The Challah Hub girls make incredible and very unusual types of challah’s, check out their blog here – challahhub.com Here they make a special heart-shaped challah for Valentine’s Day with strawberries and chocolate with Caroline Artiss.
1 cup warm water
1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
4 cups of flour (we recommend Gold’s “Better for Bread”)
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted, melty butter
1 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs beaten
1 egg white (for your egg glaze)
For the filling:
400g / 1 punnet (basket) of strawberries, hulled and cut into slices
1/2 cup white sugar
Dissolve your packet of Rapid Rise Yeast in 1 cup warm water.
TIP: Stir it a little, then let it sit for a few minutes. It should get foamy and bubbly. If nothing happens, then the yeast may be dead – sometimes bad things happen to good yeast – try another packet!
Mix 4 cups flour, salt, sugar and chocolate chips in your big bowl.
Mix in a smaller bowl, your beaten eggs and melted butter, food coloring and vanilla.
DUMP ALL THAT STUFF INTO A BIG BOWL AND START MIXING
TIP: Once the dough is mostly mixed with a spoon or spatula, start using your hands to squish it around, fold it, and squish it more, until it’s smooth. Add sprinkles of flour (up to ½ cup additional) as needed, until your dough leaves the side of the bowl. It’s ok if it’s a little sticky.
*Careful not to over knead the dough here or your bread might be a bit tough. Just get your dough evenly mixed, then chill out.
Butter a big bowl. Just grab a stick, and smear that stuff around. Drop your dough into your buttered bowl, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
LEAVE IT ALONE AND GO DO STUFF for 2-3 hours. Do NOT put in fridge, DO put it somewhere warm.
IT’S FILLING TIME!
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Place sliced strawberries on a baking tray, sprinkle with sugar and pop into the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
This helps reduce them down so they won’t make the challah go soggy!
Braiding: After your dough has risen to about double its size, divide it into three even sections. Use your hands to roll out three tubes of dough, then start braiding.
Once your braid is set, start stuffing those strawberries into all the crevices of your braid!
You can also add more chocolate chips here, too.
Cover your cookie sheet with foil, and lightly spritz with non-stick cooking spray, rub it around, then place the braided dough on it.
Grab that damp cloth, cover the challah, and let rise for 1 more hour.
Preheat your oven to 325.
Paint your challah with your egg white, using one of those kitchen paintbrush things, get into all the nooks and crannies.
Toss that challah in the middle rack of your oven for 28-38 minutes (depending on the oven).
Like roasting marshmallows, you want that golden brown.
To check, at 30 minutes, we might take it out, and slowly turn the Challah on its side by peeling up the foil. When you tap on the bottom of the Challah, and it sounds hollow, that’s a good sign that it’s done.
Place it on a wire cooling rack, and let it cool.
Then… finally, grab a bread knife, or rip yourself off a slice, smother it in Nutella, and then act bashful, surprised and modest when everyone tells you it’s THE BEST CHALLAH THEY’VE EVER HAD.