To celebrate Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) at school last week I was feeling a bit overzealous and decided to make a challah! Now this was my first time making a bread that requires kneading so I was petrified. And to make it more appetizing for the kids I made cupcakes instead of a huge loaf. I found the initial recipe on this ADORABLE blog about cupcakes and changed a few things around to create a challah that was so golden and crunchy that parents are STILL asking me for the recipe! OH and I did NOT make this with a stand mixer, I did it all by hand and it turned out GORGEOUS and delicious!
What you'll need:
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
3 tbs. honey
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar (or sugar replacement such as stevia)
1/3 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs. water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
LARGET glass bowl
1 tbs. canola oil
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and 1 tbs. honey (mix it around with your hands). Let sit for about 10 minutes until foam develops on top. Hello, yeast, you're awake!
2. To the bowl, add the salt, sugar, 1/3 up oil, 2 eggs, and remaining honey. Give it a quick mix, then, ON SLOW, start to add the flour one cup at a time until it is no longer sticky. Keep the mixer going on low for 10 minutes to knead the dough (or do it by hand).
3. Swirl the inside of the glass bowl with the remaining tbs. of canola oil. roll dough around in the oil so it is covered all over. Cover with a CLEAN kitchen towel and let sit in a warm area for 1 hour to rise (what I did was turn the oven on to 250 then turn it off and let the dough rise in there). Don't worry, it WILL get bigger!
4. After 1 hour, dump the dough onto a flowered board and punch a few times. IF YOU'RE MAKING ONE LARGE LOAF: Put BACK into the bowl, cover, and let sit for another 30 minutes in the warm oven. Remove and dump onto a floured board. Roll out like a big long snake and press chocolate chips all the way down the "snake." Start rolling so it looks like a giant cinnamon roll. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
IF YOU'RE MAKING CUPCAKES: Line a cupcake pan with cups and roll the dough into the shape it looks like in the picture (you know like you did with play-dough when you made a snake when you were a kid!) and tuck chocolate chips all throughout. Cover with the towel and put back in the warm oven to rise for another 30 minutes (they're double in size, AGAIN!).
5. Beat the remaining egg and 1 tbs. of water. Brush the tops of the challah (this will give it the beautiful golden brown color) and bake for 30 minutes (for cupcakes) and 40 minutes (for whole loaf)