Cinnamon-Apple Raisin Challah

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dairy free
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: one 9" round challah

Recipe photo

Challah is typically made as a long, braided loaf, its crust a shiny golden brown from a glaze of beaten egg applied before baking. But Rosh Hashanah challah, which celebrates the Jewish new year, often appears in a spiral — signifying the circle of life. This particular challah is studded with fresh apple and raisins, and rolled in an aromatic coating of cinnamon-sugar — autumn flavors to complement the September Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Cinnamon-Apple Raisin Challah

star rating (11) rate this recipe »
dairy free
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: one 9" round challah
Published: 07/29/2012

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast, SAF Gold instant yeast preferred*
  • 3/4 cup raisins, regular, golden, or a mixture
  • 3/4 cup diced apple (1/2" cubes); leave the skin on, if you like
  • *If you use regular (SAF Red) instant yeast, you'll see an increase in your rising times.

Glaze

Directions

see this recipe's blog »

1) To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.

2) Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 1 to 2 hours (or more, if you don't use SAF Gold yeast), or until it's puffy though probably not doubled in bulk.

3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

4) Pat and roll the dough into a 36" rope, tapering one end. Poke any raisins or apple bits sticking out of the dough back underneath the dough's surface; this will help prevent them from burning in the oven. Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon-sugar, rolling it around to coat as completely as possible.

5) Starting with the tapered end, coil the rope loosely into a lightly greased 9" round cake pan, starting at the center and working outwards.

6) Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap (or place it in a proof box), and let it rise until it's very puffy, 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

7) Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon water, and brush this glaze over the risen loaf. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar, if desired.

8) Place the cake pan atop a baking sheet; this will insulate the bread's bottom crust, and keep it from browning too much. Put the challah in the lower third of the oven, and bake it for 20 minutes.

9) Tent the challah loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 18 to 22 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register 200°F or above.

10) Remove the bread from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.

Yield: one 9" spiral challah.

Reviews

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  • star rating 11/17/2013
  • Gourmet Granny from Chadds Ford. PA
  • I seem to be the only cook that found 1/2 cup liquid too little for 4 cups of flour! Did I miss something??? I just added another 1/2 cup milk to the very stiff dough, I hope this corrects the problem. This is not the first recipe I have used from your site, All the others have been quite good. I only use King Arthur flour for all of my recipes that require flour. I could not recommend this recipe please respond.
    We're sorry to hear you did not care for this recipe. It is correct as written but it sounds like you may have added too much flour. Please call our bakers hotline if you would like to troubleshoot. ~ MJ
  • star rating 12/27/2012
  • Erin from Silver Spring, MD
  • This was my first shot at Challah bread (I was really just hoping for an excellent cinnamon raisin bread) and it was wonderful! All of the rises worked beautifully in the timeframe even though I did not have the gold yeast. I also successfully substituted 2 cups of whole wheat flour in with 2 cups of the unbleached bread flour, for those who may try to stick with whole wheats. It's just outstanding and my house smells incredible!
  • star rating 12/27/2012
  • cjl64 from KAF Community
  • I couldn't wait to make this challah--my first one! What a success :D I followed the recipe exactly (I always do first time around), it looked just like the picture and it was absolutely delicious. It makes fantastic toast the day after baking. Let the butter melt and sprinkle with a little cinnamon-sugar--heaven on a plate. Another winner from KAF.
  • star rating 10/14/2012
  • robinwilson from KAF Community
  • I love this recipe!! I do a few things differently, such as I use a whole apple (Golden Delicious) and chop it about twice as fine. I also throw in a handful of dried cranberries. When you make it into a rope, I don't roll it in cinnamon sugar then, because the sugar on the bottom wants to brown too much. I wait until it has risen in the pan the second time, then spray it with water and sprinkle just the top with cinnamon-sugar. This way, the bottom is just beautiful and you still get the cinnamon sugar top. My husband thinks this bread is like candy!!
  • star rating 10/10/2012
  • robinwilson from KAF Community
  • i just made my first loaf of Challah bread!! Yay, me!! It is cooling on the rack. I sliced it so when it is cool I can put it in a big ziptop storage back for my husband to eat. It looks beautiful, was pretty easy to do, and I feel so accomplished!! Thanks, KAF!!
  • star rating 09/18/2012
  • fransbaking from KAF Community
  • This was far and away one of the best breads I have ever baked. I mixed and rose the dough in my Zo, removed it and rolled into into a long rope before placing it in a stoneware baking dish for the final rise. It rose perfectly , looked exactly like the picture and tasted light and puffy. I used the gold yeast which I store in the freezer. I also substituted fresh pear chunks and dried cranberries and blueberries for the raisins. 5 people at work asked me for the recipe today. Absolutely awesome. Thanks for a superb recipe that worked as hoped.
  • star rating 09/18/2012
  • elzbthc from KAF Community
  • This was a delicious bread. I added extra apples and raisins, used another tablespoon of honey and baked it for a little longer. Definitely one of the easiest yeast breads I've made. You dump everything into your Kitchenaid mixer (if you have one) and mix. It rose beautifully, smelled heavenly and tasted great. Thank you for this recipe. I will make it again. I've already pinned on my Cooking board.
  • star rating 09/17/2012
  • patalli20159 from KAF Community
  • This was not only my first attempt at challah (the recipe looked too yummy to pass up!), but my first try at any sort of sweet bread (other than cinnamon rolls). My kids don't like raisins, so I left those out and used extra apples, then mixed the dough in my stand mixer. After the first rise, the dough was rather sticky and difficult to work with, maybe from the extra moisture from the larger amount of apples. Using a bench knife to turn the dough to coat with cinnamon sugar worked well, however, and I soon had a nice coil of dough in the pan. This challah bread turned out very tasty, but it didn't rise much at all in the oven and I think is more dense than the bread in the photos. Also, in spite of my greased pan, a large hunk of the bottom of the loaf stuck to the pan when I turned it out. However, the bread is tasty with a nice crunchy exterior and a decent touch of cinnamon. I will definitely see if I can do a better job next time to get an even better texture, but I have no doubt this will make yummy french toast tomorrow and the kids will go to school happy!
    It sounds like your dough may have over-proofed, causing it to have little oven spring. Give us a call on the baker's hotline and we'll be happy to help troubleshoot for you! ~Mel
  • star rating 09/16/2012
  • elhagman from KAF Community
  • Very very easy to make. Smelled very very good while baking. Tasted very very good after (slight) cooling! Nice recipe.
  • star rating 09/16/2012
  • bonitauno from KAF Community
  • Just made this for Ramadan tonight. First time making challah and the recipe was excellent. I used red star instant yeast and followed the mixer method to ensure there would be no problems with the yeast.
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