Making Challah Bread for Rosh Hashanah with Challah Hub
Challah bread is the cornerstone of Jewish meals. On the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, we eat circular challah to signify the cyclical nature of the year. And instead of the bitter salt we put on challah on Shabbat, we can now use that sweet, sweet honey usually only reserved for newlyweds.
One of my favorite challah breads is from my good friend Sarah Klegman’s company, Challah Hub, which delivers challah to your home. Currently only available in Los Angeles, Klegman and her business partner Elina Tilipman Gitig started Challah Hub back in 2015. They offer things like pink challah (and you know I like that!), a mint chocolate chip challah, and matcha challah. These two super Jewesses know their challah.
The Challah Kweens (Elina on the left, Sarah on the right). Taken by: Sally Claire Photography
For Rosh Hashanah, they’ve kindly provided Jewess with an exclusive recipe for apple honey challah bread (dairy and non-dairy versions). Enjoy!
Apple Honey Challah (Dairy)
OMG. Taken by: Knotably
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
- 4 cups of flour (we recommend Gold’s ‘Better for Bread’)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 tbsp melty butter
- 2 chopped apples
- 1 cored apple
- 2 additional tbsp butter (for the fancy stuff we’re doing to apples)
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 egg white for glaze
- 12 ounces honey (about half a bear)
CHOP up one apple, and set aside.
POUR your packet of Rapid Rise Yeast into a cereal-sized bowl, then pour ½ cup warm water in, stir a little bit, then let it sit. It should get a little bubble-foam-y looking. That’s yeast activation, baby!
MIX 3 cups flour, salt, the sugar in your big bowl. We use a whisk.
BEAT your 3 eggs.
MIX together your melty butter and eggs (but not HOT butter, that could cook the eggs and get gross, so just keep it melty/warm), and your honey (just under half your honey bear).
DUMP ALL THAT STUFF INTO A BIG BOWL AND START MIXING
TIP: Combine all ingredients (we’re talkin’ chopped apple, dry ingredients, wet ingredients), and stir together; sprinkle in up to 1 cup additional flour, until the dough starts to leave the side of the bowl. Once the dough is mostly mixed, roll up your sleeves and use your hands to squish it around, fold it, squish it more, until there aren’t any more flour clumps, and the dough feels smooth.
**WARNING: This is going to be some sticky-as-fuh challah dough. Mentally prepare for some serious monster-fingers.**
GRAB A BIG BOWL and butter the inside. Just grab a stick, and rub that stuff around – make a thin layer. Drop your dough into your buttered bowl, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
CHILL OUT for 2-3 hours while your challah is rising. Do NOT put in fridge.
TIP: You can let the dough rise for up to about 4 hours on this first rise if you got sh*t to do.
STOP: APPLE TIME!
There are two options here, pay attention.
GRAB that second apple of yours, core it, peel it if you feel so inclined, and chop it up. Brown some butter (at least 2 tablespoons) in a pan, then toss your apple pieces in. Shake em all around, cover them with butter. Then, pour in a couple tablespoons of honey, a couple tablespoons of sugar… maybe some more butter if you feel like that’s a good idea (more butter = always a good idea).
Then, turn your heat on medium-low, and stir occasionally for about half an hour while you hang out in the kitchen with a glass of wine and reflect on your life choices over the past year.
If you want to properly “caramelize” your apples, check out these directions.
BRAIDING: After your dough has doubled in size, divide it into six (6) even sections. Use your hands to roll out tubes of dough, then spread open the center of the strands (we call this a “strand ditch”) and create a space for your apple pieces.
SCOOP UP about ¾ of your pan cooked apple pieces, and put them in your strand ditches! Fill em up until they can’t take anymore, then close them, by pinching the dough together around the filling.
The way that we made this pretty circle challah is as follows: we created (2) two, 3-strand braids, then squished them together at the ends.
COVER your cookie sheet with foil, and LIGHTLY spritz with non-stick cooking spray, rub it around, then place the braided dough on it.
GRAB that damp cloth, cover the challah again, and let rise for 1 more hour.
THIRD, AND FINAL APPLE.
Start playing this song, then grab your final apple, chop off the top, and take the core out. Fill the apple-heart with more apple pieces, honey, and whatever else you want. Then place in the center of your circular challah.
START GETTING HOT and preheat your oven to 325.
SPRINKLE the remaining 1/4th of your cooked apple pieces around the top of the challah. Shove some in the seams of the braids, if you feel inspired.
PAINT YOUR CHALLAH Combine 1 egg white, with a little bit of honey, stir together, using a kitchen brush. Then paint your challah. Get into all the nooks and crannies. Paint the top of the apple. We also drizzled a little honey on top of the whole challah here, too.
TOSS that challah in the middle rack of your oven for 28-38 minutes (depending on the oven).
AFTER 25 minutes, take a look. Is the top a little golden? Is it baking evenly? If yes, leave it in for 5-10 more minutes, once the top looks evenly browned. If it doesn’t look mostly baked on top at this point, you can turn your oven up to 335 and bake for 10 minutes longer.
We ended up baking ours for about 32 minutes – but this challah is going to stay pretty moist on the inside because of all the apples, so dont worry about taking it out earlier – that’s not dough-yness, it’s moist apples!
WHEN YOU TAKE IT OUT place it on a wire cooling rack, and let it cool… unless you’re going to eat the whole thing quickly, then just see how long you can stand staring at the challah before you eat it.
BUT I’M TAKING THIS CHALLAH SOMEWHERE AND I’M RUNNING LATE AND MY CHALLAH IS STILL HOT, OMG: If you are traveling with your challah, don’t cover it up while it’s still hot – that bad boy is sitting open on someone’s lap in the car ride over. If you cover it up before it’s cool, it’ll get all soggy and weird, and we don’t want that.
Then take a picture, post it to social media, and tag #ChallahHub.
Apple Honey Challah (Non-Dairy, Vegan)
- WARM WATER • 1 cup
- RAPID RISE YEAST • 1 packet
- FLOUR • 3 cups
- CINNAMON • 2-3 tablespoons depending on taste
- HONEY • ⅔ cup
- SALT • 1 ½ teaspoon
- APPLES • 1 ½ tart green apples (Granny Smith, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices > about 1 ¾ cups)
- VEGETABLE OIL • 2 tablespoons
- + EXTRA FLOUR FOR KNEADING AND BRAIDING
Egg Replacement Ingredients:
- VEGGIE OIL • 3 tablespoons
- WARM WATER • 3 tablespoons
- BAKING POWDER • 2 teaspoons
- Empty your yeast packet into a small bowl. Pour 1 cup warm water over top and stir lightly.
- Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or so until bubbly and creamy. After that, add 2 tablespoons of veggie oil to the yeast mix in the same small bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup honey, 1 ¾ cups of sliced apples.
- Egg replacement time: In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons veggie oil, 3 tablespoons warm water and 2 teaspoons baking powder (it will fizz). Then, pour into your yeast bowl.
- Add the yeast and egg replacement mixtures to your bowl of dry ingredients, stirring as you pour.
- Mix dough with a spatula or spoon, then get in there with your hands and knead until smooth. Add up to 1 cup additional flour until dough leaves the side of the bowl.
- Coat the inside of a big bowl lightly with oil and drop your ball of dough inside. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise on your counter for 2-3 hours.
- After your dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough to get out any big air bubbles, then braid as desired. Place your braided dough onto a lightly greased and foil – lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth and let rise 1 more hour.
- Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees, make honey/oil mixture with the remaining ⅓ cup of honey, glaze the challah and toss that bad boy inside for 26-32 minutes.
Challah Hub Video Tutorial
Are you a challah bread novice? Want to learn more about making challah? Check out this Challah Hub video!
Rosh Hashanah is almost here, so now is the time to make some deeeeelicious challahs. Enjoy!