Ever since I can remember, I have loved the smell of fresh bread rising and baking in the oven. There’s something comforting and nostalgic about it. Maybe it’s the memories of Mom making scratch bread growing up overseas in Aruba, or maybe it’s memories of visits to Mamaw’s, a staunch Carolinian who knew her way around a homemade biscuit…or maybe it’s simply the way bread and butter melt in your mouth. Whatever it is, bread is one of my guilty pleasures, and quarantine has feed my addiction.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve made several sourdough and Babka recipes, including a s’mores Babka, rosemary sourdough, and lemon sourdough sticky buns, and recently, I’ve been trying my hand at Challah. Challah is reminiscent of the slight sweetness of a Hawaiian roll, and while you can make savory and sweet versions, I find I prefer the sweeter ones given the sweetness of the dough itself. And that sweetness also makes leftover Challah perfect for french toast or french toast bake, as well.
If you’re looking to feed your bread craving, here’s a great cinnamon swirl Challah recipe to get you started!
Holla for Challa
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- 1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar (+ 1 Tablespoon for yeast mixture)
- 1 cup lukewarm water (+1 teaspoon for egg wash)
- 7 1/2-8 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs (plus one for bread coating)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 stick of butter (4 Tablespoons), melted
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, lukewarm water and 1 Tablespoon of sugar and set aside for 5 minutes.
- While the yeast foams, mix all of the filling ingredients, excluding the butter, to combine, and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, whisk the yeast mixture, oil, salt, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and honey on low.
- Gradually add in the flour. until incorporated.
- Knead the dough for ~5 minutes (if kneading by hand, knead 10 minutes).
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel (I prefer the towel) and let it rise for ~2-3 hours.
- Place the dough onto a floured surface and cut into even portions for braiding (If making 2 loaves, divide the dough in half, then again into 3- 4 sections, depending on number of desired ropes to braid for each loaf).
- This next step is just like making cinnamon rolls. With a rolling pin, roll each section flat, coat with melted butter, and sprinkle with the filling mixture. Once coated with the filling, roll the section up lengthwise so you have a long, cinnamon filled rope.
- Place the rope sections on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and braid bread as desired.
- Allow the dough to rise ~45 minutes.
- Preheat the over to 375 degrees F.
- Beat an egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water together in a small bowl, then brush Challah with egg wash.
- Bake for ~28-35 minutes and allow to cool.
Delish! Serve with butter and honey, fruit, or by making into a sumptuous french toast perfect for lazy weekend mornings (See these recipes for French Toast or Berry French Toast Bake).
What are some of your new favorite recipes you’ve discovered during quarantine?