We treated this Challah like a loaf of brioche by baking it in a bread pan, however this recipe is great for a traditional, braided Challah as well (see the tip below!). This is one of our favorite dough recipes because the variations and creativity for it are endless and once baked, the bread is very sweet and moist. Try it with different filling or baked in different forms. But don't forget to use it for making French toast on a lazy Sunday!
for the FILLING
3 Golden Delicious Apple / chopped into ¼" pieces
9 T Butter
¾ C Brown Sugar / packed
Pinch of Salt
for the DOUGH
2 C Warm Water (100-110˚F)
¾ C plus 1½ t Sugar / divided
2 T of Dry Yeast / such as Fleishmann's Active Dry yeast
2½ lb AP Flour
½ C Brown Sugar / packed
1 T Kosher Salt
4 Eggs / lightly beaten
½ C Canola Oil
for the EGG WASH
2 T Milk
for the TOPPING
Sugar on the Raw / generous amount
Cinnamon / generous amount
In a small sauce pot over low heat, combine all filling ingredients. Cover with a lid or parchment lid and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Stir occasionally, adding a tablespoon of water if the mixture dries or begins browning on the bottom. Once finished, set aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a bowl, combine water, 1½ t granulated sugar, and yeast. Allow this to sit in a room temperature spot until there is approximately ½" of foam at the top (see tip 1!).
Combine flour, remaining granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt in a large tub or on your counter. Form a well in the flour, add the eggs and yeast mixture. Start blending with your hands. Once all of the ingredients are well incorporated, add the oil. Knead for 10 minutes, or until it springs back to the touch. If it's too sticky to handle, add a little flour or oil to your hands – being careful to not add too much flour, this dough is inherently sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour.
Punch down, cover with a tea towel again, and let the dough rise for another hour.
To assemble: Divide the dough in three even balls, one per loaf. (For a classic braided Challah, see tip 2 below.) Working with each piece individually, roll out into a long rectangle. Evenly spread 1/3 of the filling. Roll one long end tightly to the other. Place seam-side down while repeating with the remaining two pieces of dough and filling. When finished, place filled loaf in a buttered, parchment-lined bread pan. Brush with egg wash and top with a generous amount of sugar in the raw and cinnamon. Bake for 45 -55 minutes, or until cooked through.
Enjoy as is, try using it for your favorite French toast recipe!
1: If you have a load of laundry in your dryer, place the bowl of the yeast mixture on top. The heat and vibration will help speed along the activation process.
2: For a classic, braided challah, divide one ball (for one loaf) into three even pieces. Roll out each piece into a long rope and braid together.
3: After it's cooled, if you store it in a plastic bag overnight the texture becomes much "doughier" and sweeter the next day.