Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It’s a time to reflect on the past while looking towards the future. The circle of life is emphasized and challahs in keeping with the holiday are, symbolically, round.
I always make my traditional Challah recipe but this year decided to try something new.
Jewish holidays are notorious for having lots of food and there is symbolism in many of the ingredients. Apples are a perfect example. Apples represent the roundness of the year as well as the sweetness for the upcoming year.
I decided to stack the odds even more in my favor for a sweet year by incorporating apples into the round challah. I love how sweet Golden Delicious apples are so I sautéed them on the stove with a bit of butter and sugar.
After its first rise, I split the dough in half and rolled each half out, one at a time. The apples were divided in half and spread over the dough, leaving a border of naked dough so that the apples did not spill out.
I coiled the rolled dough. I couldn’t help but think that the shape resembled a snake. Although most definitely not its intended purpose, it does tie in nicely to the story of Adam and Eve and the snake and the apple.
Whether Rosh Hashanah is a holiday celebrated in your home or not, Apple Challah will bring sweetness to your table. For those of you who will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, from my family to yours I wish you L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu, may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.
- Apple filling:
- 4 golden delicious apples
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups warm water, divided
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 8 heaping cups all purpose flour, divided
- 3 eggs, room temperature, beaten
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- additional vegetable oil
- additional all purpose flour
- Egg wash:
- 1 egg
- sugar for sprinkling
- For the apple filling:
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Peel and core the apples and slice in large wedges (there will be about 8 wedges per apple). Slice each wedge into smaller pieces. Sauté the apples, sugar, and cinnamon over medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Uncover and continue to cook the apples until they are soft and the juices in the pan have evaporated. Cool completely.
- For the dough:
- Into ½ cup warm water, add 1 tablespoon sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the yeast and let it proof for about 10 minutes. The mixture will bubble up and go to the top of the mixing glass.
- Lightly oil a large container with a lid, using vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Place 7 heaping cups flour in the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Make a well and place the 3 eggs in it. Add ¾ cup sugar, vegetable oil, salt, 1½ cups warm water and proofed yeast.
- With the dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients together on low speed. While the mixer is running, gradually add in nearly all of the remaining cup of flour, about 5-7 minutes. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead in remaining flour, keeping the board floured as you work. Place kneaded dough into the greased bowl. Cover and let rise until the dough doubles in size.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Push dough down in the middle and fold over and into itself. Divide dough in half. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12” x 8”. Spread half of the cooled apples over the dough, leaving a ½” border around all of the edges. Gently roll the dough into a long cylinder. Pinch the edges to seal the seam. With the seam facing you, tightly coil the dough. Pinch the seam under the outer coil. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- For the egg wash:
- Beat the egg in a small glass. Brush each loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle sugar over it. Bake the challah at 350° for 40 minutes.
- Cool on the baking sheet.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- This is delicious hot, warm or room temperature. When I bake Apple Challah ahead of time, I warm it a bit in the oven before serving. Apple Challah also freezes beautifully.
- Should there be any leftovers try making French Toast using an egg, milk and vanilla mixture. Your family will beg for more!
- All stand up mixers are not made the same. If you feel like yours is not up to the task of mixing the dough, do not risk burning out your motor. Mix the dough together by hand.
- The recipe is not temperamental in terms of timing for the long rise. I have been able to produce a wonderful bread with a two hour rise, but have also had days where I could not get back to it for several hours and I still ended up with an Apple Challah that was delicious.