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I've never tried making challah bread at home, but when I purchase it at the bakery everyone loves it. This looks like an easy recipe to make and the addition of apples makes it a more of a "treat." The cooking time also includes the time the dough needs in order to rise.
- 4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 1⁄2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 3⁄4 cup warm water (100 degrees F.)
- 2⁄3 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 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)
- 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 the egg 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.
- Transfer dough to a 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.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into an 8 1/2-inch x 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.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F., with a 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.
- 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.
- 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.