Prep 4 hrs
Cook 55 mins
The bread was outstanding! This is not a recipe to be filed for later--this BEGS to be baked, right away! For Halloween, or a fall party, possibly for Thanksgiving, but really...don't wait that long. You'll smack yourself after tasting it, for not baking it sooner!
Ingredients for the Dough
- 1⁄2 cup water, lukewarm
- 7 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1⁄4 cup runny honey
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 17 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 cups, but it's best to weigh it)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
Ingredients for the Apple Filling
- 2 large apples, peeled cored and diced in 3/4-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
Ingredients for the Glaze
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Mix the warm (not hot) water with the oil, honey and yeast. Allow it to foam for 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients for the dough. Mix and then knead them, using a mixer with a bread hook, or by hand, until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough (about 8-10 minutes).
- Put the dough in a oiled bowl and let it rise, covered, for 2 hours or until it's puffy and nearly doubled in size.
- Lightly grease/butter a 9inch round cake pan that's at least 2inch deep (or grease a 9inch or 10inch springform pan).
- Toss the apple chunks with the sugar, cinnamon and rum.
- Gently deflate the dough, transfer it to a lightly greased work surface, and flatte n it into a rough rectangle, about 8 x 10 inches.
- Spread half the apple chunks in the center of the dough (see remarks for details).
- Fold a short edge of the dough over the apple in order to cover it, patting firmly to seal the apples and spread the dough a bit.
- Spread the remaining apple atop the folded-over dough.
- Cover the apples with the other side of the dough, again patting firmly (Basically, you've folded the dough like a letter, enclosing the apples inside.).
- Take a long knife and cut the apple-filled dough into 16 pieces. Cut in half, then each half in halves, etc -- (This will be very, VERY messy; the dough is slippery, apples will fall out, sugar syrup will ooze -- it's not pretty. Don't worry, and don't stress about making all the pieces the same size).
- Lay the dough chunks into the pan (Crowd them so that they all fit in a single tight layer - barely. Lots of apple chunks will fall out during this process; just tuck them in among the dough pieces, or simply spread them on top.).
- Cover the challah gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise for about 1- 1 1/2 hours, until it's a generous 2inches high (It should just crest the rim of a 9inch round cake pan). Twenty minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Place the bread in the lower third of the oven. Bake it for 55 minutes, or until the top is at least light golden brown all over and has no white spots.
- Remove the challah from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges and carefully transfer it to a rack.
- Let cool completely. Then whisk together the cider and powdered sugar and brush it over the top--allowing it to drizzle down the sides.