Cinnamon Sugar Challah


Bodacious Breads!

½ cup plus 2/3 cup of warm water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp sugar
3 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
4 egg yolks
3 cups Bread flour (All Purpose Flour will do if you don’t have bread flour)
2 tsp dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and sugar in large glass measuring cup and stir until yeast dissolves. Let mixture stand at room temp until foamy, about 10 min. In large bowl mix together of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix 3 eggs, oil, salt and honey. Beat in 2/3 cup warm water. Add yeast mixture and beat until blended. Remove whisk and fit mixer with dough hook. Add enough flour 1 cup at a time to form smooth dough, beating well after each addition. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, (5 min), adding flour by tablespoonfuls if sticky. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 2 min. Depending on the moisture in the air, or the elevation, you may have to add more or less flour.

Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, then with clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch down dough. Cover with plastic and clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes. Grease 2 large baking sheets. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 9-inch-long rope. Flatten each of the ropes slightly and down the middle of each rope, spoon the cinnamon sugar. Using your thumb and forefinger, crimp or pinch the flattened sides of the rope together, trapping the sugar inside. Repeat this with each rope. Once each rope has the cinnamon sugar mixture inside, braid the 3 ropes together; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough pieces, forming 2 braids. Place each braid on baking sheet. Cover with towel . Let rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 40-50 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water to blend. Brush dough with egg mixture. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to rack and cool completely.  ** In addition to this recipe, I’ve used many kinds of fruit down the center of my flattened ropes – Blueberries are my particular favorite! Make sure you pinch the sides of the ropes well in order to trap the berries inside and then braid very carefully! This is truly a special Challah – it takes some extra work, but it’s worth it! Enjoy!