Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Apple-Honey Challah Bread

I've been going through my Martha Stewart magazines (not to get rid of them, for that would be blasphemy, just to move them to a different place) and I found this recipe. I knew that I was going to be home all day doing housework, and I had all of the ingredients, so it seemed a good day to try it.
I do find some of Martha's recipes to be arranged strangely, and a bit hard to follow, as well as overly complicated at times. I didn't butter my plastic wrap, and I was too lazy to go downstairs to get a cake pan, so I just baked it on a pizza stone. Worked fine.
A more appropriate name might be "House Arrest Bread", because it is very time consuming due to all of the risings. IIt was a big hit with the family, something I will definitely make again. On another gloomy day where I don't plan to leave the house.


Makes one 9-inch round loaf

* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, plus more for bowl, pan, and plastic
* 3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for surface
* 3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
* 2/3 cup honey
* 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
* 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
* 2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 1 1/2 tart green apples, preferably Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 3/4 cups)


1. Butter a large bowl, and melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; let cool. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, the flour, water, 1/3 cup honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
2. Transfer dough to buttered bowl, and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into an 8 1/2-by-14-inch rectangle. Top with apples; knead to incorporate. Return to bowl. Brush with remaining tablespoon 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 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter a 9-inch round cake 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 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup 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.

From Martha Stewart Living, September 2009