Sweet round Challa
Sweet round challa stuffed with sultanas and apples.
Every year for Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year) I make a round challa to symbolise the cycle of a year, and the cycle of the seasons. As one year ends a new one begins and since a circle has no end, we wish for a sweet life filled with good things infinitely. I don’t know about you, but I like this metaphor, I can handle a life like that. Bring it on I say.
I made three round challas, (I photographed two, because my son was desperate to eat one, he got to it straight out of the oven before I could immortalise it.) I made a plain one, one with apple and cinnamon and one with apple, cinnamon and sultanas.
The plain one I wrapped around an oven proof dish so that I could add the honey(into the dish) once it had cooled down. I thought it looked pretty.
The other two I coated with yummy crumble to make it a little sweeter, and it was DELICIOUS.
I didn’t include a crumble recipe because you can use any crumble recipe. If you want one of mine, just look up the plum crumb recipe on my blog. Whatever you don’t use, you can freeze for aaaaages.
To show you how to make a plaited round challa, I really need to include a reel of photos, which I am sorry to say, I didn’t have time to make (as I still have to work for a living). However, you can find lots of instructional videos on Youtube which demonstrate the method. As you can see mine is far from perfect so I probably should perfect mine before I can teach you guys.
1kg plain flour
2 tablespoons dry yeast
¾ table spoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
400 mls water or more if needed (up to 500mls)
Apple and sultana filling ingredients
1 apple peeled cored and chopped into small pieces.
1 teaspoon or more cinnamon (according to taste)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons sultanas
If making dough by hand:
Pour the flour and yeast, sugar and salt into a large bowl and stir.
Make a well in the middle, add eggs and honey. Using a large metal spoon, begin to stir while pouring water slowly until dough begins to come together.
If dough doesn’t come together after 400 mls of water continue to add a little bit of water at a time until it does.
Tip dough onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes.
Wash, dry and oil the bowl you made the dough in and transfer kneaded dough into bowl.
Oil the dough and cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour or two in a warm place or until it doubles in size.
If making dough with a standalone mixer:
Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl, and give ingredients a quick whisk. With a hook attachment and the speed on medium, begin to add oil then the eggs, and honey.
Put the speed on low and add water gradually until dough comes together to form a ball. If dough doesn’t come together after adding 400 mls of water continue to add a little bit of water at a time until it does. Put speed on medium-high and knead dough for 6-7minutes or you can tip dough onto floured surface and knead dough by hand for 10 minutes. I love kneading the dough. Its great therapy for me, and I’ll take all the therapy I can get at the moment, especially at that price.
Transfer dough to a dry and oiled bowl, oil the dough and cover in plastic wrap for an hour or two, or until it doubles in size.
Method for apple stuffed challa
Pre-heat the oven to 170C or 180C depending on how hot your oven is
In my last oven I had to bake challa at 180C this Oven 170C
In a bowl mix sugar and cinnamon, toss in chopped apple and stir to coat.
Transfer the sugar-coated apples to a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb the liquid that has formed.
Divide dough into three equal portions.
Divide each portion into three pieces. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a strand. You need three strands (to make one challa) approximately 35cm long, so they look like rope. Working one piece at a time, flatten the strands with a rolling pin until they’re about 6 cm wide.
Divide the chopped apple in half then divide one half into thirds.
Place one third along the centre of the rectangle that you made.
Fold the dough over lengthways and pinch the dough together. Ever so gently begin to roll the folded dough so it looks like a long rope again. If it gets sticky, just sprinkle flour.
Repeat with the remaining two strands.
Place the three strands next to each other and squeeze the tops together. Weave them into a braid. Transfer the challa onto a dish lined with baking paper and cover with a clean, dry, kitchen towel and let it rest for an hour.
Sultana and apple challa
If making a combination of the two, add about 6 tablespoons of sultanas and mix with the remainder of the chopped apples. Repeat the same technique as used to incorporate the apples.
Egg wash each challa and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes.