Harvest Apple Challah
This challah is totally different from the braid or spiral of golden bread you're used to. Stuffed with sweetened, cinnamon-scented apple chunks, it's prepared like monkey bread.
Tips from our bakers: Be sure to use good-quality honey and oil in this recipe. Since they play such a major part, they have to taste good. We prefer safflower oil, as it's neutral-flavored. Canola oil can produce off flavors in baking, so best not to use it here.
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, safflower preferred
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 medium-to-large apples, NOT peeled; cored and diced in 3/4-inch chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Coarse granulated sugar
- Dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them,
by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
- Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 2 hours, or until it's puffy and nearly doubled in bulk. If you've made the dough in a bread machine, allow it to rise in the machine for an extra hour after the dough cycle is completed.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan that's at least 2 inches deep. Or grease a 9 inch or 10 inch springform pan.
- Apple Filling: Toss the apple chunks with the sugar and cinnamon.
- Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, and flatten it into a rough rectangle, about 8 x 10 inches.
- Spread half the apple chunks in the center of the dough.
- Fold a short edge of the dough over the apple to cover it, patting firmly to seal the apples and spread the dough a bit.
- Spread the remaining apple atop the folded-over dough.
- Cover the apples with the other side of the dough, again patting firmly. Basically, you've folded the dough like a letter, enclosing the apples inside.
- Take a bench knife or a knife, or even a pair of scissors, and cut the apple-filled dough into 16 pieces. Cut in half, then each half in halves, etc. This will be very, VERY messy; the dough is slippery, apples will fall our, sugar syrup will ooze...it's not pretty. Don't worry, and don't stress about making all the pieces the same size.
- Lay the dough chunks into the pan; crowd them so that they all fit in a single layer (barely). Lots of apple chunks will fall out during this process; just tuck them in among the dough pieces, or simply spread them on top.
- Cover the challah gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it's a generous 2 inches high. It should just crest the rim of a 9 inch round cake pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Glaze: Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the dough with the egg mixture, and sprinkle heavily with the coarse sugar, if desired. If you're going to drizzle with honey before serving, omit the sugar.
- Place the bread in the lower third of the oven.
- Bake it for 55 minutes, or until the top is at least light brown all over, with no white spots. Some of the higher-rising pieces will actually char; that's okay.
- Remove the challah from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges and carefully
transfer it to a rack.
- Serve the bread hot, warm, or at room temperature.
- Drizzle with honey just before serving, if desired; or serve with honey for dipping.
Hands-on: 35 to 45 min | Bake: 55 min
Total: 4 hr 30 min to 4 hr 40 min
Yield: One 9-inch round challah, about 16 servings
Recipe and photo used with permission from: King Arthur Flour
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