓ cup canola or safflower oil, plus more for the bowl
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk, lightly beaten (reserve 1 tablespoon for egg wash)
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for your work surface and kneading
- Apple Filling
- 2–3 medium baking apples (Fuji, Jonagold or Crimson Crisp)
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- 1 tablespoon canola oil (or 1 tablespoon butter if having a dairy meal)
- 2½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- Egg Wash
- 1 tablespoon beaten egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons water
- Raw sugar for sprinkling (optional)
- Dough: Whisk yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into water and let stand for a few minutes until mixture is foamy. In the bowl of a standing mixture, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (⅓ cup), eggs and yolk. Switch to dough hook and add 4¼ cups flour and salt. Use dough hook on a moderate speed until it pulls all of the flour and wet ingredients together into a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand until the dough feels smooth and soft, about 5 minutes. Add a little flour if the dough is too sticky. Transfer dough to large oil-coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.
- Apple Filling: Peel, core and cut the apples into ¼-inch chunks. Combine in a bowl with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Heat the oil or butter in a large frying pan over medium-heat. When the oil is hot, add brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg and apples. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the apples are fork tender, but not too soft. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and honey and stir. Transfer apple mixture to a glass bowl and let cool. Strain out any remaining liquid before filling the challah.
- Assemble Challah: Turn dough out onto a floured counter and gently press it down into a flat, square-ish shape. Spread ⅔ of apple mixture over half of the flattened dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the apples and press the dough down around the apples to flatten the dough. Spread the remaining apple mixture over half the folded dough.
- Fold the other half over the apples, pressing the dough down again. Fold the corners of the dough under and form the dough into a round. Flip your bowl over the dough and let it rise an additional 30 minutes
- Shape Challah: Carefully roll and stretch dough into a long wide log. If any apple chunks fall out, poke them back in with your finger. Holding one end of the log, spiral the other end around until you have a round loaf. Tuck the end under and pinch to secure. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined heavy cookie sheet. Beat egg wash ingredients with a fork until smooth. Brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour. While the bread is rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake Challah: Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Bake in middle of oven for 40 to 45 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed. If the challah browns too quickly, loosely cover it with foil for the remainder of the baking time. The challah will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack before serving.