One of my favorite breads has to be a egg based bread called Challah. This bread is Jewish in origin and eaten mainly on the Sabbath and high holy days. Normally its braided into one loaf. For the Jewish New Year , Rosh Hashana, its formed into a more circular pattern to symbolize the cycle of the year.Apples and honey symbolize a sweet new year . So a Challah made with apples and honey is loaded with symbolism and reference. One doesn’t have to be Jewish to appreciate this. I saw a Apple Honey Challah in the September issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Seems a lot bloggers have already given this recipe a go . I decided to toss my dough into the ring. But rather than stick to Martha’s recipe , I added a handful of chopped pecans. The recipe is pretty good. Just note if you are not experienced with bread making this is a wet dough. The recipe doesn’t explain that. I used a bit more flour and my my Kitchen Aid, You don’t want a non wet dough, but it should be well kneaded and smooth. A well buttered rising vessel is essential. I used a spring form cake pan as my baking pan. I also noted several bloggers had difficulty in the size of apples. I had dried some apples earlier in the week and used those chopped with chopped fresh. This made it more manageable than slices. The pecans are optional but I think they are fantastic and take the bread to another level. This would be great for coffee or tea and even french toast.
Pecan Apple Honey Challah adapted from Martha Stewart’s Apple Honey Challah Living September 2009
4 oz. (1stick) unsalted butter , plus more for bowl
3 ½ C. unbleached bread flour, plus more for surface
3/4 C. warm water
2/3 C. honey
2 large eggs, plus 3 large egg yolks
2 t. active dry yeast
2 t. active dry yeast
2 t. coarse or sea salt
1 ½ apples peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Butter a large bowl, and melt 4 T. butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; let cool. Combine 2 T. melted butter, the flour, water, 1/3 C. honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast, and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer. Mix until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth or use dough hook and stand mixer, about 10 minutes. The dough will be wet but should be smooth . Transfer dough to buttered bowl, and brush with 1 T. melted butter. Cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 ½ hours. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into an 8 1/2-by-14-inch rectangle. Top with apples and pecans ; knead to incorporate. Return to bowl. Brush with remaining T. melted butter; cover. Let rise again in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 hour more.4. Preheat oven to 375°, with rack in lowest position. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (I used a spring form pan). Roll dough into a rope (about 24 inches) on a floured surface. Coil into a circle, and transfer to pan. Butter plastic wrap, and cover dough. Let rise again until dough almost doubles in volume, about 45 minutes more.5. Heat remaining 4 T. butter and 1/3 C. honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts. Brush dough with half the honey-butter. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 35 minutes.6. Brush challah with the remaining honey-butter. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Turn out loaf from pan, and let cool.Makes one 9-inch round loaf.