Challah with Apples and Honey

Challah-3Tonight marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah. Happy New Year! I love this holiday and seize the opportunity for fresh beginnings. I treat it like a traditional new year and spend the day reflecting about the past year and year to come; straightening my apartment, organizing my life, and vowing to get to the gym; and cooking. Always cooking. And always vowing to get to the gym.

There are a few explanations about the origins of the tradition, but on this holiday, we enjoy a taste treat – apples and challah dipped in honey. I always learned that the round apple represents a fresh new year, and the honey symbolizes (well, pretty literally) sweetness. Together now: A sweet new year. Braided challah bread is a traditional Jewish food, but on Rosh Hashanah, challah is shaped into spirals to symbolize continuity.

Challah-2This recipe combines apples, honey, and challah in one awesome 9″ round pan. I feel like you might not need serving suggestions (“slice, raise to mouth, and chew” seems a little obvious), but I recommend serving straight from the oven when it’s fresh and hot, or as soon as possible after. Keep it on your kitchen counter under a cake saver, and serve toasted slices with some spreadable honey butter* a day or two later. And if by some bizarre chance it lasts longer than that, use it in a bread pudding or slice it into crustless squares to use for french toast. {I have a few squares in my freezer now – get ready for breakfast Saturday, SLRH!}

Challah-5Ingredients:
– 2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 3.5 c flour, plus more for kneading
– 3/4 c warm water (100 degrees)
– 1/3 c honey {buy local! perfect farmer’s market purchase}
– 2 large eggs and 3 large egg yolks
– 1 package active dry yeast
– 1 t kosher salt
– 2 apples, peeled and sliced in to small thin pieces
– 2 T unsalted butter
– 3 T honey

How do I make it?

  • Spray a large bowl with olive oil spray and set aside.
  • Combine the melted butter, the flour, water, 1/3 c honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl (not the one you sprayed). Mix until dough forms using a spoon or a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth; or if using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix until smooth. Add a bit of flour if it gets too sticky to work with.
  • Transfer dough to prepared bowl, and spray with olive oil. Cover with plastic.
  • Let rise in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1.5 hours. It’s ok if it takes a little longer (if you have the time), and it’s also ok if it doesn’t totally double.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Press into a large rectangle, about 9″ x 14”. It doesn’t really matter exactly how big or what shape, you just want a large surface area. Spread the apples over the dough and then knead to incorporate. Return to bowl. Spray again with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let rise again in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 hour more.
  • Butter sides and bottom of a 9” round cake pan. You can also cover the bottom with a 9″ round of parchment paper (but be sure to butter the sides). Roll dough into a rope (about 24 inches) on a floured surface. Coil into a circle, and transfer to pan. It will not fill the pan, but fret not. Butter plastic wrap, and cover dough.
  • Let rise again until dough almost doubles in volume, about 45 minutes more. It should now fill the pan!
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Heat remaining 2 T butter and 3 T honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts. Brush dough with the honey butter.
  • Bake until golden brown and firm, about 35 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes or until cool to the touch. Turn out loaf from pan, and let cool.

More information please?

* Honey butter can have a variety of ratios of honey : butter. You can use anything from 1/4 c honey : 1 T unsalted butter, to 1/4 c honey : 3 T unsalted butter. Heat the honey and butter in a small pan until the butter melts; refrigerate to solidify, or serve warm.

Challah-7

Original link: http://www.marthastewart.com/314038/apple-honey-challah

Serve with:

Food_034_How to: Roast Asparagus

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