Happy Monday! This will be quick -- my stepdad is in town and we're doing all the touristy things and eating all the pizza today. Last week, I promised you apple recipes, so we're starting with this fluffy, swirly Apple Cinnamon Challah. It's great by itself, or toasted with cream cheese, jam, or even nutella. It would make excellent french toast or bread pudding, too. If I have any leftover, maybe I'll try to do a bread pudding recipe for you. As far as bread goes, this is a pretty simple recipe -- everything comes together easily. The hardest part is really just trying not to eat those apples before it's time to use them, and waiting through all of that rising time knowing that you're still a few hours away from homemade bread!
Apple Cinnamon Challah
3/4 TB instant yeast
1/4 cup + 1 TB granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs (reserve one for the egg wash)
1/2 TB salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 large apples, peeled, cored & diced (I used honeygolds and cortlands)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cake spice (you could use apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice too)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TB bourbon (optional)
brown sugar and granulated sugar for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 TB of sugar in a scant cup of lukewarm water.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Switch to your dough hook, and gradually add flour. Mix until dough holds together.
- Knead dough in mixer for 7-10 minutes until smooth. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl cleanly. Be kind to your mixer. You should never turn it on a high speed while trying to knead dough.
- Lightly oil two large clean bowls, then split dough in half and add each dough half to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
- While your dough rises, prepare your apples. In a small bowl, mix sugars and spices. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add diced apples to skillet. Sprinkle sugar mixture over apples. Cook apples, stirring occasionally, until softened a bit. Add vanilla and bourbon (if using), and cook another two minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
- Form the loaf: Grease two loaf pans. Take one portion of dough and roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured cutting board. Dough should be somewhere around 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
- Scatter half the apples over the dough rectangle, and sprinkle with some brown sugar. Make sure you leave yourself a non-appley perimeter of an inch or two.
- Roll up the dough tightly (starting and ending with the longer end), and pinch seam and ends closed. Tuck ends under, and place in loaf pan.
- Repeat with other dough portion.
- Beat remaining egg with 1 TB water, and brush it on loaves.
- Let loaves rise for another hour.
- Preheat oven to 375F and brush loaves again with egg wash. Sprinkle bread with granulated sugar, if desired.
- Bake in the middle of your oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it hits an internal temperature of 190 degrees. Check the dough after 10-15 minutes -- you may want or need to tent it with foil part way through baking to keep it from over-browning.
- Cool loaves on a rack for an hour before removing from pan. You may need to run a knife or spatula around the edges to help loosen it from the pan if necessary.