Apple Honey Challah

Normal married couples fight about finances, in-laws, and the proper method to load the dishwasher. Ben and I fight about glitter. Grab a piece of golden Apple Honey Challah while I explain.

Apple Honey Challah

It started three years ago when Ben picked me up for a date, and I had rubbed some of that super sexy shimmer lotion onto my legs just before he arrived. It turns out that, while shimmer lotion may look good under a mini skirt, it will leave a stubborn trail dust of sparkles on your date’s passenger seat. Those sparkles will then refuse to budge until your date pays to shampoo his car. Oops.

Glitter lotion is now banned from our apartment, but that hasn’t stopped the conflict over shiny specs. Christmas is particularly problematic. I purchased our tree and ornaments in my single lady days, which translates to décor that is cheap, colorful, and of course, glittery. Every holiday when I haul it out, Ben goes into a glitter tirade, following me around with the vacuum and pointing out every stray spec. To be fair, those glitter pieces do have a fairly nasty habit of finding their way into unusual locations (Ben’s desk drawer; our kitchen cupboards; the bathtub), and I suspect that they are targeting Ben. How else would the man wind up with glitter inside his baseball cap?

Apple Honey Challah

Despite the dispute, I do not regret my glittery ornament selection. They are so pretty! Also, the holidays should be merry and bright. Our surroundings demand a little extra glam. Apple Honey Challah bread is just that: something familiar, studded out to make it extra special for holiday celebrations.

Challah is a traditional Jewish bread, eaten on the Sabbath and holidays. Being Jewish is not, however, a prerequisite to enjoying this wonderful loaf. For our Apple Honey Challah, I kept much of the tradition in the recipe—eggs for richness, no butter (I used light, fruity olive oil instead), and a beautiful braid—but added a bit of my own flair: white whole wheat flour, golden honey, chunks of tart apple, and a warm touch of cinnamon. The result is an unbelievably tender loaf that is so fluffy and soft, it melts on your tongue, yet still boasts enough structure to hold up to the toaster or (better yet) a French toast batter.

It took me three holiday seasons to work up the nerve to bake challah. With its fancy braid and shiny, bronzed exterior,I thought challah would be too complicated for a home baker like me, right? BZZZZZZ (cue the “Erin, you are sooooo wrong” buzzer). Challah dough is straightforward to prepare and simpler than it looks. It’s sticker than typical bread doughs (thank the honey for that) and requires an extra rise + egg wash, but otherwise challah isn’t any more complicated than a batch of dinner rolls. Even the braiding is easier than it looks (and I’ve included these pictures to help!)
My Apple Honey Challah is extra super fluffy, thanks to my bread baking BFF Red Star Yeast. As I’ve shared previously, Red Star Platinum Yeast is my bread-baking weapon numero uno. It makes the most bowl-busting doughs and fluff-tastic loaves, an especially impressive feat when baking with whole grain flours, something I do almost exclusively. My Apple Honey Challah rose so fabulously, it nearly expanded right off the edge of my baking sheet!
Apple Honey Challah
The holidays are a time to try something special, to add a little glitz to the every day. We place stockings on our mantels, wreaths on our doors, and lights on our trees. Let your breakfast in on the glam by baking a tender, cinnamon-scented loaf of Apple Honey Challah. Then, watch what happens when your glittery Christmas tree topper falls off, lands with a thud, and spews gold fairy dust all over the carpet and your husband’s gym shorts. Yes that happened. Fortunately, I had some fresh challah to abate Ben’s temper.

Best leave the sparkle to the Apple Honey Challah.

And a few more sweet recipe ideas to glam up your holiday spread:
Chocolate Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Honey Challah

Fluffy honey sweetened challah bread stuffed with apples and cinnamon. Perfect for special occasions and makes incredible challah french toast. Be sure to look at the post above for step-by-step photos to weave the bread.

Yield: 1 large, round loaf

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes



  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (or substitute an equal amount of all purpose or bread flour)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for kneading (or substitute an equal amount of bread flour)
  • 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional—will make bread fluffier if using white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard 1/4-ounce packet) Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water, very warm but not hot (120 – 130 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil (this is what I used) or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk

Apple filling

  • 2 medium baking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast, and salt until combined. Add the water, honey, oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Mix on medium speed until the ingredients are just combined into a shaggy mass. Switch to the dough hook, reduce speed to low and mix 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky.
  2. If making dough by hand: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast, and salt until combined. Add the water, honey, oil, eggs, and egg yolk. Stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are just combined into a shaggy mass. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until dough forms a smooth, elastic ball, about 8 minutes. Flour the dough as little as possible to prevent it from becoming tough.
  3. Lightly coat a large, clean bowl with cooking spray. Transfer dough the bowl, turn to coat, then cover with plastic wrap that has also been misted with cooking spray. Let dough rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until almost doubled in size.
  4. In a small bowl, toss together the apple pieces, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press it into a long, flat oval. Spread 2/3 of apple pieces over 1/2 of the flattened dough, leaving the other half of the dough empty. Fold the uncovered dough half over the apples and press down to flatten. (The dough will be lumpy.) Repeat the process, spreading the remaining apples over 1/2 of the folded dough again. Fold the uncovered dough half over the apples, pressing it down once more, leaving you with a semi-square shape. With the sides of your hands, gently tuck the corners of the “dough square” under to form the dough into a round. Turn the bowl in which you let the dough rise over the top of the apple-dough ball so that it is covered. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Weave the bread (see photos in post for a visual): Divide dough into 4 pieces by cutting it in half vertically, then horizontally (your cuts will form a plus sign.) Carefully roll and stretch each of the pieces into a 12-inch rope (be sure to measure!) If any apple pieces fall out as you go simply press them back in.
  6. Take two ropes and lay them side by side so that they are touching. Arrange the other two pieces across the dough in a perpendicular manner so that you are creating a big plus sign, weaving the pieces so that one side is over and the other is under in the center where they meet (as if you are creating a basket weave). Your dough should now have eight “legs” coming out from the center where they cross.
  7. Find each of the four legs that are emerging from “under” the center of the dough weave (these will be every-other rope). Lift each leg over the rope to its right. Find the legs you have not yet moved. Lift each of these legs up, over, and to the left. If you had extra length to the ropes, repeat these left-right jumps until no length of dough remains. Tuck any corners or bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.
  8. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper and gently transfer the woven dough to its center. For the egg wash, beat the egg until smooth and brush it liberally over dough. Let dough rise uncovered for one hour. Reserve egg wash.
  9. Place rack in the center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Before baking, brush loaf once more with the reserved egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the loaf registers 195 degrees F at its center. The loaf will bronze deeply as it bakes, but check it at the 30-minute mark. If it is browning too quickly, cover the loaf with foil for the remainder of the baking time.
  10. Let loaf cool on a wire rack, slice, then serve.

Still nervous about baking with yeast? Check out Red Star’s helpful videos and baking tips, along with everything you need to know about yeast. For recipe ideas and inspiration, follow Red Star Yeast on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Red Star Yeast compensated me for my time to create this post. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to provide quality content to you. Recipe (loosely) adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

68 Responses to “Apple Honey Challah”

  1. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life — December 12, 2013 @ 7:12 am (#)

    I can never say no to yeasted sweet breads. Cookies, yes, cake, yes, yeasted breads – hand me the whole thing! This honey and apple versions looks seriously dangerous. Pinning this one!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:52 am

      Thanks so much Mary Frances! This sounds like it definitely fits into your key food groups :)

  2. Zainab — December 12, 2013 @ 7:17 am (#)

    This bread is beautiful!!! Poor Ben…I can only feel for his pain. I live glitter and all things sparkly during Christmas. So funny he chases you around with a vacuum lol!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:51 am

      He is UNBELIEVEABLE with the vacuum! I only wish he moved that fast on the dishes, lol

  3. Aggie — December 12, 2013 @ 7:27 am (#)

    What a beautiful bread!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:51 am

      Thanks so much Aggie! Eggwash + sparkly sugar does the trick :)

  4. Erika — December 12, 2013 @ 7:35 am (#)

    GURLLL!!!! That is just gorgeous.. I’m a huge lover of sweet bread so this has my name written all over it.

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:50 am

      Erika, if you love sweet breads, this is calling for you right this second! Thanks lady :)

  5. liz @ The Lemon Bowl — December 12, 2013 @ 7:37 am (#)

    We used to make challah in Temple during Sunday school but I’m such a chicken, I never make it at home!! My cousins make it all the time but they are all in California. I need to get some nerves!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:50 am

      Liz, I spent YEARS avoding making challah, and now I have no idea why! It was way easier than I expected. Maybe that baker husband of yours is up to the task? ;-)

  6. shashi @ — December 12, 2013 @ 7:40 am (#)

    I don’t think I’ve ever had challah with apple in it – this is a BRILLIANT idea! And your challah is gorgeous! I guess Ben would not appreciate you serving this bread with a side of whipped cream with edible gold or silver sprinkled on top? :)
    Yall are a seriously cute couple!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:49 am

      OMG Shashi–that is EXACTLY how I want to serve this bread. I am totally adding edible glitter to my shopping list. Such a hilarious idea! (How did you know he hates whipped cream too? CRAZY MAN!)

  7. Angie@Angie's Recipes — December 12, 2013 @ 8:03 am (#)

    What a coincidence! I baked a round challah days ago…but just a simple one. Love the add of apples.

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:47 am

      Isn’t the round shape so much fun Angie? I love the long ones too, but I couldn’t resist. I bet yours was gorgeous!

  8. Tieghan — December 12, 2013 @ 8:04 am (#)

    Erin! This bread looks so good! I just made challah the other week, but I can totally go for some apple honey challah! Looks awesome!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:47 am

      I bet your version was totally d-lish too Tieghan! Mail me a slice? ;-)

  9. Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living — December 12, 2013 @ 8:08 am (#)

    Love how beautifully golden your challah came out.

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:47 am

      Thanks so much Jeanette! The double eggwash is really worth it and makes the crust so soft and tasty too.

  10. Carmel Moments — December 12, 2013 @ 8:47 am (#)

    That looks amazing girl! Perfect and golden.

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:46 am

      Thanks so much!! The double eggwash really turns this baby bronze and beautiful.

  11. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health — December 12, 2013 @ 8:55 am (#)

    i absolutely adore sparkly things. While my boyfriend doesnt agree, we have come to terms with it. Me sparkly, him everything matte and blue :) and this challah, I need to skip my gym tonight just to make this.

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      Your decorating style sounds way more fun to me Dixya! Glitter love forever :)

  12. DessertForTwo — December 12, 2013 @ 9:08 am (#)

    hehe! I loved reading about the glitter escapades. Ben just needs to accept it, until a piece gets in his eye and he has to go to the eye doctor, I say!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      Amen sister! I’ll tell him that next time he’s being fussy.

  13. Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon — December 12, 2013 @ 9:33 am (#)

    This Challah is gorgeous- but I’m with Ben on this one. I despise glitter! Belive me, my friends have a lot of fun with that one! :)

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:45 am

      lol Lisa. Ben will appreciate that he’s not the only one who’s against the messy sparkly stuff!

  14. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet — December 12, 2013 @ 9:45 am (#)

    Your breads always look so nice. And that is so funny about the glitter!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 10:44 am

      Who would have guessed glitter would be such a hot topic?? Thanks Nancy!

  15. Susan — December 12, 2013 @ 10:52 am (#)

    I am Jewish and bake challah regularly. I have saved your recipe and will try it in the future. I like your recipe a lot and am eagerr to try it. Have challah dough rising now-had I seen your recipe i probable would have baked it today! Never ever do I put sugar on the outside of Challah dough. Traditionally seeds (poppy &/or sesame) or sometimes nuts are used. Apple challah is soetimes made for the High Holy Days. I usually bake apple challah at this time of year. rWatch out for that glitter!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 11:12 am

      How neat that you have challah rising now Susan! I’m jealous :-) Next time, I’ll try my with sesame seeds or nuts. Both sound delicious!

      • Susan — December 12th, 2013 @ 11:18 am

        I use both sesame seeds and poppy seeds together. I also sometimes use almonds with cardamon- my adaptation of a Scandinavian bread. I vary the challahs I bake.

        • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

          I love those ideas Susan. You sound like an expert. Thanks for the suggestion and happy baking!

  16. BrunchTimeBaker — December 12, 2013 @ 11:10 am (#)

    This bread looks delicious! I love the glow!

    • Erin Clarke — December 12th, 2013 @ 11:13 am

      Thanks so much!! The double egg wash really gave the loaf a nice ‘tan’ lol

      • BrunchTimeBaker — December 16th, 2013 @ 12:04 am

        What a great idea to double the egg wash! It really does give the bread a beautiful deep color.

  17. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — December 12, 2013 @ 2:29 pm (#)

    It seriously pains me that I don’t have this loaf, fresh-baked from the oven in front of me right this minute. Also, the glitter ornaments? Totally had the same problem. BUT THEY ARE SO PRETTY.

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

      SOOOO SHINY!!! Um, I totally bought 4 more glitter snowflakes at Target yesterday. Don’t tell Ben.

  18. Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) — December 12, 2013 @ 3:50 pm (#)

    I’ve never had challah but it looks amazing, especially this version!

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

      If you’ve never had challah, you must must try it ASAP! It’s fluffy and golden and rich and just amazing. I think you would love it!

  19. Rachel (teacher-chef) — December 12, 2013 @ 4:06 pm (#)

    Quite a beautiful looking loaf – my dad is the yeast guy in the family…. I’ll be sending this his way! (and I hear you with the glitter – I love it and its pretty, but I hate how I am still finding it in the couch cushions months later… although the same can be said for my dogs and their dog hair – but we keep them around!)

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

      lol Rachel. Never would have thought to comparing it to dog hair, but I totally see where you are coming from. I bet your pooches are just adorable and totally worth the shedding.

  20. sprinklesandsauce — December 12, 2013 @ 9:02 pm (#)

    Great looking challah!

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

      Thanks so much! It was a lot of fun to make.

  21. jessica | Portuguese Girl Cooks — December 12, 2013 @ 11:08 pm (#)

    I have the same problem year after year with the glitter decor. I think everything I have is glitter infused and my husband goes on the same tirade- when will they give up, lol! I seriously love that beautiful golden brown top!

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

      Jessica, the men need to jump on the glitter train. It’s happening at Christmas no matter what, so I say just enjoy the ride!

  22. Aimee @ ShugarySweets — December 13, 2013 @ 6:10 am (#)

    Hehe, fighting over glitter. Did he at least say your legs looked amazing??? This challah looks divine!

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

      You know what Aimeee–he totally did not! Clearly, he owes me a date. And I might wear the lotion, just because ;-)

  23. consuelohoneyandfigs — December 13, 2013 @ 7:21 am (#)

    How can he dislike glitter? That stuff is amazing! ;–) Just like this bread. Oh gosh, it looks so fluffy that I want to cry because I can’t have a bite right now :( Happy Friday! x

    • Erin Clarke — December 13th, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

      Oh no don’t cry Consuelo! Just come over and I’ll serve you a big piece :)

  24. Courtney @ Neighborfood — December 13, 2013 @ 3:15 pm (#)

    Ha! Glitter wars. I think it was Demetri Martin who said glitter was the herpes of craft supplies. So true. But this time of year, you kind of want everything to be sparkly right? This bread is totally glam. Challah is on my baking bucket list, and it’s inching it’s way higher with this post!

  25. Luv What You Do — December 13, 2013 @ 9:10 pm (#)

    This looks beautiful! I love the braid! I always say I’m going to make Challah for our Friday night shabbat but I never do. I definitely am saving this recipe for when it finally happens.

  26. Sarah — December 14, 2013 @ 11:44 am (#)

    this bread looks wonderful! i love the addition of apple filling. yum yum!

  27. Red Star Yeast — December 14, 2013 @ 3:35 pm (#)

    Warm bread with honey and apples – now that’s a fantastic flavor combination! :)

    • Erin Clarke — December 15th, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

      Thanks so much Linda! Love baking with you :)

  28. bakerbynature — December 15, 2013 @ 6:16 pm (#)

    Um yeeeeeees! I am totally crushing on this bread x 1,000,000!!!

  29. Erin | The Emerging Foodie — December 17, 2013 @ 9:33 am (#)

    This looks amazing. Such a pretty braid going on! I definitely feel the same way about Challah so I’m glad to know you found it easy. Loved your glitter/car story by the way… too funny!

    • Erin Clarke — December 17th, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

      Thanks so much Erin! I’ve you’ve been wanting to make challah, you should go for it. Not nearly as scary as it seems :)

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  31. Erin @ Texanerin Baking — December 28, 2013 @ 3:43 pm (#)

    I saw this on G+ and am finally just getting around to commenting.

    I’m still kind of speechless! It looks like the best challah ever. SO rich and pretty!

    • Erin Clarke — December 29th, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      Thanks Erin! It’s made with whole wheat flour, which I know is a favorite of yours too :)

  32. Nidhi — January 4, 2014 @ 11:40 am (#)

    This looks awesome! This year I definitely want to Earn…errr make my own bread! ;) ….Will start off with your recipe… its so divine!
    Great blog…. loved the glitter issue! :)
    Nidhi from

    • Erin Clarke — January 5th, 2014 @ 12:25 am

      Thank you so much Nidhi! I think that’s a stellar resolution, and I’d be honored for my challah to make your homemade bread list!

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