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Apple Honey Challah


For the dough:
– 4 1/4- 4 1/2 (670-710gm) all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
– 1 1/4 cups warm water (105-110 degrees F)
– 1 tbsp active dry yeast
– 4 tbsp sugar (divided)
– 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
– 1/4 cup canola oil, plus extra for greasing
– 1.5 tsp table salt

For the filling:
– 1.5 apples (Braeburn or Granny Smith), peeled, cored and finely diced
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– 2.5 tbsp honey
– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the egg wash:
– 1 egg yolk
– 1 tsp water
– 1 tsp honey

1. For the dough: Put 3 cups (470gm) of flour in mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Make a well in the center and pour in the water. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar over water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 min.

2. Add the remaining 3 tbsp sugar, eggs, oil, and salt to well. Beat together on medium-low speed until a shaggy mess forms, about 2 min. Beat in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the stiff, sticky dough starts to pull away from the bowl.

3. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low, adding flour 1 tbsp at a time until smooth and elastic, 5-10 min. Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover with kitchen towel and let rise at room temp until just doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours.

4. Gently punch down the dough, flip it, re-cover and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.

5. While the dough rests, combine all filling ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for 20 min, then drain.

6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece with a rolling pin into a oblong or rectangular shape. Place 2 tbsp of filling on bottom third of dough (lengthwise) and roll dough into log. Pinch the seam to close. Set aside and repeat with remaining dough. Let dough rest for 10 min covered with kitchen towel.*

7. Roll each log into a long strand, carefully not to tear the dough.
(a) Lay the pieces out in front of you, tic-tac-toe style
(b)Each strand should be placed in opposite directions; one side is over/under, the next row is then under/over. There should now be 2 sets of 2 strands each coming out from the four sides of the woven middle, one under and one over in each set
(c) From each set, pick up the one that was “under” and pull it over its partner, thereby placing each of these “unders” over their corresponding partner, in a clockwise rotation. Practically speaking, this means that the left piece of each set will be placed over the right piece of each set.
(d) When this rotation is done, work in the opposite direction, clockwise. What was formerly the right piece, will now go over the left piece in the counter clockwise direction
(e) To finish, pinch each set of two ends together firmly, then bring all four sets together towards the center
(f) carefully flip over your challah and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the egg wash ingredients and brush half onto the dough. Cover with kitchen towel and let rise for 40 min until almost doubled.

9. Uncover dough, brush with remaining egg wash and bake for 40-45 min until golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool. Enjoy!