3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/43 degrees C)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces, or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour (unbleached all-pupose flour may be substituted for the bread flour, if needed)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons bread machine yeast or instant yeast
1/2 cup diced dried apples* (see note below), or 1/2 cup fresh diced apples
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
BAKING LOAF OR LOAVES IN ROUND PANS:
If you are going to bake the challah in round baking pan (s), you will need two round 9 x 1 1/2-inch cake pans.
BAKING FREE-FORM ROUND LOAF OR LOAVES:
You will need only one baking sheet if making one large round loaf that is baked free-form (or one very large baking sheet if making two free-form round loaves).
DRIED DICED APPLES:
I use dehydrated dried apples and then rehydrate them in water for about 20 minutes to soften them up, then I drain them well and knead the apples into the dough after taking it out of the bread machine.
Dried diced apples may be purchased online at The Prepared Pantry in a 6.5 ounce (2 1/2 cups) package. Their web address is: http://www.preparedpantry.com.
1. Lightly grease or line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper if making free-form round loaves, or lightly grease two 9 x 1 1/2-inch round cake pans if baking loaves in cake pans.
2. Add warm water, egg, butter (or margarine or vegetable oil, if using), salt, flour, sugar, honey, and yeast to bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select the Dough Cycle of your machine. Start the cycle.
3. When dough cycle is complete, remove dough from machine to a lightly floured work surface. Punch dough down and let rest for 5 minutes. If necessary, knead in enough flour to make dough easy to handle. Knead in diced apples.
4. Making 1 large loaf:
Roll the dough into a 20 x 1 1/2-inch rope. Starting in the center of prepared cake pan, twist the rope of dough while coiling it into a snail shape. Tuck end under; pinch with fingertips to seal. (You may also form the challah in a round loaf without the need of a cake pan, and bake the challah free-form on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.)
Making 2 smaller loaves:
Divide dough in half. Roll each half of dough into a 12 x 1 1/2-inch rope. Starting in the center of prepared cake pan, twist the rope of dough while coiling it into a snail shape. Tuck end under; pinch with fingertips to seal. Repeat this with second half of dough. (You may also form the challah in a round loaf without the need of a cake pan, and bake the challah free-form on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.)
5. Egg Wash:
Lightly beat egg yolks with water. Brush loaf (s) with half of the egg wash, saving the remaining egg wash to brush loaf (s) again before baking. Cover with plastic wrap and place a smooth cotton kitchen towel over plastic wrap and let loaf (s) rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled in size, 45 to 50 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
Brush loaf (s) with the remaining egg wash, REDUCE oven temperature to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done (bread is done if it registers 190 degrees F/87 degrees C with instant-read thermometer). Remove bread from pan (s) or baking sheets if using, and cool completely on wire rack.
Cover loaf (s) with aluminum foil after 10 to 15 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning.
Bread may be frozen once cooled completely (2 hours). Wrap in aluminum foil, then place bread in a ziploc bag. Label and date. Bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw for 1 hour at room temperature before serving.
Makes 1 (1 1/2-pound) loaf or 2 small (3/4 pound) loaves.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2006
Date: September 22, 2006