Honey Apple Challah
Welcome the New Year with honey apple challah: a moist and egg-y yeast bread infused with sweet honey, subtly cinnamon spiced, and studded throughout with tart, juicy apples. Perfect for Rosh Hashanah, or any other day of the year!
Good morning! I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend. This past Sunday marked twelve years (!) of marriage for me and my Mr. We celebrated with a fabulous meal at one of our favorite restaurants, and a mini-wine tour.
We visited two local vineyards and it was so much fun to taste all the different wines and meet the growers. As we were tasting, I couldn’t help but look forward to the holidays. We will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner once again this year, and as we were choosing our wines, I wondered what would taste best with all those warm holiday flavors.
But before we can start on Thanksgiving, we’ve got Rosh Hashanah to think about!
My in-laws are Jewish, and every year there is a big family get-together to celebrate the high holidays and the start of the New Year. We enjoy all the traditional foods, but the best thing on the holiday table is always the challah.
Have you ever had challah before? It’s a moist, egg-y bread that’s slightly sweet and comfortingly soft. It reminds me a lot of brioche, only it’s usually in the shape of a braid. I just adore it.
Rosh Hashana is traditionally associated with apples and honey, because they symbolize our wish for a year filled with sweet blessings. Many times, sliced apples are served, to be dipped into bowls of honey. I’ve always thought it would be so nice to incorporate those flavors right into the holiday bread.
My favorite thing about this loaf is how well-balanced the flavors are. The cinnamon is subtle, and the sweetness of the honey doesn’t overpower the savory, yeast-iness of the bread. The apples give a little bite here and there, with a slight tartness that’s so perfect for this time of year.
My kids and I love to eat thick slices of this bread, warmed slightly and slathered with butter, for breakfast or as a snack. But my hubby loves to make French toast out of it. I think it would be great as a bread pudding too. That is, if there are any leftovers!
I created this recipe for KitchenAid’s Apple Challenge! They’re partnering with Food Network and Geoffrey Zakarian, and you can get involved too! Create an original recipe using apple as the key ingredient, for a chance to win a cooking lesson with chef Zakarian and the new suite of KitchenAid appliances! Just share an image of your recipe using the hashtag #KitchenAidContest on Instagram or Twitter. Click here to learn more!
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Honey Apple Challah
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast, (about half a packet)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons oil, (such as canola, vegetable, or grapeseed)
- 1 granny smith apple,, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch dice
- egg wash, (1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of water)
- Combine the water and honey in a liquid measuring cup, and sprinkle the yeast over the surface.
- Set aside and allow to proof (become foamy) for 5-10 minutes.
- Place the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
- Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture.
- Add the egg, yolk, oil, and apple, and stir, working the flour into the liquids a little at a time, until all the ingredients have incorporated and the dough forms a ball that pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. (If the apples are juicy and the dough seems sticky, add a little more flour.)
- Dust the work surface with flour, and knead the dough for 10-15 minutes.
- Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and knead for 5 minutes more.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and roll each into a rope about 18 inches long.
- Pinch all 4 ropes together at one end. Starting with the left-most rope, weave it over the adjacent rope, under the next, and over the last. Repeat, to form the braid, until you have reached the end.
- Pinch the braid together at the bottom end.
- Brush with egg wash, and allow to rise for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Brush the challah once more with egg wash, and bake for 30 minutes.