I’m crazy about apple butter. I first had a taste of it when I went out to California to visit my aunt, uncle and amazing cousins. Not that my aunt and uncle aren’t amazing too….oye vey, I’m going to get myself in trouble.
California quickly felt like home and I honestly can say, I would live there in a heartbeat. I thought to myself, why not make an apple butter (there is no butter, just how it’s called) challah for Rosh Hashanah? I always need to try something different!
Makes 1 large challah
For the apple butter filling:
2 large honey crisp apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
8 oz. water
1/3 c. plus 4 tbsp. brown sugar
zest of 1/2 naval orange (This is a crucial part so don’t skip this)
2 tbsp. apple pie spice
1/3 tsp. ground cloves
For the dough:
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. honey plus 1/4 c. honey
2/3 c. warm water (100 to 116 degrees F)
1/3 c. olive oil
2 large organic eggs
1/2 tsp. flakey sea salt
4 c. organic all-purpose flour
4 tsp. vital wheat gluten (such as Hodgson Mill)
Place apples, cider vinegar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Mash the apples but leave it chunky:
Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and stir in the apple pie spice, orange zest and cloves. Allow to cook down until it gets to a jam-like consistency, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool before using.
To make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, put in the yeast with 1 tsp. honey and the warm water. Let it stand until it gets foamy, about 6 minutes.
Now with the whisk attachment, whisk together this yeast mixture with remaining honey, 1/3 c. olive oil, and the eggs.
Add 2 tsp. regular salt and the flour. Once it starts forming the ball, remove the whisk attachment and switch to the dough hook (if you don’t know what the dough hook is, go to the box the mixer came in and get that Captain Hook thing you had no idea what the heck to do with. That’s the dough hook
Knead for 5 minutes. Now’s the time to pee if you have to. Just kidding.
After 5 minutes, remove dough from bowl and place it in another bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place. In my case, I am putting it outside because the air conditioning indoors might stop my bread from rising. I totally just said that to make you Montrealers jealous.
Let rise 1 hour. Not 30 minutes, not 1 hour and a half (you freakin’ Jews…). I said 1 hour. All you folks who write me saying, “I don’t know what happened?” and I say how long was it rising for you tell me, well, I went to the gym then I got the kids, then I did my nails…that’s why your dough wasn’t good. You left it too long.
1 hour folks. So don’t go do a facial you know will take you 2 hours. Plan ahead, people, plan ahead! Sheesh.
Am I bitchy?!
LOVE that I can’t hear you right about now.
1 HOUR LATER….
Lightly flour your counter. Turn dough out and cut dough in half. Roll out each half into a rectangle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Spread apple butter mixture over the dough.
Roll up the dough on the longest side into a long and tight rope. Now pick up that dough rope and whack your kid with it. Huh?
Ok, good that you’re paying attention.
I want you to tug on that rope…if only my husband were here, what a stupid dirty joke he would make.
Tug that damn thing GENTLY until it doubles in size. Cut it into two ropes. Do the exact same thing with the other dough ball waiting for your attention.
Now we are going to make a round challah. Don’t want to make a round one?
Form a tick-tack-toe board with the dough ropes. Pay attention to my picture and notice which ropes are above and which are below. There will be a test at the end of this.
Place it on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Brush with egg wash and let rise another hour. This egg wash will be repeated before you put the challah in the oven again. If you are wondering why 2 egg washes, that’s what gives this challah a rich, dark golden colour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
After an hour, brush with egg wash again and place it in the centre of your oven. Bake for 35 minutes, until dark golden brown. If the challah is getting too dark too fast, tent with aluminum foil and continue cooking (that means just cut a large piece of aluminum and place it on top of the bread. No need to tuck in the sides. Leave it flat on top).
Cool loaf on a wire rack (it needs air to circulate. Otherwise it will get soggy underneath).
You did it!
I really wasn’t sure about you for a moment…but I’m so proud.
Challah dough recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen