Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I'm not sure it's fair to call this a bread recipe. "Bread" makes me think of delicious things like whole grains, oats, and crusty goodness. This Challah is not that - it's light, fluffy, eggy, sweet, and tart. Not to mention unbelievably beautiful and although time intensive, simple to make - the perfect lazy Sunday project.
I tend to pick up a Martha Stewart Living magazine a few times a year - Martha is still "Martha" to me, a classy smart lady with a load of taste. This Apple-Honey Challah is the featured recipe in the back of the September issue, in honor of the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, challah is sometimes rolled into a circular shape (referred to as a "Turban Challah"), symbolizing the cycle of the year. Sometimes the top is brushed with honey in honor of the "sweet new year." If you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, perfect now you know what to bring to your party! If not, you should still bake a loaf - if the photos haven't tempted you enough should I mention the Apple-Honey Challah french toast we made with this? Ohhhh yeah.
slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living, September 2009
makes 1 9-inch round loaf
4 tbl unsalted butter, melted plus a bit more for bowl & pan
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for surface
3/4 cup warm water
2/3 cup honey plus 2 tbls
*check your local farmers markets for honey! I used Katama honey from Martha's Vineyard.
2 large farm fresh eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
2 tea active dry yeast
2 tea coarse salt
1 1/2 tart green apples, preferably Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 3/4 cups)
1. Melt 4 tbls butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; let cool. Combine 2 tbl melted butter, the flour, water, 2/3 cup honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
2. Transfer dough to a buttered bowl, and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into an 8 1/2 by 14 inch rectangle. Top with apples; knead to incorporate. Return to bowl. Brush with remaining tbl melted butter (keep saucepan out for last step); cover. Let rise again in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 hour more.
4. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Roll dough into a rope (about 24 inches) on a floured surface. Coil into a circle, and transfer to pan. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Let rise again until dough almost doubles in volume, about 45 minutes more.
5. Preheat oven to 375, with rack in lowest position. Heat remaining 2 tbls of honey in pan you used to melt the butter over low heat. Brush dough with half the honey. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 35 minutes.
6. Once out of the oven, brush challah with the remaining honey. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Turn out loaf from pan, and let cool.