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
- 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, optional
- To make the 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.
- 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
- 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" high. It should
just crest the rim of a 9" round cake pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat
the oven to 325 degrees F.
- 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 OK.
- 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 time: 35 to 45 min | Baking time: 55 min
Total time: 4 hr 30 min to 4 hr 40 min
Yield: One 9-inch round challah, about 16 servings
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.
Recipe and photo credit: King Arthur Flour