Fresh Peach Challah
It’s peach season and this is a great way sweeten your challah. Recipe from Vintage Kitchen.
7 ½ to 8 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups warm water
2 Tbs active dry yeast
1/3 cup + 1 Tbs sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 fresh peaches (peeled and cut into chunks)
In a large bowl or in the work bowl of a stand mixer, place 6 cups of the flour.
Make a well in the center with your hand and pour ½ cup of the water and sprinkle yeast and 1 Tbs of sugar over the water. Stir the water gently to dissolve the yeast (some of the flour will be incorporated) and let stand 10 minutes.
Add the remaining sugar, remaining water, eggs, oil and salt and mix with a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment until a shaggy mass is formed. This dough comes together quickly.
If using stand mixer knead for 6 or 7 minutes, adding additional flour 1 Tbs at a time if needed to form a smooth and springy but not dry dough.
If kneading by hand turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes adding additional flour 1 Tbs at a time if needed to form a smooth and springy but not dry dough.
Place the dough in a greased deep container. Turn over to coat with oil, cover with film and let rise in a warm, draft free area until doubled, about 2 to 2 ½ hours. Don’t let rise more than doubled.
Gently deflate dough down, cover again and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Gently deflate dough. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in 2 equal portions. Divide each into three pieces. Roll each piece into three rectangles. You´ll have six rectangles. Scatter the peach chunks evenly between all six dough pieces.
Bring together both long ends of a rectangle, enveloping the peaches. Pinch well at the seams and at the ends. Repeat with the rest of the doughs.
Arrange three ropes side by side, pinch together at one end, and then carefully braid. Don’t worry if it’s uneven. Then pinch together the ends, tucking them under. Repeat with the other three ropes. Transfer the braids to a greased parchment paper that will fit the baking tray. (You can use two papers and baking trays, or keep one braided bread in the refrigerator while you let the other rise. When ready to bake the first one, take the second piece of dough out, and let rise. Bake one at a time).
Transfer the parchment paper carefully to the baking tray.
Cover loosely with some foil or parchment paper and let rise until it´s spongy but not quite doubled, about 45 minutes.
(You can brush an egg wash over the dough, made with an egg yolk and a Tbs of milk, if you want a shiny surface).
Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC about 20 minutes before baking.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Let cool on wire rack before slicing.
A twist on regular challah, this recipe incorporates dried herbs for a delicious Shabbat treat. Recipe from Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book.
1 3/4 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1/4 cup honey
2 packages active dry yeast
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt
5 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed, divided
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed, divided
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed, divided
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
With a wooden spoon, mix the warm water, honey, and packages of yeast in a large bowl. Allow the yeast mixture to proof for 10 minutes or until foamy.
Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside. When the yeast mixture is ready, add beaten eggs, olive oil, salt, 4 cloves minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon each of dried basil, rosemary and thyme.
Gradually stir in as much of the flour as you can. (The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl and look ropey.)
Lightly flour your work surface and begin kneading into the dough enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that is smooth and elastic. (About 5 to 7 minutes.)
Lightly grease a large glass bowl with olive oil. Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and place in bowl. Turn once to lightly cover dough with oil. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours).
After 1 to 1 1/2 hours, check dough for readiness by pressing two fingers 1/2 inch into the center. If the indentations stay, punch your fist into the center of the dough until the edges pull in. If the dough is not ready, allow dough to continue rising.
Divide dough into three equal portions on a lightly floured board. Then divide those portions into three equal parts so you have nine total.
Roll each portion into a 24-inch-long rope. Take three ropes and lay them side by side and begin braiding. (For braiding tips, see video below.) Repeat braiding three ropes at a time until you have three dough braids. Twist braids into three spiral loaves or leave flat to make long loaves.
Spray three baking sheets with non-stick spray and allow each dough braid to rise on pans, covered in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, melt 3 Tablespoons butter in a small bowl. Then stir in 1 clove minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon each of dried basil, rosemary, and thyme. Brush butter herb mixture over each loaf.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheets onto wire racks to cool.