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 alluring 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.

Challah-Dough-Step-by-Step-Pictures

Even the braiding is easier than it looks (and I’ve included these pictures to help!)

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.

Apple Honey Challah

Best leave the sparkle to the Apple Honey Challah.

Apple Honey Challah

Apple Honey Challah

5 from 3 votes
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.

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 3 hrs 35 mins

Servings: 1 large, round loaf

Ingredients
  

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour  or substitute an equal amount of all purpose or bread flour
  • 2 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
  • 1 package instant yeast 1/4 ounce, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water very warm but not hot (120 – 130 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the 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

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling, optional

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let loaf cool on a wire rack, slice, then serve.

Notes

Recipe (loosely) adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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71 Comments

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  1. 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!

    1. 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!

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

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

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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 :)

  7. 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!

  8. 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 http://goodfoodbytes.blogspot.in/

    1. 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!

  9. Made this recipe yesterday and it was the very best Challah I have made. I added 1 cup of raisins it was so awesome . Thank you

    1. Jackie, I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  10. Is there any adjustment if I make a double recipe?  And if I make it 1/2 white whole wheat flour and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour, does that work?

    1. Lee, I actually wouldn’t recommend pastry flour for a yeast bread like this. It has a lesser amount of protein, which you need to make the bread springy and give it body. As far as doubling the recipe, I am hesitant to recommend that as sometimes with baking recipes, even when you measure perfectly, the doubling causes the final product to go awry. I’ve never tried making a double batch, so I simply can’t tell you from experience. If you do decide to play around though, I”d love to hear how it comes out!

  11. Lovely recipe, except for the very last line. One does not slice challah, one pulls off a piece (then dips it in honey). For those who insist on slicing, it is only sliced at the table. Why? For the same reason, all bread should only be sliced immediately before using….it dries out too quickly. 

    And—thickly sliced challah makes the best French toast ever!!!5 stars

  12. I found this recipe randomly on Google and OMG!!! It’s amazing!!! I’ve been eating and making challah for over 40 years and never had one this delicious. My kids and I were stuffed before dinner because we couldn’t stop eating it! 5 stars

    1. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe, Wendy! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  13. I’ve made challah many times using a different recipe. It was nice to try something new. I only had one Granny Smith apple and that was plenty. The only change I will make in the future is tossing the diced apple in sugar or more honey. The apple was too tart – but the decorator’s sugar helped offset the tartness. I did use apple juice instead of water for a little more sweetness. I will use that again. The dough felt like silk in my hands as I kneeded it – so I knew it was going to taste very good. Thank you for a great recipe. I’ll post a photo on Instagram and tag you. I almost forgot to take a photo and took one as I walked to give it to a friend. My round braiding needs practice – but I was happy with how it turned out.5 stars

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