Hills of Challah

I made this decadent apple raisin cinnamon challah the other day for the holiday. The challah was sweet, moist and satisfying. The recipe makes a lot of challah so get your oven ready! I came across this recipe in search of something a little bit different for the holiday. It yielded two very large challahs, but I think it would be best made in three smaller challahs since there is a filling which makes baking time tricky. You want to make sure the inside is done without getting the outside overcooked.

Child Friendly Tip: You can have your child mix the yeast mixture together and talk about what happens to the yeast mixture as it proofs. Your little one can help you measure the dry and wet ingredients. Depending on the age of your child, they can help you turn on your stand mixer or knead the dough themselves. Have them “paint” the challahs before baking with the egg wash. Lastly, they will definitely be eating up this bread after it comes out of the oven. Mine was gone in less then fifteen minutes on serving.

Language Concepts: Problem solving, inferencing, answering “wh” questions, food groups, actions (e.g. “chop”, “mix”, “knead”, “braid” “whisk”), texture (discuss what the dough feels like), temperature (explain how the water has to be warm when mixed with the yeast), practicing math with measuring, expanding vocabulary (e.g. defining “proofing”, science concepts (with yeast mixture) and many more! I would ask your child, “What makes this Challah healthy?”. See what your child comes up with or ask them for ideas on making it healthier.

This is a bit different than my whole wheat challah but both equally good in different ways. This is definitely a challah you would consider making for a special occasion and does take time and a lot of love 🙂

I got the original recipe here. I made some modifications. Here is how I made it:

[tab title=”Ingredients”]
For the bread
2 envelopes of dry yeast
1 tablespoon of brown sugar plus 3/4 cup regular granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups (870 g) all-purpose flour
1-2 cups of whole wheat flour

For the filling
1 large apple (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored, diced
1/2 cup (65 g) raisins
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
[tab title=”Preparation”]
1. Combine 1/2 cup warm water, the yeast, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the yeast dissolves. Let it proof for 10 minutes or so.

2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer, beat the eggs at medium speed until blended. Add the oil, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Beat about 4 minutes. Beat in 2/3 cup water, then add the yeast mixture. Beat in the flour 1 cup at a time.

3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes (or use the dough hook on your mixer for 1 minute at low speed). Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and put in a warm corner of
your kitchen to rise.

4. Punch down the dough, rewrap with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise for 30 minutes. It will puff up but probably not double in that short period of time.

5. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small bowl, toss the apples with the raisins, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon. Let sit for 20 minutes, then drain any liquid. I saute this mixture for a couple of minutes in a pan to ensure that your apples are done. I would drain them again and wipe them with a paper towel to get any more excess liquid off.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in three pieces. Divide each dough ball into three equal parts, for a total of nine pieces. Roll out each piece to form a long strand, then pat each strand down into a flat rectangle shape. Spoon a bit of apple mixture down the center of each rectangle, then fold dough over the filling, roll into a rope, and pinch the ends tight.

7. Form the loaves: Put three of the apple-filled “ropes” on each baking sheet. Braid the ropes together (fold right rope over
center, then fold left rope over center, repeat). Pinch at bottom. Repeat with the other loaves. Cover the loaves with kitchen
towels, and let rise for 45 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 400°F and set a rack to the middle position. Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water and brush over the tops of the loaves. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the crusts are browned and the bread is puffed and light, 20 minutes more. Watch them to ensure that they don’t burn. Transfer the loaves to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes before serving.
[tab title=”Photos”]



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