apple and honey challah

This month has came and has now almost gone and I’ve missed it entirely. It’s a shame, because September is my second favorite but less of a shame than it would be if I am still saying the same about October, which is my actual favorite. Nevertheless, I put my foot down and decided I absolutely, unequivocally would not let this month go without at least making you an apple honey challah. Due to my innate gift for impeccable timing (ha), I got the idea for this about two days after the High Holidays ended last year. So, for the better part of 12 months, I’ve plotted this spin on traditional challah and am still about six hours late on it. Typical.

baking with macs

Honey challahs are surprisingly easy — you simply swap sugar for honey, and you can increase it for a stronger honey flavor. Apple challahs, however, are challenging, mostly because larger chunks of baked apple are far more satisfying to bite into you than pea-sized ones, but they’re also tricky to work into a soft dough, and then shape that dough with a traditional braid. Many recipes I saw for apple challah forewent the braid, and baked the bread in a tin instead but it felt too much like cake to me. Plus, I like playing with Play-Doh bread dough far too much to do that. So, I came to two agreements with my dough. One, that I would not put so much apple in that it was more cake than bread, and also nearly impossible to shape and two, that if apple chunks fell out — and of course, they will — I’d just poke them back in. I’m pretty sure you’re picturing me right now negotiating with a large blob of dough on a speckled counter and your premonition would be correct. At least I’m not talking to myself, right?

spread 2/3 of apple chunks, fold over spread remaining chunks, fold again
tuck into ball, ready for rise 2 flatten, divide into four

small center weave weave to the right!
weave to the left! tuck corners under and behold awesomeness

The other reason I just had to share this with you was that when I was doing research last year for a different challah that’s going in my cookbook, I came across the best, easiest, coolest way to make a pretty round challah without all of that 6-to-4, 2-to-6, 1-to-3, 5-to-1 brain scrambling of 6-strand braids. Or the weirdness of trying to turn that braid into a round loaf. More of a weave than a braid, I only had to read the directions for this once before I had it down and frankly, have been inventing excuses to make round challahs knowing that this will have them looking bumpy and grand. I hope you’ll find it as simple. I hope that if you’re celebrating the new year, that you have a sweet one and even if you’re not, that you will find excuse to make one of these anyway.

from the oven
ready for snacktime

One year ago: Beef Chili + Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
Two years ago: Date Spice Loaf
Three years ago: Black and White Cookies and Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella
Four years ago: Red Velvet Cake and Cream Cheese Noodle Kugel, Spaghetti with Chorizo and Almonds and Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers
Five years ago: Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

Friday 9/30 Do you live near NYC? Please forgive me if you’re hearing this for the second time, but I’ll be speaking at the Apple Store on West 14th Street in NYC on Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. about this here little Internet website, with lots of time for Q&A. Anyone is welcome to attend, most especially you because I bet we haven’t met yet and we totally should.

Apple and Honey Challah

I’ve adapted my challah formula over the years from Joan Nathan’s, and I find her tips about three risings (which won’t take as long as it sounds, promise) and two brushes with egg wash spot on. If you’re looking for a basic challah recipe, here you go. But this one is especially fun for right now, as apples and honey are traditionally eaten together on the Jewish New Year, which begins tonight. And can you imagine how awesome the leftovers will be for French toast?

I didn’t put any cinnamon in this; I was hoping it would taste foremost like apples and honey but if you’d like cinnamon in there, you could toss the apple chunks with a teaspoon of it. The apples will bake down into almost sauce-like puddles and they manage to remain a little tart. The honey flavor isn’t aggressive, mostly because I didn’t want the challah to be overly sweet (we serve it at dinner, not dessert) but you can always increase the level or just serve it with more honey. I was dubious about the sugar on top of the loaf at first, but ended up enjoying the way it brought out the subtle sweetness of the bread.

One tip: If you measure your oil in your 1/3 cup measuring cup first, and then your honey, the honey will slide right out.

Makes 1 round woven challah

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard 1/4-ounce packet) active dry yeast
1/3 cup (79 ml) plus 1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup (79 ml) neutral oil, plus more for the bowl
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt
4 1/4 cups all-purpose (530 grams) or bread flour (578 grams), plus more for your work surface

Apple filling
2 medium baking apples (I love baking with MacIntoshes), peeled, cored and in 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks
Squeeze of lemon juice, to keep them from browning

Egg wash
1 large egg
Coarse or pearl sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Make your dough: Whisk yeast and 1 teaspoon honey into 2/3 cup warm water and let stand until foamy, a few minutes.

With a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixture, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (1/3 cup), eggs and yolk. Switch to dough hook and add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt. Use dough hook on a moderate speed until it pulls all of the flour and wet ingredients together into a craggy mass. Lower the speed and let the dough hook knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth, elastic and a little sticky.

By hand:: In a large bowl, whisk together yeast mixture, oil, remaining honey (1/3 cup), eggs and yolk. Add flour and salt all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until you get a craggy mass of uneven dough. Turn dough out onto a floured counter and knead it into a smooth, elastic dough, about 5 to 8 minutes. Try to use as little flour as necessary when kneading the dough; you don’t want to toughen the bread. A bench scraper can make it really easy to remove it from the counter if it gets stuck in a spot. [More bread tips here.]

Both methods: Transfer dough to large oil-coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.

Add apples to dough: [See photos in post.] Turn dough out onto a floured counter and gently press it down into a flat, oblong shape. The shape does not matter so however it goes, it goes. Spread 2/3 of apple chunks over 1/2 of the flattened dough. Fold the other half over the apple chunks and press the dough down around them, flattening the now lumpy dough. Spread the remaining 1/3 apple chunks over half the folded dough. Fold the other half over the apples, pressing the dough down again. Your dough packet will likely be square-ish. Fold the corners under with the sides of your hands and form the dough into a round. Upend your empty bowl over and set it aside for another 30 minutes.

Weave your bread: [See photos in post.] Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll and stretch each one as carefully as you can into a rope — don’t worry about getting it too long or thin, just 12 inches or so should do. If any apple chunks fall out as you form the ropes or at any other time in the forming of the loaf or risings, just poke them back in with your finger.

Arrange two strands in each direction, perpendicular to each other, like a plus sign. Weave them so that one side is over, and the other is under, where they meet. So, now you’ve got an 8-legged woven-headed octopus. Take the four legs that come from underneath the center and move them over the leg to their right, i.e. jumping it. Take those legs that were on the right and again, jump each over the leg before, this time to the left. If you had extra length to your ropes, you can repeat these left-right jumps until you run out of rope. For me, this was enough. Just as you had with the folded packet of apple dough above, tuck the corners/odd bumps under the dough with the sides of your hands to form a round.

Transfer the dough to a parchment-covered heavy baking sheet or baker’s peel (if you’ll be using a bread stone). Beat egg until smooth and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Bake your loaf: Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you’re using it. Bake in middle of oven for 40 to 45 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed; if yours (like mine, except I didn’t catch it in time) starts getting too dark too quickly, cover it with foil for the remainder of the baking time. The very best way to check for doneness in any bread but especially on like this where the wetness of the apples can slow down the baking time a bit, is with an instant read thermometer — the center of the loaf should be 195 degrees.

Cool loaf on a rack before serving. Or, well, good luck with that.

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488 comments on apple and honey challah

  1. Meredith

    I know this is a creepy fast comment (is it weird I have been waiting for a new post all day?). Anyway, this recipe looks great and I’m a big fan of your site!

  2. Oh my! I love the idea of fruit in it! Apples…. Pears… apples and pears… my oh my! Hello fall I am here with open arm! I really am so excited for your cookbook, is it ready yet????

  3. Elena

    Oh, thank you! I checked your blog just 30 minutes ago to see if you had a New Year’s challah (I’ve seen your regular challah recipe) and was a little sad not to find anything…and then Facebook tells me you have a new post! My son and I will make it tomorrow for our Rosh Hashana celebration tomorrow evening. Thank you! I especially appreciate the photos of the braiding process – I’ve never been successful at that…Shana Tova!

  4. K

    This looks amazing, but I *just* pulled your old challah recipe out of the oven! Guess I’ll have to make a second loaf tomorrow… my roommates will be so disappointed.

  5. Hey, I made the same thing and I posted it earlier today! I’m not Jewish but sure do love Jewish breads and sweets, and I thought it was a cool coincidence that today happens to be Rosh Hoshanah. Anyway, I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour that I was happy with (though I’d agree with you about the ‘cake-like’ thing; I found it a bit weird to slice it in wedges), but I would like to give yours a try – it’s much prettier and I love the weaving method. Happy New Year!

    1. Jacqueline Katz

      Made-over two days because horses demanded attention. Made with Galil orange blossom honey from Israel, but I may do this often with regular honey. It was so beautiful and so good! I used Honey Crisp apples because large and prettiest in the market-they worked fine. Thank you for another great recipe!! Shana Tova umetukah!

  6. Jessica

    This looks wonderful. I’m living in a different state than my family members and won’t be attending synagogue tomorrow (sadly, I’ll be at work)… but I plan on making this tomorrow evening to get in the spirit while I reflect on what an awesome year it’s been, and contemplate my hopes and goals for the next.

    My own personal Judaism is as much (or more) cultural than religious, but I was feeling a bit lost today thinking about being away from my family and the synagogue I grew up in. I think this challah is just the cure I needed. Maybe I’ll call my grandma and share the recipe with her. Thanks Deb!

    1. Miriam Gross

      This made an amazing bread pudding with the leftovers! Sautéed some additional apple chunks in butter and brown sugar, added cinnamon, vanilla, and a little bourbon (calvados would be amazing but didn’t have on hand), mixed it together with a custard and baked. Divine!

  7. K

    Oh, also – my friend told me about a trick for adding raisins so that they don’t fall out, and that might work for the apple chunks, too: After dividing the dough, roll each one into a long, flat oblong. Sprinkle the raisins over the dough, then roll it tightly from one of the long ends, sealing the fruit inside the long log of dough. Then you can braid those logs, and none of the raisins fall out! I’m going to try it with the apples when I make this recipe and I’ll let you know how it goes.

      1. Miriam Gross

        Yes, I did it this year for Rosh Hashanah. I cut the apples into very small chunks, about the size of raisins, tossed with a little cinnamon, and placed them in the dough as I described above. I then braided it in a round 4 strand braid (I believe Deb has photos of this method in her first cookbook). It worked wonderfully.

          1. Miriam Gross

            Make the dough, divide the dough, shape into ropes, add apples, fold over dough and pinch to seal (creating a rope filled with apple chunks), braid as desired.

  8. This just made me really homesick for my kitchen at home! I’m at college now and I feel so starved for actually making food – the most you can do in the cafeterias here is make a green salad and peel an orange! Do you have any survive-college tips for cooking in a dorm room? ANYTHING would be great! Thanks!

    1. deb

      Hi Eleanor — We made some very terrible pasta once in someone’s electric tea-maker. I wouldn’t advise it. I saw something recently about this site. It’s an offshoot of another food blog focused on 20-somethings. Perhaps some good ideas there?

      Linda — It might be that it was overproofed. Boo! Do you have time to start another?

  9. Marcia

    Waiting for the post to appear as I have challah dough in the fridge and was wanting to see how you wove the round loaf…just in the knick of time! Happy New year to all.

  10. Oh goodness gracious! My Catholic husband’s favorite part of Shabbat is his challah French toast every Saturday morning. Man, oh man, this recipe might actually make up for the fact that he had to take a vacation day and a bus from Boston to his in-laws in Western Mass for the new year. Hope you all have a happy, healthy and sweet one. Also, is there anything that Joan Nathan can’t do?

  11. There’s a loaf of homemade Challah ala Reinhart in my fridge right now…except I know I did something wrong. I think I over-proofed my dough but its quite firm–a far cry from the challah I’m used to getting when I lived in Forest Hills, Queens. Please help, does over-kneading/over-proofing/gosh whatever else I may have done wrong, result in a really dense, sour loaf?

    1. deb

      I used all-purpose (though I just remembered that I have a ton of bread flour, but forgot about it) but theoretically, bread flour might give you a stretchier dough. Really, even with AP flour it’s hurting for nothing in the texture department.

    1. deb

      Anything without a strong flavor — grapeseed, vegetable, canola, whatever you’ve got. I use olive oil sometimes. They all work.

      Past my bedtime, guys! I’ll get back to questions tomorrow. :)

  12. We actually don’t have an oven in our house, so I’ve taken to baking bread (challah included) in a cast iron pan on the barbecue. Honestly, I think it works better than an electric oven.

    I think this loaf needs to be added to tomorrows agenda if I can rustle up some apples without going all the way into town.

  13. Mary

    This is such a coincidence! I have challah dough rising in my refrigerator right now, because I felt like baking some hot for breakfast, and I didn’t even know Rosh Hashanah was beginning. The only bad thing is, now, instead of looking forward to my freshly baked bread, I’m wishing it had honey and apples in it.

  14. Wow, this looks awesome! The step by step braiding photos are so helpful. I usually shy away from making breads with unusual shapes, but you made this look easy. Mmmm, apple honey challah french toast is also a really good incentive.

  15. I love the looks of this, and I’m glad to hear that October is your favorite month because it’s mine too. I’m also glad to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks of recipes when it’s too late. I thought about boiling bagels for my blog today, but by the time all my errands were done, it was almost time for bed! Well, happy Rosh Hashanah!

  16. Shari

    Happy new year! Looks beautiful and I have all the ingredients…just one question.
    I have instant yeast that I buy in bulk…any changes I need to make in the quantity or just measure out 2 1/4 tsp with no proofing? I find it easier to buy the instant and store it in the freezer.

  17. Catherine

    The dough is currently rising as I type… I am very much looking forward to the honey challah (I decided to forgo the apples). Shana tova, Deb!

  18. I could teach that challah something about being eaten. Oh my goodness, it wouldn’t be safe from me from the moment it came out of the oven. I would have to make at least 2, maybe 4 for anyone else to get a bite :)

  19. Looks great. We used to go to a place in Victoria, Vancouver Island that did the most amazing Challah and a French Toast Challah too called Bubby Rose’s. Anyone been?

  20. I’m just getting to grips with making a decent plain white loaf, this may have to wait a while until I attempt it. Maybe I could do something similar for Christmas. (Plus December is by far the best month, it has Christmas in it! lol)

  21. Would it be insane of me to make this my first attempt at challah bread? Because it *is* that time of year and apple picking is sure to occur very soon.

    I made the apple cheddar scones last year after apple picking, and those were perfection.

      1. deb

        Go for it! I like to soak them in something first, so they don’t draw moisture out of the bread as they bake. Wine and wine, rum and water, or something like that.

  22. Michele

    I didn’t grow up with challah, so when I first discovered the braided, shiny, loveliness I was instantly enamored. Since first blush yearned to make one, though my bread baking skills were lacking. I’ve been brushing up on bread, so that combined with your stellar tutorial…I’m making this bad boy TODAY. Thanks!!

  23. Sally

    L’shanah tovah! Thanks for the great recipe – I’ll save it for next year… I made your mom’s apple cake yesterday for erev RH dinner, and it was a HUGE hit. Delicious, made as your recipe suggested.

    Please come to Boston :)

  24. Mary

    I can’t find the link to the picture of Jacob! Do I need more coffee, or isn’t there one this time? I look forward to that as much as the recipes……

  25. Laura

    Hi Deb,
    Shana Tova :)
    Love your blog and really enjoy the recipes.
    Hope you have a fruitful year. Can’t wait to get that book of yours!!

  26. Killian

    Well crud. I was in NYC last weekend from Sat through Mon, and was right near the Apple store on Saturday (went to FAO Schwartz). I would LOVE to have met you, and maybe even Jacob! Maybe next time…

    This recipe looks amazing. Can you tell me how this is traditionally served? (With butter, with cheese, or some other spread/topping?) I’d love to make it, but I’d prefer to serve it however you would do so in a Jewish home, to respect the integrity of the recipe.

  27. Killian

    @Mary and @Vivien – he’s there. Click the “cake” link in the second paragraph where she mentions “more cake than bread…”

  28. Susan

    We made this braided round challah technique for RH this year, too, before we saw this post. We stuffed ours with cinnamon chips and chocolate chips which is truly decadent for a sweet new year. Have done apples before but not this stuffing technique – will try that next time. Shana Tova!

  29. tj

    …L’shanah tovah Miss Smitten!:o)

    …You know, this is one of those things that I wouldn’t care how it turned out ’cause it’s so beautiful just to look at! Seriously. But yeah, I will have to try this as just the thought of apples and honey? *swoons*

    …Thank you for the recipe! :o)

    …Blessings Smitten Family

  30. Vanessa

    You read my mind!!! I totally woke up this morning thinking how great it would be to make some sort of apple challah for my mother-in-laws visit this weekend. But, where to find a recipe? Here of course! Thank-you, thank-you!!!

  31. Nancy

    Hi Deb,
    My main question about challah is how to create a dense versus
    lighter, drier challah. People seem to prefer the dense, almost cakelike or
    doughy texture. Any suggestions?

    1. deb

      Hi Nancy — Not sure I’m following. It’s the eggs, oil and sugar that transforms regular bread to a challah; they make it richer and slightly more cake or brioche-like.

  32. Gayle S

    I will be making this soon – looks (almost) too pretty to eat! Made challah years ago in the traditional braid, this looks easier. I plan to try with white whole wheat flour, have had good luck subbing that for white/bread flour.

    Your red wine cake was divine, and my not-fond-of-cake husband made me promise to make it again soon. Oh, and the peach butter was awesome too. Love your recipes, your photography, your writing, your little boy… surely will love that Smitten cookbook someday as well.

  33. Kris

    I must say this looks wonderful. I discovered your site a few days ago. I am looking forward to getting my kitchen back once I return from Jamaica. All of these look so wonderful my mouth is watering.
    I am a newbie to bread making and I don’t have a bread machine but I do have a stand mixer. I have tried to make breads before but can never get the yeast right. How do you measure the correct temp of the water? A thermometer? by hand? I can never seem to get it right. everything else works.

  34. Ladotyk

    I love making Challah almost as much as I love tearing off the warm little braid nubs. Thank you for the simple photo instructions on the weave pattern, I’m definitely using this for my next loaf.

  35. Oh dear. I must say that I’m scared. But you tell us that is simple, and I do believe you. After all, food can sometimes scare people. But not so much to make me decide not to bake a honey challah filled with apples :-)

  36. Elizabeth

    Oh, yum! I love the apple idea. But I’ll be honest– I’m pretty dedicated to the challah recipe in Baking with Julia, so maybe I’ll try using that recipe with this apple-ness.

  37. Bobbie

    No worries on making challah too late, Deb, you can enjoy round loaves the entire holiday season! I think I’ll make your recipe for break the fast next week :) L’shana Tova, best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year for you and your family!

  38. I, quite sincerely, cannot wait for your cookbook to come out. EVERY recipe that I try from you is awesome and I love that you are so vegetarian friendly. Thank you for everything.

  39. Molly

    Sounds delicious! Your recipe calls for active yeast. All I can find here in Cape Town is instant yeast, which says it should be put directly in the flour. But when I did this with Joan Nathan’s challah, it didn’t seem to completely rise. Should I follow your directions even if using instant yeast?

    1. deb

      Replacing active yeast with instant — Instant yeast is usually used in 3/4 the volume of active dry. It does not need to be proofed, so you can skip the warm water step (though, you still need to add the same volume cold water as an ingredient). The rising times might be different. I find instant yeast to rise much more slowly (the “instant” refers to how quickly you can use it, not the speed at which it works) and would love to hear if you find the same to be true.

      Kris — You’re looking for lukewarm, close but not hot enough that you’d jump your finger back after touching it, between 110 and 116 on a thermometer if you’d like to be very precise while you learn to get a feel for it.

  40. Annie

    I love the weave! Can’t wait to try it on my next challah. That is absolutely gorgeous.

    I always make mine with milk, but then I have a goat so I’m always looking for new ways to use up milk. I get tired of making cheese.

  41. I just tried baking my first Challah last night and, although it is pretty, it’s a litte too dense and hard for me? Any recommendations or solutions? … on another note- I am absolutely going to try and come out to meet you tomorrow night!

    1. deb

      Scoop — It might have been the recipe (I have to throw that out there because I’ve only tested the recipes you see here) or that it didn’t rise enough. Conversely, it might have risen too much and the yeast went ka-put.

  42. Claire

    Hey Deb–very excited about the new recipe! I can’t wait to try out the new weave . . .I make your other challah all the time and could never get the braiding right. Finally, I settled for taking two “snakes”, twisting them together and then brading the three twised strands together. It’s not as professional looking as yours, but it doesn’t look as bad as you might think . . . Thanks again!

  43. Sherry

    This combines so many of my favorite things—baking, challah and knot-tying (the braid is actually a flat josephine or chinese button knot)! Can’t wait to try it.

  44. First … YAY apple love. I’m SO happy to see a bunch of apple recipes popping up today. So sick of seeing pumpkin everywhere already. Also – I’m thrilled with your round weave technique! I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of the double braided breads even though they look gorgeous. Yours looks great and appears easy – or at least easier :)

  45. Jill

    Just tried putting this together, the dough never really came together despite my best kneading attempts. I’ve made bread before and have never encountered this problem. I used whole wheat bread flour, could that be the reason? Any suggestions?

  46. Making breaded sweet or challah bread breaded had always baffled me. I just could never seem to wrap my head around the breading part. I love your instructions I totally get it! This looks REALLY awesome – it’s a perfect day for this bread and it’s the perfect season. Thanks for sharing – great recipe!

  47. Miss B

    Eleanor — I would suggest that you buy yourself a small crockpot. You can cook so many things in crockpots, and a small one shouldn’t take up too much space in your dorm room. I lived in a semi-furnished studio for awhile when I was younger, and the kitchen consisted of a tiny fridge/microwave/hot plate. You’d be amazed what you can accomplish with just a hot plate — but if I’d had a crockpot too, I would have been a lot happier, I think.

    1. deb

      Miss B — That’s such a great idea. Love it. And love my slow-cooker.

      Jill — I’ve never made challah with whole wheat bread flour, so that could have been the issue. But when you say “never really came together” — do you mean that it needed more liquid? Or something else?

  48. absolutely gorgeous! I love the step-by-step photos–they make it look like i could tackle this too! and i LOVE challah. The apple/honey combo is just going to make it even more delicious. :) Thanks Deb!

  49. Michael

    I think the opportunity to hear you speak warrants a “sick” day at work! Can’t wait to try challah out…I’m new to NYC, so I haven’t ever gotten the chance!

  50. Ellen W

    When I was still eating gluten, challah was one of my favorite breads to bake – I used the Silver Palate cookbook version. Wondering if I can make it gluten free, as gf dough tends to slump. Such a pretty shape – I had only seen the long braid before.

  51. It looks so delicious! I love challah kind of bread, but never had it with apples. Looks like I should have a try! I know it with nuts and all kind of dry fruit.

  52. This challah looks amazing. Last year I made one for a Jewish friend to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and she was so impressed. I used the recipe from the Brad Baker’s Apprentice, and I have to say that yours looks a lot nicer than mine, and even better it has some special sweetness in it from the fruit and honey. I think your recipe will be my next attempt, and i’m sure she will love it even more.

  53. C Steinemann

    My motherinlaw bakes the best Zopf (swiss braid) and her advice when shaping the braids is to never stretch the dough by force but to press and roll so that the braids are smooth with no lines from stretching.. easier said thn done…

    Wondering now how to subs the active yeast with fresh yeast… cubes of fresh yeast are so easily available here in zürich it feels almost like an obligation to use em :p

  54. Melissa

    Deb – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come to FARGO to speak! We need a little kick in terms of cuisine and I think you will find it a fun surprising adventure!

  55. HeatherRH

    Thank you for including some directions for mixing the dough by hand! I prefer to make my bread doughs by hand and it gets frustrating when the recipe is for a bread machine only.

    I will be making this soon, perhaps around the time of my daughter’s birthday party.

  56. emily

    I love the traditional spiral challah shape for Rosh Hashanah, but this is a beautiful round braided loaf. The most sinful way to use day old challah is to make thin sandwiches with cream cheese (and sometimes preserves) and then turn the sammies into french toast! evil and delicious.

  57. laurie

    Hi Deb, I baked three batches of challah this week trying to get it to look good enough for our family dinner tonight. My early attempts to coil a braid turned turned out tasty, but u-g-l-y, you ain’t got no alibi ugly. My subsequent attempts were OK, but nothing to get too excited about. But this! Can’t wait to try it.
    My fav challah recipe is adapted from a recipe in A Blessing of Bread, by Maggie Glezer.
    She gives fantastic detailed instructions on baking and braiding about 10 different types of challah.
    Happy New Year!!!

  58. Amy

    I have been craving apple walnut bread lately, and I love challah. Could I throw some walnuts into this without issues? I can’t see why not but thought I would ask. :-)

  59. Killian – observant Jews and those serving a traditional meal do not mix meat and dairy at the same meal. As most Jews serve a meat meal for holidays, the challah is not served with butter OR cheese. I usually use plain challah to mop up whatever yummy sauce accompanies my entree; this challah, with the apples in it, I would just eat as is! Hope that helps.

  60. Vickyb

    Oooooooh, I saw this on here this morning, and made it this evening – just taken it out of the oven and it looks wonderful! My first challah attempt – I added milk to my egg wash so the colour was perfect after 40mins, and it rose and rose – I imagine it is going to be deliciously light! I don’t think we’ll be able to wait until morning to try it – I think a little knot will be torn off and devoured this evening!

    I’m not Jewish, but am four days overdue with our first baby so spent the day ‘celebrating’ Rosh Hashanah by watching The Way We Were and baking this – and thinking of our own new beginning about to happen. Pray for abundance and sweetness for our baby!

  61. Gail

    Beautiful bread – and smells great baking. I’ve never made challah before, and Im running into a bit of an issue while baking. After 45min the bread still seems uncooked and dense in the middle….any suggestions for next time. I’m adding time, at 5 minute increments to see if it will bake through…so far, still a bit doughy and uncooked.

  62. Leigh

    I’m making this right now. I had some trouble with the apples weakening the dough but it looks like it’s turning out pretty well. Just put some foil on top because it was getting dark and some of the bits of apple sticking out are getting burned. I’m fond of burnt toast though, so I think this is right up my alley.

  63. Man oh man oh man…I’m not Jewish but every year the food makes me consider conversion. This certainly would do the trick. It also suddenly has me totally geared up for making Dead Bread for Day of the Dead in another month…but really I just have a thing for any kind of bread.

  64. Fanya

    aw shucks! Just my luck to see this recipe after finishing off 5lb of apple I brought on sale and swore not to eat apple again for like 3 month. Urgh, bookmarked. I really need to make challah cuz the supermarket ones taste so dry and so sad…

  65. stacey

    yum. My favorite recipe is from ‘Secrets of a Jewish Baker’ I always make the triple batch and make 2 huge braids. It’s just about the best bread I’ve ever tasted and makes the best french toast and sandwiches.
    I like to toast it and add a schmear of nutella.

  66. A friend emailed me earlier today to let me know she might be making apple and honey challah this weekend. I thought, “That sounds fantastic!” Now I know where she got the idea from. Thank you again for your delightful, seasonal recipes!

  67. Cheryl

    What a fabulous way to combine the apples, honey, and challah. I wish you suggested it one day earlier. I already made your challah and raisins recipe. Next time I will put honey in it to make it sweeter. Your honey cake recipe is excellent. The honey cake they served in shul today, paled in comparison. Thanks for your inspiration and fabulous recipes. Shana Tova to you and yours. May you be inscribed for another prosperous and love filled year.

  68. I was thinking of making challah bread this weekend. I may have to try this weaving method; it looks so much simpler than the 4-braid I have been trying and failing at! It would be a nice looking loaf for my friend, since I bartered bread for a bunch of her old canvases from last semester (a total score for me, since a handbuilt stretcher costs about $15 of lumber from Lowe’s).

  69. LL

    I just love this post, the tutorial is awesome and the bread sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing it…I’m making this tomorrow! Super excited :)

  70. wes

    I made challah last year from your recipe for someone, but could NOT get the six-strand braid to work, so instead just braided and left it at that. BUT, the other loaf’s worth of dough I made into cinnamon rolls which were soooo good. looking forward to trying this apple honey challah.

  71. Katie Anne

    I absolutely love apple cinnamon challah dipped in honey. Oh my. My kids favorite too. Also good in challah is Hershey’s cinnamon chips. My favorite challah recipe is a sweet one – Adrienne’s Challah from the book “The Modern Jewish Mom’s Guide to Shabbat” by Meredith Jacobs. It’s sweet with white and brown sugar. Also, I’ve tried adding apples into the dough in so many ways, but the way you have recommended in this recipe is definitely the easiest (and most even distribution too). So for those new to challah and poring over a million recipes – try it this way!

  72. Rina

    I just made your other challah recipe late Tuesday night so it would be ready in time for the start of the holiday Wednesday evening. It turned out great, but I was thinking how awesome it would be to have something sweeter that wasn’t just the run-of-the-mill raisin challah with extra sugar. And you posted the perfect amalgam of symbolic High Holiday staples! This… This is going to be perfection, I know it. I’m making it today.
    Confession: I practiced the weaving technique with Play-Doh just to be safe– I am irrationally proud of my miniature purple “challah”. (I’m a hands-on learner, so I was a bit daunted by your weaving instructions. I shouldn’t have been! So easy.)

  73. L’Shanah Tovah! I decided to make this recipe after services yesterday, since I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand.

    A couple of comments for anyone else attempting the recipe. I would suggest cutting the apples smaller than you think you will need them to be. Mine were about 1/2 inch chunks, but this made the dough very hard to handle come braiding time. In fact, the next time I try this recipe, I might just grate the apples. That way I can ring them out a bit as well if they are too juicy.

    My loaf was perfectly golden on top at about 30 minutes. As instructed, I covered it with foil. I kept baking the loaf until I reached the temperature specified in the recipe. However, the next time I make this I will probably choose to cook the loaf for longer at a lower temperature. The bottom of my loaf is a bit burned (but still edible).

    Deb, thank you for the wonderful excuse to make challah on my own for the first time.

  74. Anna

    As soon as I saw the bread post Thursday morning, I knew I had to make it. I was headed to an outdoor concert, lawn seating, with friends — and had a feeling this would be a hit. Tiny edit suggestion, which seems minor, but if anyone else is in my position, they’ll appreciate it. In the ‘mixing dough by hand’ section it says only ‘add flour.’ And so I did and then mixed, then kneaded it, then let it rise….then folded in apples. Only after it rose with apples, did I think….hey, wait what about salt?! It seems that the paragraph about mixing with a stand says ‘add flour and salt’ but for the paragraph about mixing by hand, the salt was omitted. I figured it out — threw in the salt, re-kneaded and crossed my fingers. It turned out GORGEOUS and DELICIOUS and was a total hit for the picnic, but perhaps add in the ‘salt’ word for others.

  75. Last night I made this using regular flour, braided like I was taught in Hebrew school as a kid (a longer, more oval shape). It came out *much* bigger than the challah in this picture! It was actually surprising how much it rose! As everyone is saying this recipe makes wonderfully beautiful and delicious challah! I used some slices this morning sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove for French toast and it is one of the more delicious things I’ve ever eaten! Will definitely be repeating this recipe! Thanks so much for another amazing recipe, Smitten Kitchen!

  76. This method for making round challah is inspired! I usually braid and then twist mine into a round…sometimes it stays, but more often it pops and we have a very odd shaped loaf. Thank you for sharing!

    L’shana tova to you and your family!

  77. Rebecca

    Wow, this is interesting. And SOOOO yummy looking! I’m going to be visiting you again!!!I’ll have to try this. :-D
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  78. Alden

    Sad to see that in 167 comments, nobody’s screwed it up as badly as I did. Not sure where I went wrong, and everything looked great until I started the braiding step, at which point my dough spilled open as I tried to shape it into strands, full of incredibly wet, sticky, appley dough juice. The more I tried to fix it, the more apples I lost and the more gooey the dough got. I would post a link to a picture but i’m much too ashamed. Hopefully it will taste good (on its last rise now), since even in the best light it would be charitable to call it “aggressively ugly.”

    My first thought would be maybe to pat the apple pieces dry before incorporating them? Smaller pieces might also be in order.

    Not sure why I’m even posting this. Maybe I just want a little sympathy.

  79. I’ve been looking for a good bread recipe, and this looks really good. I can’t wait to try it hope I don’t mess it up too bad. I’m not a good bread maker I usually leave it to my gf but I really can’t wait to try it. Also that I think that I might just leave mine in a little longer to get it to brown up real nice like yours.

  80. Kris

    @Deb, thanks for the tip. I will give it a try! love your blog btw, very easy to follow and understand!
    @Alden, what variety were you using? Apples will have different water thresholds. Try again and I am sure you will get it right. Even the rejects can taste good!

  81. Molly O

    Looks scrumptious! Deb, will you be speaking elsewhere in the near future? Not sure I can make it to the Apple store, but would love to say hello sometime. :)

  82. Cindy

    I tried this last night, and I loved it. Loved the process (even thought I got started as little late in the evening), and loved the results. Crispy outside with moist goodness on the inside. Absolutely added to my keep list. Thanks!

  83. Deborah

    I’m really bummed I’m going to make myself wait a whole year to make this…yes, I know I don’t have to, but it would have been PERFECT yesterday!

  84. Chels

    I’m in AZ and looking up flights to NY…It’s totally possible right?! *TEARS*

    Next time…Or better yet. Come to this side of the country on your book tour(there will be one right?!) and I’ll meet you there.

    Also, looks AMAZZZING

  85. Annie

    First, l’shanah tovah to the Smitten family. Second, this bread just jumped to the top of my baking list for next weekend when I will be visiting family and have bothore people to enjoy it and more more minders for my toddler. Third, I do find that instant yeast is slower to rise!

  86. Anna

    Making it right now!!! Looks and smells amazing! Love , love , love your blog!!! I wish we can add our pictures to the blog, so everyone can see different results :-)

  87. Rachel

    oh my gosh i was just catching up on my blog feeds after the rosh hashanah rush and CANNOT believe i missed your talk!!! ESPECIALLY since i was responsible for all the desserts (and of course, the b&b pickles) and my mother kept exclaiming, “where did you get that recipe?!” and “oh my gosh the babka is unreal!” in various forms and my only answer was smitten kitchen…

  88. Sarah

    This bread is filling my house up with sweet smells right now! I love how big it got, but I like others who hand mixed forgot to add the salt! I’m sure it’ll still be tasty, but just a note for those not using a mixer. Thanks for pulling this together!

  89. Elisa

    This Challah is beautiful looking. But I’m writing to you to because I just saw on Bakerella the new Williams Sonoma book “Home Baked Comfort” and was sooo excited to see that you are featured in there. Congrats!

  90. Mary Ann

    Now I am going to make this bread and keep these wonderful dough, bread,
    creations coming. I just made the apple cider donuts that I found last fall
    and we absolutely love them again this year.

  91. Sue

    Greetings from Germany! I love your recipes. And this I’ll try today. Sometimes I show my results with a german version of your recipe to my friends on google+. Of course every time with a link to your site!

  92. Long time reader, first time writer… Saw this the other day and set right to baking a loaf; it turned out great, and made excellent French toast the next day. So FYI your recipes are finding a ready audience in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand!

  93. Regina

    I made the challah last yesterday. It was incredible. It’s got the perfect amount of sweetness from the apples though I think it would be really great without them.

  94. Shazza

    Deb, that bread is just gorgeous! I actually didn’t even look for Jacob! (yet…) You got it perfect!

    L’shana tova to you and your dear family.

  95. Molly

    Thanks Deb. What you say about instant yeast needing to rise longer makes sense, I let my challahs rise for 90 minutes and then another 30 min and then in the fridge for about 2 hours and still while they tasted great, they didn’t have the proper bread consistency. I will definitely increase the rising time. What do you mean by Instant Yeast is usually used in 3/4 the volume of active dry. Does that mean I should be using less than the recipe calls for?

    You should know that my flatmate and I love your recipes and we have shared your website with every cook we know. You have quite a following in Cape Town now!

  96. Agnes

    This is fantastic, thanks for posting it. I roasted the apples (b/c I wanted it to be more apple-y–& I also tripled the amount of apples, to 6) before putting them in the challah and the apple flavor was awesome. But I was particularly impressed by just the quality of the challah itself, and the idea of making it round–it looks like what you call “kallacs” in Hungarian, a category that doesn’t exist in English, somewhere between bread and cake (sweet bread?). Note to Alden: I did not do the elaborate folding, braiding–as cool as it looks, I don’t think this would be possible with mushy roasted apples, so I just rolled the dough out to a big rectangle, dropped the apple pieces over it evenly, rolled it up into a tube and arranged the tube in a 9″ round cake pan. That might work for you in the future, since you had trouble with the apple pieces falling out. A pan with high sides would be nice for this, too, as mine rose well above the (2″?) edges of my 9″ pan.

  97. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Finally, a blog “I trust with eyes closed” (does this makes any sense in English?) with a challah recipe. I’ve tried several ones from books&blogs and I HAVE FAILED ALWAYS. I don’t have a Jewish mom or a Jewish grandma or a Jewish aunty so I couldn’t ask for help. I haven’t tried yours yet but I’m sure that’s going to work. Thanks again!

  98. How funny, I am eating french toast right now with leftover honey challah from Rosh Hashana. I like the “secrets of a Jewish Baker” recipe for challah- so chewy and delish.

    Thanks for sharing the braiding method – can’t wait to try it!

  99. Wow! Looks astonishing! I have a similar dough recipe but as I’m lefthanded/dough “knotting” challenged I’ll stick with my standard 3-string challah…

    Shana Tova from the Holy Land and Gmar Hatima Tova!

  100. Chava

    That’s my secret challah forming technique. It’s super simple, but always garners oohs and ahhs.

    One thing that I do to keep any good bits from falling out is divide the dough into four strands and press them flat. Then I tuck the apples (or whatever I’m adding) down the center and fold the dough over the addition. Now it’s ready for braiding. It’s much easier to work with.

  101. okiram

    just made the same mistake (as Anna and Sarah) about salt when mixing by hand! It’s rising now; I’ll put it in and gently re-knead it when I add the apples. oops – Deb, if you can make the edit, that’d be awesome!!

  102. Hi Deb! This looks super tasty – I will have to add it to my list. I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful evening at the Apple Store last night. It was so amazing to hear about your passion for the kitchen in person! Thanks for sharing your stories and your recipes – it really is such a treat to learn about food from you.

  103. Amy

    I made it last night and it was great. I brushed it twice with just the leftover egg white (because I’m cheap like that) and it turned out exactly like the picture.

  104. Gayle S

    I made this today with mostly white whole wheat flour – 3 cups – and 1 1/4 cups bread flour. I also put it in the fridge for the second rising because of other things to do. It still rose nicely and went together as per your directions when I was able to return to it. My baking time was just 35 minutes to reach 195 on the instant read thermometer (and it needed a foil tent by 25 minutes, when I turned the oven down to 350)

    I also added maybe half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the diced apples. Couldn’t wait for breakfast to try a slice. It is scrumptious!

  105. Rina

    For some reason, any time I make challah the braid kind of… pops open? Not comes undone, mind, but the bumpy parts get all golden and beautiful and spread apart so that there’s this stark contrast with the widened pale crevices in between. (Does that make sense?) It’s still very pretty, but doesn’t look as put-together as the photos I see.

    Also, not even kidding here… I had to cook this for an hour, with foil for half that time. And I used less apple than called for. I don’t have a thermometer, but it was so clearly not done when checked all the times up until the 1 hour mark.

    All things considered– I’m not sharing. And I’ll definitely make it again. Yum.

  106. I made this for a potluck, and I was worried because it came out so large, but it was gone in maybe 20 min! Also a guy told me that it was as good as his grandmother’s challah. I wanted to try the french toast, but I don’t know when there would be leftovers.

  107. Chris

    Made with local apples I picked. Yum. Honey I harvested. Yum, yum. Astounded that all those apples were mostly magically absorbed while bits and pieces of sweetness remained. Sprinkled the sugar atop and it was just right. The flavors were subtle and lovely throughout.

    Figured it was okay for a fallen Lutheran to make a gastro-moronic choice during the high holy days…so I served the bread with freshly harvested from friends dungeness and king crab in a chowder. A mostly locavore meal.

    So good.

  108. Lise

    Made this last evening, looks fab, just cut in and I think a cooked it a bit too long. It is tender but a bit too dry. My timerwas turned off (this I believe was me, not my husband) in error and I had not noted when I put it in……BUT it still tastes great! I used closer to 3/4 cups honey and let it rise for 24hrs, slowly, on the counter (we have a cool house) for the first rise, then proceeded as the recipe stated.

    Next time if I want it warm, I think I’ll start it early in the day, and finish it the following morning. Yummy still.

  109. I have never tried this type of loaf before, but I imagine that the apple and honey combination makes this awesome and truly unique. This one proves once again that there is whole world of flavors out there still to be tasted and experienced. Thanks!

  110. Kjirsten

    Made it, wove it, and ate it. Wowza! My family of three snarfed it down overnight, leaving only enough for three little slices of French toast today, which, I must say, was nearly divine. The apple chunks were all melty and yummy, we sprinkled just a hint of cinnamon on them, and the pure Michigan maple syrup was warmed gently with a big ole pat of butter. I’ll be going back for more and more and more…

  111. Kjirsten

    Oh, and after it came out of the oven, we sat around pulling off bits of the still-warm bread, dipping them in honey, and eating apple slices along side. What a wonderful way to welcome the new year! Shana tova!

  112. Nikki

    I made this and had to use a lot less flour than the recipe calls for – it was already quite stiff at 3 cups. About 1 cup of that was whole wheat, but that shouldn’t have made that big a difference, should it? I bake bread pretty often but I’m wondering what happened here.

  113. Rhonda

    This came out beautifully, well except it wasn’t as round, more flower-ish looking. Can’t wait for french toast. And it cut perfectly even while still warm.

  114. Alison

    Fantastic!! Made it. Completely delicious. 6 hours later the only reason there is some left is that I have it hidden from my children. Trying to save a little for their lunches tomorrow. So hard….

  115. Megan

    I think you should have mentioned how much fun it is to role out the braid strands–it’s hard to keep those apples in the dough. I did find it quite simple to poke the stray pieces into the braided glob! I can’t wait to eat this . . . only 10 more degrees to wait.

  116. Juliet

    A bit off-topic, but might you indulge us with a little name dropping of places you ate in New Orleans? Specifically where you had the brunch with fried green tomatoes & peach butter? I’m going for the first time at the end of this month and want to do it up right!

    ps. Love your writing & your recipes :)

  117. kathy in St Louis

    Comment #169 looks like spam. Beautiful braid shots, by the way! We just picked up apples during our yearly trip to the orchard, so I may give this a shot this weekend.

  118. I’m always amazed by how great your pictures look. I don’t even really like challah all that much but that is such a great-looking loaf of bread that I’m half-considering it! Thanks for the eye candy!

  119. MelissaBKB

    This came out great! I was a little worried at first because before the first rise the dough was a little firmer/heavier than I’m used to, but after each rise it became softer and fluffier. However, maintaining the “I don’t care” mental state while watching apple chunks fall out everywhere was soooo hard.

    The smell while this bakes is the most heavenly thing to come out of my oven. I also made some honeyed brown butter spread, and that took it over the top to perfection.

  120. Justin

    So I have read your blog for a while and tried a few of the recipes, most of the time they turn out very well. This is definitely one of my favorites though. I tired this one this weekend and it turned out GREAT. It looks fantastic! Definitely one that I will be making for the family over the holidays! Can’t wait to make the leftovers into french toast!

  121. Wow, this bread looks fantastic. I’ve only made “traditional” challah before, but this is definitely going on my list now that the weather has gone down. The photos are lovely, as always.

  122. You know, from a web design/affiliate geek point of view it would net you some extra cash if you picked your favorite instant read thermometer from Amazon and then linked, “instant read thermometer” at the end of the article to it with your Amazon seller account. I bought my pastry blender bladey thing from your Amazon link and I’d definitely buy whatever thermometer you thought was best. I’ve been looking for a good one.

    1. deb

      Hi Isobel — I know, but the focus of this site is not to merchandise. Nevertheless, I always tell anyone who asks what what I’m using. I was using an inexpensive one – like this, but a no-longer-made make — for years, happily but I bought a Thermapen (it was $83 at the time) last year because I’m doing a lot of recipe development right now and decided it was a good investment. I don’t think anyone needs it for basic home-cooking, but it’s really amazing how quickly and accurately it works, and it’s been a huge relief to me to know without a shadow of a doubt when things are done.

      Marci M. — Actually, the same thing happened to mine. It’s mostly guesswork, figuring out when the bread has doubled again. When I made it again the next day, I only left it out for one hour, not bringing it fully back to RT before baking it and the challah stayed taller.

      Juliet — I mention a couple places in this comment. We also had great meals at Upperline and Bayona and very bad one at August.

  123. Tamara

    Shana tova to you! Thank you for detailing the round braiding technique – I made two batches of challah for rosh hashanah this year (I used TEN POUNDS of flour in total), but only did round coils. I will have to braid it like this next time! It’s so pretty!

  124. It sucks that I made it into NYC on Oct 1st, one day AFTER your Apple store debut. Damn.

    I had challah for the very first time on Wednesday in New Paltz, where I was visiting a friend — and crashing in her daughter’s room – so I could attend a CIA boot camp for two days. I was really blown away by the taste of that bread, slathered with good butter. I can only imagine how your version must taste. Heaven, I’d imagine.

  125. Jennifer

    You were so amazing at the Apple store on Friday. I’m so proud! And look, I used my real name. Ha!!


    PS: I call this stuff Challah-Back Bread ha!

  126. Leslie

    This was my first challah – it was perfect, and I will always remember it (with a little help from the 10 or so pictures I took of it.) It was beautiful and delicious, and my Jewish mother said “Now you’ve outdone me…how did you do that???) Like I said…Perfect! :)

  127. Alf

    Apparently I’m a good enough Jew to bake challah, but a bad enough Jew to do it on the Tuesday after Rosh Hashana. Oh well.

    I think I was a little too careful not to incorporate too much flour during the kneading, because the dough was a little on the soft side and the braid kind of melted together more than I would have liked. It came out delicious, though!

  128. Shannon

    so bummed…not sure what I did wrong because I’ve baked bread alot before but couldn’t get this to rise, even after the proofing worked fine. Was my first time using the mixer to knead but the bread still bounced back before I put it in the bowl so I think it got enough manipulation….maybe it was the mixing in of the flour and salt all at once, which “shocked” the yeast? Next time I’ll stick to my hand mixing method and see if that works.

    oh well, sometimes it’s just one of those days. Thanks for the inspiration!

  129. Melanie

    Just made two loaves(one with white flour and one with whole wheat pastry flour). As the whole wheat loaf is still in the oven, I can only comment on the white flour loaf. You were way was I waiting until it was cooled off! Yummy!! So easy to make and delicious. I am definitely making french toast with this tomorrow. Thank you!!

  130. Christine

    This isn’t really related to this recipe (besides the obvious, I guess) but you said comments were a better way to contact you. Can you pleeeease share your rugelach recipe? All I could find was this:

    In which you PROMISED a rugelach recipe within a week and that was (ahem) FOUR YEARS AGO!! While the bird story was traumatizing enough to justify some PTSD for the next, say, three years, by now I hope you’re recovered enough to think about rugelach again :)

    I know this is too much to ask but I was hoping to make rugelach for my (Jewish) boyfriend’s family this weekend to break fast. His brother will be bringing Russ & Daughters raspberry so I thought chocolate could be a good addition.

    Anyway, I know it’s a long shot. I love you and your website and will be one of the first cookbook buyers!!

  131. Christine

    I don’t really know why I specified that his family is Jewish, except to add that I am not, and so all of these foods are brand new to me and the bar is very high!

  132. JudyL

    I made this last week and it turned out beautifully. The only thing is be very careful about the egg wash. I love the golden brown richness of the wash but it will burn more quickly. I think next time I would cook it at 25 degrees less for the last 10 minutes. The flavor was just wonderful, though!

  133. Naomi

    The challah just came out of the oven and although it smells wonderful, it spread out on the pan. Also, I used organic bread flour and the dough was very sticky and a little challenging. Any hints for this novice?

  134. g.

    hi deb – i am addicted to challah and your version is one of the best i’ve ever tried. thanks so much. addiction never tasted so good. :) xo.

  135. Jessica

    I’m planning to make this bread. Do you have any suggestions for a substitute of parchment? I was thinking some oil, but not sure if you had a better idea! Your site it great!

  136. Beata

    oh my, I made this as soon as I saw it! sooo tasty and the apples keep it moist. I’m about to make a second batch. Thank you for the recipe.

  137. SG

    I had a very difficult time with this dough. I did mix it my bread machine and the inital dough seemed perfect in texture. Once I tried to braid it, it became a sticky, gooey mess. The apples added a ton of moisture to the dough and I added a ton of flour just to be able to barely make a coil. I mix challah pretty often in my bread machine, so I’m not sure where I went wrong. I used Courtland apples and I wonder if they were too moist or I added too much lemon juice. The dough is rising so I hope it at least tastes good!

  138. Deb, I followed this recipe to make my FIRST EVER challah, and it turned out beautifully! And I even omitted the salt when I hand kneaded, but it still turned out great. Pictures of me kneading and my finished challah are on my blog, I never seemed to get the inside of the bread up to the 195 degree mark, even after baking an additional 15 minutes, but it still turned out great. Very moist and soft on the inside. I’m making an additional loaf to bring my parents tonight for dinner before Kol Nidre. L’Shana Tova!

  139. Marie M.C.

    Help! I plan on baking a chocolate cake (Ina Garten’s double chocolate cake recipe) today. I’m always confused about flour measurments. I normally sift then measure into a cup. But I recently bought a scale hoping for more accurate results. I googled and some say 1 cup = 3.5 oz of AP flour and others have up to 4 oz for one cup. I checked your conversion chart, no luck. Now for your beautiful challah you say 4 1/4 cups equals 530 grams. I divided 530 by 4.25 and got, oh dear I forget to write it down. But it’s more than a 4 oz cup more like 4.37 oz. What to do, what to do? Buy a cake mix?

  140. Sam at 3,000 ft

    Oh dear. I think I’ve failed again. I tried your regular challah last winter and ended up with super dense kinda dry bread (some how we managed to suffer through it though ;) As my second try sits for it’s first rise, it promises to be more of the same. It is not elastic, nor sticky but it is smooth. I am at about 3,000 feet and found this link: to help me muddle through. So I decreased my yeast to 1 3/4 tsp. and used about a 1/4 cup honey. I also added about a 1/4 cup water when the dough was not coming together after adding the flour. I think it needs more moisture, but I’m not sure how to add it. Via another egg? Or more oil, water? Help! I can’t take another lackluster challah!

  141. Marie M.C.

    p.s. I’m quite sure my arithmetic is seriously flawed. I did pass third grade math but you wouldn’t know it. Another puzzle. Cocoa: Dutch processed or not Dutch processed. I read your post re Red Velvet cake. Still puzzled. Ina’s recipe calls for cocoa powder and baking soda and baking powder. Doesn’t say Dutch process. I just checked and the only cocoa I have is Guittard Dutch process. My Black and Green and Peets cocoa each have a small spoon left. I didn’t check and it’s too late to go out and buy more. I am in the running for the Queen of Procrastination. I may win. Eek. I should have made this last week! This recipe has buttermilk in it and I’ve no idea whether to leave the baking soda out? *Sigh.* I’ll let you know what I do and how it turns out.

  142. What a beautiful treat! I just moved from NYC to LA, and although I am not Jewish was sad to see so little attention paid to Rosh Hashanah! It was weird… I am going to have to adjust. This post makes me happy.

  143. I can’t wait to try this one today! I love challah bread but haven’t tried making it since I moved to 100% whole wheat, no sugar. Your honey subsitute is perfect for the no sugar, but I’ll let you know how it turns out with the whole wheat flour. Have you ever tried it with whole wheat? Any suggestions?

    1. deb

      Hi Sara — I usually start with a 1/3 whole wheat flour, 2/3 white flour on bread recipes. If you find it can handle more (isn’t too dry or harsh), you can always go up to 50/50 in the next round. It may need a longer rising time.

      SG — I am not that familiar with bread machines because I don’t have one, but part of the problem might be that it didn’t pick up the extra flour it would have each time it was pressed out on the counter between risings. That said, the apples do add moisture so it’s important to work the dough as little as possible and keep your counter well-floured once they’re in. Hope it was at least tasty!

      Hi Kathy — It’s almost done. It will hopefully be done in the next week to two, or you know, my publishers may kill me. :) The book will be out in the fall of 2012. I know I’ve been very absent from here and miss the site terribly. I posted a little update on the FB page the other day explaining that I’m submerged in bookland for just a bit longer.

      Hi Marie — Dutched cocoa is a process used to treat the cocoa whereby it reduces the cocoas natural acidity. Many people find this kind of cocoa more enjoyable — it’s a little nuttier with a deeper chocolate flavor and richer color. Because it is less alkaline than other cocoas (i.e. everyday cocoa, like Hershey’s, sometimes a.k.a. “natural” cocoa) if you use regular cocoa where Dutch cocoa was suggested by the recipe, your cake may not rise as much/the leaveners might be off because some require acidity to activate. Yes, that’s a complicated answer. If you can find Dutch cocoa (Droste is usually easy for me to find here), look for almost any European in origin brand; that’s the standard process over there, from what I understand. Hope that helps.

      As for the weight of cups, one of the reasons that cups (not weights) are so inaccurate is that everyone gets a different weight from a single cup. Cups may vary in size (many are quite off, especially the cute/gimmicky/gifty kinds but even ones from so-called good cooking brands) and depending on how you put the flour in it (scooping with the cup, spooning flour into the cup, fluffing the flour in the canister before you measure) you could end up with a weight anywhere from 4 to 7 ounces per cup! I use a weight of 4.4 ounces or 125 grams for a cup of all-purpose flour in my recipes. If you see a weight in a recipe, even if it’s different than the weight you would get, you should use the listed weight because that’s what the recipe’s creator used and you want their results. So, if Cook’s Illustrated tells me it thinks a cup of flour should weight 5 ounces (I don’t think they do, but for example) I would use 5 ounces or I won’t get the correct results.

  144. Alison

    Seriously? This site was my first stop after deciding – seconds ago – that I wanted to find a baked treat to make for my friend who is watching my kids on Monday. I didn’t want to call her on Yom Kippur to ask what she’d like so I decided to check out my favorite cooking web site for ideas. And the very first recipe is apple honey challah. Could it be any more perfect? Search ended, 90 seconds after beginning. I can’t wait to make this tomorrow.

    Deb, ever since I found your awesome chili recipe on Superbowl Sunday 2010 I have been loving your site and my family has been eating so well. Your recipes are such a gift for a working mom – my family and l love your cooking style so much. Thank you so, so much.

  145. Janet

    I just made this substitution farmer’s market apple butter for the honey because I didn’t have any and it turned out delicious!! The most beautiful bread I’ve ever made.

  146. Here is my version of the bread. I used melted butter instead of the oil and one GIANT Honey Crisp apple. I had to do a lot of extra poking back in of pieces of apple that would not stay in the braids. It is deeee-lisssh.

  147. Marie M.C.

    Deb — you a darling to take the time for such a long answer. I use Peets or Black & Green’s (or is it Green & Black’s?) which I just found out from their website is Dutch processed. Why don’t they say so on their package? Grrrrr. What I find confusing is, well, recipes rarely say which cocoa is called for in that particular recipe. I.e., Ina’s Double Chocolate layer cake calls for cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and buttermilk. I’m guessing she does NOT use a Dutched cocoa. But that’s my beef. I wish I didn’t have to guess. And if I do use the Guittard Dutch processed cocoa should I leave out the baking soda? When it comes to cup weights, oy vey, another guessing game. You, being all wise and wonderful actually give exact gram weights. Only wish this habit would spread and I wouldn’t have to guess if it’s a 3.5 oz cup or a 4.4 oz cup of flour. Let’s start a petition.

  148. Janet

    @Kocchan- Ive never made apple butter before, but I really like the one from the farmer’s market compared to store-bought because the flavor seems more intense. On the label it says “apples, apple cider, and cinnamon oil” as the only ingredients. It’s a very dark brown color. I’m sure your homemade version will turn out delicious! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  149. Lya

    Hi Deb, first-time commenter and challah-maker here. I am on the first rise of this bread and the dough seems a bit drier than other breads I’ve made, is that normal with challah? Also, I’m starting a second loaf in a few minutes and will add more honey to see the difference. Maybe I ought to add a bit less flour too? Thanks for your great recipes. Baking on a Sunday, so fun! :)

  150. Lya

    Update: The first challah that seemed a bit dry in the mix turned out just fine. The second one, which is in the oven atm, has a bit less flour and felt better as I kneaded and rolled the logs. Hubby and I just had our first slices and it tastes yummy! The second one is going over to the neighbors’. :)

  151. Michele

    Hi! When I saw this recipe last Wednesday, I decided that I had to make it for an erev-Yom Kippur dinner that I hosted on Friday night. I just wanted to share my experience and get some feedback in case I goofed. Firstly, I live in Denver (originally from Montreal) so altitude could have been an issue. I followed the directions and added the 4 1/4 cup of flour into my KitchenAid (that’s how I usually make Challah). I think that was too much and next time I might start with 3 cups and slowly add more. My dough wasn’t sticky and didn’t bounce back like when I usually make it. Then, when it came time to rise, it felt kind of tough. Help!? I proceeded with the next two risings and they did in fact rise. I also had a very hard time handling the dough with the apple pieces in it. I almost gave up poking in the apple pieces and just ate them!! My end product looked a bit messy (yours looks gorgeous!) but overall it tasted good despite being a bit dry. I did follow your foil trick but I think I need to lower the temperature and/or bake it for less time. I usually bake Challah at 350 for about 30-35 minutes. My family and friends enjoyed eating it and leftovers have been great but it wasn’t a winner. Of course that bummed me out! Would love your thoughts…

  152. Hey, you may already know this, but I receive a magazine called “Arkansas Life”, which among other things, features a few recipes each month. This month they have “Apple Cider Doughnuts” and have “Smitten Kitchen” credited at the end of the recipe. Yea you :)

  153. chantelli

    I know this is a little off topic from Challah, but I was wondering if you had seen this amazing garlic revelation. I remember your 40 garlic chicken and this reminded me of you. HOW TO PEEL A HEAD OF GARLIC IN 10 SECONDS: http://www

    Hope you enjoy!

  154. This looks so delicious and was such a pleasure to read. It reminds me a lot of a Latvian bread my grandma used to make called Klingers ~ which was also braided fancifully and though no apples, had raisins and nuts in it to give it the extra challenge of braiding. :)

  155. lazy_lurker

    This looks great, Deb, and I think you must be super busy with cookbook duties. We are all missing you! (well, maybe not my bathroom scale).

  156. Hi! I made this with whole wheat and it was lovely. My boyfriend and sister loved it too. First challah I’d ever made myself, and I’d do it again. Thanks for sharing. Btw compliments on the rest of your blog as well- have been a fan for a while.

  157. Pamela

    I hope all is well and your holidays were good and apparently busy. I’ve been checking your blog each day for the past couple of weeks and keep seeing this beautiful challah loaf. I miss your brilliant postings (and musings). Hurry back please.

  158. MN Maya

    Been thinking about you, and checking in regularly… still the beautiful challah. Must be crunch time. Good luck wrapping up the book!

  159. marybeth

    This is completely off topic . . . . .but can you make those MOVING staples ads go away . . . . .they are awful! For me – those moving ads frequently become deal breakers. If your blog was not so fabulous – – – honestly – I would move on.

  160. Deb, thank you SO much for your response! I ended up doing 100% using whole wheat white flour and it turned out great. Your directions were perfect and yes, a little bit longer in the rising time gave it enough time to double in size. I also added 2tbsp of vital wheat gluten. Thanks for the awesome recipe!!

  161. I just made a loaf of this today- it was delicious and easy. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    My bread turned out thick/cake-y- is that how it’s supposed to be or is there a way that I can make it lighter and fluffier?

  162. Courtney

    I love your site so so much Deb and I can’t wait to buy your cookbook! Congrats on almost being done! So me and my girlfriend tried this over the weekend and got started a little late (so i was smelling the delicious aromas while sitting in front of my oven at 1:30am). I think we cut the apples a little to big because the ropes were hard to roll out. Mine was also a tad cakey. We made french toast the next morning and it was FABULOUS! I still have to say it didn’t knock my socks off though just alone as i was thinking it would. It didn’t have a huge pop of flavor (I also used an Orange Blossom Honey which might have altered the flavor a little) Your regular Challah is still my favorite!

  163. marilyn

    I made this over the week end and it was totally divine! It didn’t look quite as pretty, but the taste! And the smell! And the french toast the next night for dinner! I did share it – reluctantly – but swear I could have eaten the entire loaf myself.

  164. Sabrina

    I made this one and the tradtional challah. My gm at the hotel I worked at was very impressed and took half of each loaf home. I didn’t realize what a big loaf the traditional challah would make! lol! Everyone enjoyed eating it with the apple butter I made last week.

  165. deb

    Dryness — I’m bummed to hear a couple of you found this dry. Generally, for this volume of challah I use between 4 and 4 1/4 cups of flour. I kept it on the 4 1/4 side to compensate for the juices that would come with the apples. If you found it dry the first time, definitely start at 4 cups next time and only add the last 1/4 cup if needed. Of course, like all doughs, it’s a play between wet and dry ingredients and if your large eggs were actually on the small side (this happens to me ALL of the time, where I get all sorts of sizes in a supposedly “large” dozen) could have meant that less flour was needed. I also tend to pack my cups of flour very lightly (125 grams) with a spoon and sweep method, and if one, say, scooped (packing the flour tighter) and swept, over 4+ cups, this could have contributed to a tougher loaf. That said, I’ve always found this recipe to be very forgiving, and would not have anticipated that a small margin difference in egg size or flour weight would have messed it up, but you never know…

    I hope this helps and that even the imperfect challah was well received.

  166. Hi! I’m in the middle of trying this recipe! it looks delicious! I do have a general question about breadmaking, as I’m fairly new at it. I added the 4 1/2 cups flour according to your recipe, and let the dough hook do its work, and the dough turned out nice and elastic, but very sticky. As in, my hands got stuck in it when i touched it sticky. And huge bunches of it stuck to my hands. And then it stuck to the oiled bowl it was rising in. I’ve had this problem with other recipes before. Am I just expecting dough to be drier than it is? Is it supposed to be frustratingly sticky to work with? Thanks for any advice you can give!

    1. deb

      Fraser — You’re expecting the dough to be dryer than it is. You usually just want to touch dough with floured hands, unless you’re just poking it to see if it’s sticky, etc.

  167. Amanda

    I just made my very first Challah bread, and it is amazing!!! The honey keeps it so moist, and the apples add such a great fall twist!! My husband and I came in from yard work to a nice warm piece :) Thank you for the recipe. I am new to this blog, and I have already planned my whole week of meals off of recipes I have found on here!

    Thank you!!!!

  168. sara-grey

    I just made this today – a little late for the new year but whatever. The recipe worked out perfectly and the challah is delicious. This was my first time making bread and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

  169. lilmisspoutiner

    Dear Deb,

    Because of you I’ve been on a challah kick for 2 weeks now. I started with this recipe which came out beautifully. Your instructions are super spot on which gave me the confidence to go back to ‘best challah.’ That one also came out great the second time when I used 1 2/3 cups of water instead of just 2/3rds of a cup of water. I found that your adapted Joan Nathan recipe yielded a whiter challah. Can I add a yolk or two to the recipe? Do I have to reduce the amount of water if I add a yolk?

    1. deb

      You can definitely add another yolk or two. (I was aiming for best flavor from minimum extra yolks.) Yolks are only about 1 tablespoon each, so you might just start by adding two additional yolks and holding back 1/4 cup water unless necessary to make a soft dough.

  170. I love this idea, though the execution seems a little intimidating. I’ll leave it for a weekend! I bake an Apple Cake every year for break-the-fast and maybe next year I’ll remember to post that recipe for the holiday.

  171. Jessica

    My mom and sister came in this past weekend and I always try to bake for out of town guests. Made this strictly for the purpose of french toast. Went apple picking on monday, so this was perfect. Topped the french toast with some sauteed apples and high-bush cranberry syrup. It was amazing!! Thanks so much!

  172. Lorri

    I have to admit this made me a little homesick for NJ/NY. At first I thought I had added too many apples but the final product is perfectly studded and delicious. I’m planning on making another loaf for a dinner party tomorrow.

  173. marilyn

    Hi Deb – I have a question about refridgerator-rising of dough. Would it be OK to allow the dough to sit in the refridgerator overnight – essentially for 24 hours? Or is that too long? And at which point would you recommend letting it sit that long (if you think it would be ok at all)? Thanks for any advice you might have!

  174. Tone

    Hi Deb,
    This doesn’t relate to the current post but I’m hoping you can help. I’m getting married next year in Jamaica and plan on doing my own baking. I’m testing recipes for cakes/cupcakes. The problem is – I typically bake with butter. Unfortunately, its super expensive in Jamaica. I’m looking for plain white cake recipe (so I can easily adjust the flavors) that uses Oil instead of butter. One with buttermilk is fine, since I can substitute that pretty simply. Your double chocolate cake is on my list (it never fails!).
    Do you have any other recipes/resources that you can suggest?


  175. michlhw

    i did it! i made my first challah, which is my second attempt at bread ever! it looks gorgeous, and tasted pretty sublime. really easy to make with your thoughtfully included pictures on how to weave. thanks so much!

  176. Trixie

    Super excited that my challah is looking pretty darn good now. My husband and I just celebrated our first anniversary last week and I’m hoping this tastes as good as it looks to impress my Jewish mother-in-law! Thanks Deb, as always you never cease to amaze me.

  177. Terry

    This is in the oven right now, hopefully it turns out ok.
    I think my apples were waay too juicy. I had the same issue as Alden (comment 170).
    I used instant yeast and I think I’m just going to buy regular because things just don’t seem to rise well at all with it.

  178. amy

    FANTASTIC! I made this tonight and having never made Challah before I was nervous whether or not I had in fact baked it long enough. All I can say is WOW, it was fantastic and I succeeded in baking it correctly. I used the teaspoon of cinnamon and it was like having dessert yet it was the first thing everyone dug into at the dinner table. yum, yum, yum.

  179. Stella

    Made this last night – I’ve never made Challah before, or any bread for that matter! The recipe was very easy to follow, thank you!

    Also, I used wholemeal flour and it still worked out well :)

  180. I love your original challah recipe and came online today to pull it up at my husbands request, but when I saw this apple honey challah I couldn’t resist. Thanks so much!

  181. LA

    I just made this recipe and it took a long time, but it was so worth it! It was my first attempt at bread and I think I might try it again one day, but one day when I’m relaxing for most of the day because it was definitely a hurry up and wait kind of thing. I’m totally making this again for Rosh Hashanah next year… Thanks for the recipe!

  182. Mspickle

    I made this for the first time this week and gave it to a friend as a Hannukah gift. It was fantastic! And so pretty! Your instructions for braiding the dough were easy to follow, too. I’m making another today to have with Christmas breakfast.

  183. Erectronics

    I’ve been mixing the bread flour w/ rye, barley, and graham.. comes out absolutely gorgeous & delicious! It has become my foolproof goto bread. Love your blog, keep the yummines coming!

  184. pmal

    great goodness, a sudden smoothness, takes over my brain,
    a preheating oven helps block out the rain,
    for this bread I’ve made is about to be baked
    and I can’t help but smile and let Deb be thanked. thanks Deb. ballin’ out in mke!

  185. rebecca

    holy god…this bread is amazing! i’m a new reader and a HUGE fan! i can’t wait for your cookbook. all i can say is, your blog inspires my life, and makes it more beautiful and pleasurable. your inspiring recipes bring peace to my days… so thanks for what you do ;)

  186. I’m late to the game but I just tried this today. I used gala apples since we had just gone picking but the bread turned out wonderful! The only other thing I did was cut the apples a little bigger (1″ chunks) and they didn’t melt into sauce but rather stayed fairly together (all be it soft) and made the bread much sweeter.

    Thanks for a great recipe that we’ll recreate next week for the holidays! La’Shana Tovah!

  187. laur

    hey deb! so quick question- i am making the challah and it’s been “rising” for over an hour but it has barely grown any larger than when i finished kneading it. is that ok? should i just wait it out or move on to the next step? thanks!! (also, i didn’t forget the yeast, used the full packet!) :)

  188. Sharon

    Quick question — I braided the dough — so pretty. I brushed the first egg wash on but do I covre it again to rise during the hour? Thanks. Your recipes are inspiring. L’Shana Tov to you and your family and readers.

  189. Eliina

    How long does this bread stay fresh? I want to make it tonight to take to my husband’s family’s Rosh Hashanah dinner Monday night. Should I get up early Monday morning instead?

  190. Thanks so much — I’ve always wondered how to make a beautiful round challah for Rosh Hashonah, and I was just deciding to add apples to my challah dough when I looked up your post!

  191. Jennifer

    I made two of these for our Rosh Hashanah dinner last night (the first I’ve hosted – both as a new Jew and a married lady!), and I can’t thank you enough – it was absolutely delicious! One question, though – like Alf said above, my braids seemed to “melt” together and ended up being not very well defined. Any idea why this might be? My apologies if I missed the reply. Shana tova!

  192. Dena

    I just made this for Rosh Hashana and my family has never had such heavenly challah! I used my own challah recipe, but followed your guidelines for filling and weaving. The moisture from the apples permeated the dough and the taste was so unbelievably rich – and the finished piece, magnificent! I added some plump raisins and sprinkled the top with brown sugar. Thank you and l’Shana tova!

  193. Donna

    Made this twice now — it was delicious!!
    One problem — the bottom has burned both times. I do not have a bread stone — I just baked it on a sheet pan with parchment paper – in the center of the oven. Any ideas? Thank you!

  194. Made this today, and used Bramley cooking apples which are quite sharp, and they kept their shape, turned out a treat, doesn’t look as pretty as yours, BUT I think toasted with some pate it would be LUSH!
    I love your recipes, they always work, and I can’t wait for the cookbook, thanks so much, this blog is a ‘cup of tea’ treat for me :)

  195. Irene

    This sounds amazing, and I’m looking forward to trying this out. Three questions:

    1) If I want to prep this the night before and bake fresh the next morning, will I complete all the steps (minus the final egg wash) and keep it in the fridge until I’m ready to bake? And I assume I’ll need to warm it up to room temperature before putting it in the oven?

    2) If I do make it the night before, how would you recommend keeping it fresh?

    3) Would you recommend putting this on a pizza stone? Or should that be reserved for crusty bread (and well, pizza)?


  196. deb

    1. Bring it out to room temperature until it warms up or finishes doubling, whatever happens first. Then continue to the next step.

    2. I’d keep it in a mostly airtight bag.

    3. You can. It can protect it from scorching underneath before it’s done baking in the middle. But you don’t need to to bake it.

  197. Tamar

    Hi Deb,
    With Rosh Hashanah less than a month away (!), question for you: I had this idea the other night to do a Concord grape challah, but do you think it would be impossible without the grapes turning into a crushed purple mess during the braiding process? Any ideas? I would love to make this happen!

    1. deb

      Hi Tamar — That sounds beautiful and I don’t think it would necessarily happen. But it may get runny/leave black puddles as it bakes. I’d love to hear what you come up with; I think I want to try the same next month now too! (Should I?) Btw, I did a concord grape foccacia a few years ago and would definitely use the same flavor profile here.

  198. Tamar

    Yay Deb, please try it too! It’s a couple more weeks before they’re in season here (Chicago) so in the meantime I will be plotting…my husband thought maybe dehydrating the grapes a little at a low temp in the oven before kneading them in to the dough to prevent the runniness? I can’t wait till they show up at the market so I can give it a try. I’ll let you know my results!

  199. Shannon

    Can you freeze this recipe? Just tried your regular challah recipe and LOVED it, so I was wondering if freezing this works just as well.

  200. Kasirious

    Hi! I just made this last night and its my first challah! Quick question: after it has cooled to room temp, how long can it stay out before the fruit or bread goes bad? Or should this be kept on the fridge? Because of travel (and the actual start of Rosh Hashanah) the bread won’t be eaten for at least three days and I’m not a baker so I don’t know how baked goods with fruit keeps from spoiling. Thanks!

  201. Abby

    Quick question: if one of the proofs must be done overnight in the fridge, at which step specifically should I stop and refrigerate for the best result? I.E., should I proof once, add the apples, and then let it sit overnight — or is it best to wait to add the fruit until the day of baking?

    L’shana Tova, and thank you for the beautiful recipes! We will have three of your recipes on the table this new year, so we’ll be well fed!

    Many thanks,

  202. bratschegirl

    If you try this, dry the lemon juice off the apple chunks thoroughly before incorporating them into the dough, otherwise you will wind up with a gloppy and uncooperative mess. Alas, I speak from today’s experience. Hoping it will taste good anyhow.

  203. Iswari

    I’m not sure if my apples were too large or what, but I could not roll and stretch the portions into ropes that were 12 inches, and when I tried to twist them, so many apples poked holes through the dough. It was really difficult to patch up, and it wasn’t particularly braided-looking, but once sliced, no one could tell, and everyone loved it! My family voted to make it an annual Rosh HaShana tradition! Good tips to cover with foil, and to check the internal temperature, because it definitely looked done before it was cooked through (I actually lowered the temperature to 350 degrees, because I was concerned that the crust would burn).

  204. Myriam

    Hi Deb! Shana Tova! Just wanted to let you know that you have catapulted my rep as a baker with this recipe!! All I got were Oooohhhs and Aaaahhss!!! I also wanted to let you know that because we have the custom for Shabbat and holidays to eat a lot of mezzes before the meal, I chose to make the hallah with out the apples, but added a tsp of date syrup, silan, to it. Yum! And it gave it a slightly darker crumb. All in the spirit of sweet things for the new year!!
    Wishing you an even more fantastic new year with infinite achievements!

  205. Rachel

    So I’ve made this recipe 2 years in a row now, and while it tastes great every time, I have a ton of trouble with the braiding because, after the 2nd rise (with the apples folded in), the dough gets super wet/sticky and difficult to manage! I add flour until I can at least somewhat shape it, but it never seems like enough flour and I’m nervous about drying it out. Tips? I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong :(

    1. deb

      Hi Rachel — Don’t panic over the stickiness. I try to use only enough flour on my hands that they don’t stick to the dough, and touch it with as few movements as possible.

  206. Sarah

    Hi, I just want to thank you for what you do. I made your apple and honey challah (with 1/2 whole wheat flour) for Rosh Hashanah this year, and a friend whom we’d assigned to bring dessert happened to show up with your apple cake. As I was cleaning up after a chaotic and wonderful celebration (7 adults, 7 kids, and only 4 functional dinner chairs – yay!), I realized that my kitchen contained SK challah, SK cake, and also a batch of SK whole wheat apple muffins that I’d made for my kids earlier in the week. I’ve used your recipes for years, and never posted anything, so it’s about time I show some gratitude. I wonder if you’ll ever write a Jewish cookbook?

  207. Stefanie

    Thanks! This came out so good for my Rosh Hashanah dinner! Like you have advised elsewhere, I did the first rise in the fridge for a day to get a head start on my meal, and it worked great.

  208. SO

    Deb, I adore your recipes. I’m just past my due date and trying to plan ahead. Does this freeze well, say, before the egg wash stages? How do you recommend thawing it (fridge or out, for how long) before the last parts? Thank you so much! Happy holidays.

  209. AKC

    I just made this and it was amazing. Light and fluffy with that signature challah flavor, and the apples add a fantastic tart sweetness. The dough was a bit hard to work with as it was fairly sticky, but the loaf came out fine! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  210. PKK

    I love this recipe, but this year am ovenless thanks to gas leak. Any advice on adjustments, if I’d I want to try baking this in a convection oven?

  211. Ariella

    So I made this yesterday for the third Rosh Hashana in a year and it was amazing!! One little tweak – as per my grandmother’s suggestion, I added raisins to the apples, and a little bit of brown sugar! It was amazing and grew bigger than any challah I have ever seen! Thank you again for all your incredible recipes!

  212. Bracha

    I just made this challah for Rosh Hashanah. i make challah all the time and was excited to try something new. my yeast foamed up, but for some reason my dough did not rise at all, and it was kept in a warm place. because the dough was still so small it was hard for me to get the apples to stay in and to roll the logs to braid it. but once i put it in the oven it puffed up beautifully. it was huge and light and fluffy and delicious! thank you so much!

  213. Edie

    I just made this recipe for Rosh Hashana and it was awesome! I wanted something different and this was just the thing! Thank you for a great recipe and amazing inspiration. Who would have thought of putting apples in challah? The taste was so wonderful. And it was great even though I made it sunday and we used it on Wednesday night. It freezes beautifully! thank you so much!!

  214. Kelly

    Hey Deb – excited to try this challah as im a huge fan. But wanted to cut in some whole wheat. Do you think it would work? I have APF, whole wheat and bread flour but not sure what combo might work best, if at all. Flour advice?

  215. Sophie

    Hi Deb,
    I made this for ‘break the fast’ today and though it turned out fantastic, I had trouble stretching and rolling the dough to get the strands anywhere near 12 inches. They kept shrinking on me! Also, the dough didn’t seem to want to double in size. The end result was great, but I’m wondering about the rising and shaping of the braids. I followed the recipe to a T. Any ideas?

  216. Sophie

    Oooh…. and Gemar Chatima Tova to you and yours. Here’s to a wonderful year full of sweet and savoury yummies and lots of health and happiness.

  217. Val

    This is the fourth Rosh Hashanah since you posted this recipe. I’m now baking about my 60th loaf with 14 in the freezer for this year’s requests. Try this for an amazing topping: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tbls. oil. Sprinkle lots on after the egg wash. Takes it to a whole new level!!! Thanks and congrats on your little girl.

  218. Val

    P.S. An easier way to add apples and raisins (believe me I’ve tried them all), cut dough in 4, smush each piece into approx. 6″ x 4″ shapes, put finely chopped apples and raisins across the centre then lift each side of dough to seal. When you pick it up, really simple to stretch into the rope!

  219. Val

    OK, just one more thing!!!! – instead of apples and raisins, same everything except spread a thick line of Nutella on dough before roping. Kids’ favourite!

  220. Lenka

    Just pulled it out of the oven and half is already gone!! Both the flavour and the texture are so good. Not too sweet, not too bland. I found that I had to add about half a cup of flour to soak up the moisture from the apples, but nevertheless, it turned out delicious. It is completely misshapen (more like a loaf of regular bread) but that has probably more to do with my braiding technique than anything else. Also, it’s MASSIVE. I might do two smaller loafs next time.

  221. Susan

    This bread was fabulous and was extremely forgiving. A friend had given me apples I wanted to use for family dinner and at the last minute I decided I needed to make bread. My parents were coming to dinner and my 85 year old father ALWAYS has bread with his meal. Although I am a good baker I had never made yeast bread but why not start now. The fact that I was watching my 3 year old grandson and I only had 4 hours until dinner did not deter me. I shaved some rising time here and there and my braiding left a lot to be desired but I got the bread on the table and still managed to build roads and play cars with my grandson. The bread was FABULOUS and a huge hit with everyone. I will definitely put this in my favorites file!

  222. Brianna

    FYI- in the “by hand” section, it doesn’t say to add the salt with the flour… just a reminder to add that! luckily, I tried the dough and noticed it tasted like it was sans salt before I got too far so I could start over. everyone’s raving about the recipe though, so I’m excited to try it myself! :D

  223. Sarah

    I’m not Jewish, but my partner is and we hosted a family hanukkah party last night (on Shabbat). I decided to make my own challah instead of buying one, because I remembered seeing this recipe a while ago. It turned out beautifully, his family was so impressed, thank you!

  224. Amy

    1. Kelly (et al.), I’ve made this with half whole wheat, plus some extra vital wheat gluten. If you’re the kind of person who likes whole wheat, I think, it works well (and if you’re not a whole wheat-lover, it’s probably abominable).
    2. Deb, I look at that second “rise” and think that its main function is as a rest to aid with shaping. Seems unlikely that 30 minutes will do a great deal for flavor, but it would surely allow the gluten to relax and make those ropes easier to stretch. Thoughts?

  225. Jennifer

    I just made this today for Easter and it took a full hour before it got so brown (even with foil) that I had to take it out. I ended up having to cut a circle out of the middle of the loaf because it was still gooey. I also used two apples, but it looked like I had SO many more apple pieces than in your pictures. It tastes good, but I’m disappointed that the center never cooked. I saw instructions in earlier comments to drop the temp to 350 for as long as it took, so I did that after 45 minutes. Still gooey.

    Weirdly, I also made your basic challah today and it turned out exactly right for times…

  226. deb

    Amy — I find that it nearly doubles in a 30-minute second rise, but not fully, which is fine. It does aid shaping.

    Jennifer — I’m sorry it gave you trouble. It sounds like it might have been better to lower the temperature even more to get it to bake through without getting too dark; I do find that woven round challahs can be kind of finicky to get the baking times right. Some flop wider as they bake, some stay tall. The ones that keep more height seem to take the longest.

  227. Flora

    Hi Deb,

    I have an abundance of beautiful organic apples in my freezer and would like to use them in the place of fresh apples. Do you think this recipe would still work with such a substitution?

  228. Janet

    Hi. I added about a quarter cup more honey to this recipe. The dough was really sticky. Should I have increased the flour as well? Thanks for you help and the recipe.

    1. deb

      Always try to resist adding more flour as it will directly contribute to firmness/dryness. If you can manage the dough (and even if it’s messy) I think you’ll be happiest with the end result if you keep it sticky.

  229. Allison

    Hi Deb,

    I mixed this dough by hand and was following those instructions, but there’s no mention of salt. My dough is 5 min into the first rise and I now see that in the bread mixer section, the salt should have already been added. Should I add the salt when I add the apples? Is there any harm in skipping the salt at this point? Thanks!

  230. rainbowsandrainboots

    Can this recipe be doubled or tripled with no adjustments or ramifications on the integrity of the dough? Also, does the bread once baked keep for more than a day?

  231. shoshannah

    Hi. I think it is easier to add the apples to each rope that has already been shaped, just flatten it, rather than your way. As you said, apples just don’t want to stay. If you flatten each rope, add the apples, then seal the ropes, it goes much easier.

    1. Marisa + D

      Agreed! I’ve made this twice- once as directed by the recipe and once putting in the apples after making the ropes. Adding the apples later is the way to go– it’s so much easier to make the ropes and braid, and the apples are distributed more evenly. This was my first attempt at challah, and it’s delicious! (Kind of reminds me of Hawaiian bread?)

  232. Helene

    Hi Deb. I made this last year and our family loved it! We’re about to make it again – we plan to start today and bake tomorrow. You suggested refrigerating during the first rise. How long will it take to return to room temperature before we move on to the next step?

    The majestic honey cake is in the oven and your mom’s apple cake is on the agenda for tomorrow! Love your your recipes – they’re always a hit! Happy 10th anniversary!

  233. Alycia

    Just made this for our Yom Kippur dinner, and it came out as dramatically beautiful, bronzed, and appled as pictured. Your recipes are amazing! I was skeptical along the way – the dough seemed really dry when I was kneading it. But it worked out in the end. I might add a few more tablespoons of honey next time. I followed the advice of another commenter, Shoshannah, and added the apple pieces into each rope of dough and sealed the rope “tubes” around the apple. All of the apple stayed in place this way, and it wasn’t too difficult to maneuver the ropes. Some of the apple exposed itself upon baking, but not too much. Your clear instructions on “braiding” the round loaf were super helpful – thanks! I can’t believe how cool this challah looks!

  234. tcalpacas

    I am currently baking this bread, I am somewhat experienced in bread baking and when I read the ingredients to assemble them for the bread I wondered why water was not listed as an ingredient. As I read the Make your dough, I did see 2/3 cup warm water was required. I’d like to have seen this in the ingredient list, I almost didn’t bake it because I was sure the recipe wouldn’t work without liquid. I did make the bread, changing the recipe slightly by making simple sponge to get the yeast going and adding a little dough enhancer so it was easier to stretch. The bread looks beautiful and smells heavenly as it’s baking in my oven on this fall day in beautiful Wisconsin.

    1. deb

      Absolutely. Whisk the liquids, stir in the flour with a spoon, knead by hand, trying not to add more flour. It’s going to be sticky but that’s not a bad thing for the final bread.

  235. Marissa

    I tried to make this today…total fail. The yeast was plenty active, I followed the instructions to the letter and the dough is in the trash can. The dough was not sticky or elastic at all, it was hard to knead and never came together. It rose, sort of, splitting into dry lobes with giant cracks in them. I have to guess it’s the oil? I’ve never made challah before, but bake plenty of other bread on a regular basis. Any suggestions on where I went wrong?

  236. Jennifer Rak

    Might this challah freeze well? (Or could I freeze it before baking?) I’m hosting a lunch and would like to make this ahead of time.
    Your ardent fan,

  237. Casey

    Have two loaves of this in the oven and they look spectacular! I had to make a few adjustments for baking these at 7,000 feet but from the looks of them, they are perfection. Just wanted to note that Shoshanna’s tip below about just folding the apples inside the flattened ropes and sealing those worked perfectly well and the dough was really easy to work with. As always, Deb, you lead me to look like a domestic Goddess!

  238. Elizabeth

    Shana Tova, Deb!

    I was wondering, do you have an approximate weight on the apples needed for these? I have a bunch of small apples I need to get rid of, but I’m really terrible at approximating these things. Thank you!!

  239. Norma

    I have a cheater’s question…I usually make challah dough in my bread machine…is there any systematic way to adjust this to a bread machine? I can do up to a 2 lb loaf in my machine….

  240. Janice

    Can I give this five stars and one star? OK…I have two separate ratings and reviews…

    ONE STAR for prep. I have no idea what happened. I have been making challah for twenty years. I always make an apple challah for breaking the Yom Kippur fast. I am by no means a novice here. I followed the recipe exactly…no changes, no modifications, no deviations, and all was going just fine. Until I added the apples and everything became a mushy, slimy, completely unworkable mess. There was just so much ooze that the dough just fell apart and slipped off of itself whenever I tried to roll it together.

    FIVE STARS for taste. I took the slimy mass and put it in a well oiled bundt pan and stuck that in the oven. Yes, there was no egg wash or sugar on top…but I just wanted to save the dough. Anyway, my family said it tastes phenomenal! (I am gluten-free for medical purposes and can’t eat any.)

    SOLUTION is that I’ll be making this again, but with a few modifications. I will only cut up a single apple, but if I feel the dough can’t handle all of that, I’ll only use half of it. I’ll also stick with my usual method of “stuffing” each strand with the apples. I won’t add the apples into the dough as you instruct, but will make four strands, roll them out a bit, put a line of apple pieces down the middle, and then seal up each strand before weaving. The method you use is my traditional round challah one…super easy and looks gorgeous!

    I’m truly at a loss….I’ve had such great luck with your recipes! In fact, your recipes are often the ones I make for guests without a family-only trial run because your recipes just rock. But for whatever reason….this one just did not work for me as written.

    1. Tasha

      I’ve had exactly the same issue. I’m a pretty decent bread baker and love most SK recipes, but this recipe threw me for a loop. The apples… Too many? I’m not sure, but I definitely had a slimy mess and only about 3/4 of one apple actually made it into the final loaf.

  241. I’ve made this three times, and it’s always such a delight. This yields a pretty sizable loaf, so plan to have people over to share or freeze for later (or make French toast!)

    I also found that the apple-folding method above didn’t work at all; about half of the apple pieces fell out, and they concentrated in the center of the loaf, so it was underdone. I followed the method others described of rolling out the four ropes and folding the apples into each flattened line. It worked much better and the distribution of apples was far more ideal. My question is around the risings: if you’re forgoing the apple addition kneading step, should it still have that second rise of 30 minutes? At the point where the apples would have been added, I took it out, kneaded it a bit more, and let it rest for 20 more minutes, but I think my bread over proofed, so I think next time I’ll skip right to the 4 ropes step.

  242. Jessica

    Did you think this could be made into cinnamon rolls, for an apple cinnamon roll? I’ve seen people put the apples in the cinnamon crumb, but I think it might be more fun to have apples throughout the bread. Smaller apple chunks perhaps, to grip with rolling? Or am I crazy for considering it?

  243. G

    This is massive! Thank God cos it’s delicious! I followed the recipe and instructions to the tee including for braiding and did not run into any issue. Thank you for another winner!

  244. Elizabeth

    I made this yesterday. I had to split the dough in half because I only have quarter sized baking sheets, which I should’ve done for the second rise but didn’t think of until it was time for shaping.

    I had trouble with the dough attaching itself to my dough hook. I worried I’d put in too much flour accidentally or something, but I really don’t know what I did. The texture was a bit denser than I would’ve liked, and the color was darker than Deb’s (and all other challah).

    Hopefully, I’ll have all the kinks worked out for next time. Really great recipe! Thank you!!

  245. Cindy

    I made this last year for the first time for Rosh Hashanah and it was wonderful. It made a lot though, so I froze it and made french toast with it a few weeks later. I would love to make this more often, but it really is a lot of work for even once a week. I love your recipes. Keep them coming!!

    1. deb

      Yes you can refrigerate it. You simply pick up where you left off in the recipe (think of the fridge almost like a pause button) once it gets back close to room temperature, whatever step was next.

  246. Sheri

    I’m thinking of trying this recipe for RH dinner but splitting the dough into two smaller loaves without doubling the ingredients (as having two loaves on the table is traditional, but I don’t think I have the space to handle two full size ones).
    Any suggestions on adjusting the baking time/temp, or whether you’d advise against splitting into two loaves?
    Thank you!

  247. ajgb

    i am not sure what this phase means :”Upend your empty bowl over and set it aside for another 30 minutes”
    what does Upend mean?? I tried to Google with no luck wondering if I come the dough again or not? put in bowl or not? does it matter?

  248. Jane

    I have never made challah but I love so many of your recipes that I trusted this would work and forged ahead. I followed the recipe to a tee, with the exception of the added egg yolk in the dough, and what a beautiful loaf emerged from the oven. Glistening and crunchy sweet on top and luscious baked goodness on the inside. Delicious! Thank you!

  249. Karen

    Has anyone ever made two smaller loaves with this recipe? I have always had problems with the bottom of the loaf burning before the middle is done (I’ve tried parchment and baking on a pizza stone which helps but I still always have an overdone bottom or underdone middle). I ordered a silicone baking mat that I’m hoping with help, but I was also wondering if two smaller loaves would cook faster so the middle is done before the bottom starts to get overly done. I’ve also seen a lot of recipes that use 350 degrees for the oven temp instead of 375. Has anyone tried either of these options? Lastly, has anyone noticed a difference in baking time/overdone bottom with the straight shaped loaf? I’ve only ever made round loaves, so I’m wondering if a straight shape might also help the middle get done before the bottom browns? Sorry for the long comment, but any advice on any of these questions would be greatly appreciated!

    1. jessica

      this reply is nearly a year late, but i routinely make two loaves out of this recipe and the fig challah bc there’s only three of us. i usually do a standard three strand braid, but for RH i do a four-strand round. if making two loaves from this recipe, the smaller loaf cooks perfectly at 375 for 30 minutes. no difference no matter the shape. the full loaf needs the full 45 minutes. the bottom, to my knowledge and experience, is supposed to be nice and hard like the top. mine never burn on the bottom, and i bake it on parchment on a sheet tray.

  250. Sarah

    Hi! I have been making your regular challah every month for years for my family. It is amazing. Recently I had the epiphany of trying to add apples and cinnamon to it, and then I found your apple and honey challah recipe! My question is how this challah compares in size to the regular challah recipe –which makes 2 HUGE challahs. Does this apple and honey recipe make 1 smaller challah, or is it also one that could be for a larger group? And I’m curious –did you try using your regular challah recipe and just adding the apple and honey to the mix?

    1. deb

      This makes one challah instead of two (as the regular challah recipe does). It gets pretty big but if you’re feeding a crowd, make two. This is very close to my regular challah formula, with a few flavor tweaks.

  251. Jessica

    what’s the reason for kneading the apple into the dough before the second rise, instead of just adding them in the initial mixing? would that affect the first rise? i’ve made this twice, the first by your instructions here, and the second by rolling it out like the fig challah (the greatest challah ever created btw) and rolling the strands up around the apples. it tastes great, but is SUPER difficult both ways. thinking of making it again, but letting the mixer do the hard part. thoughts? thx!

    1. deb

      Yes; it’s good to wait so it doesn’t weight down the first rise. When you say difficult, is it because of the sharp corners of the apples poking through? If so, something I’ve been meaning to play around with is to microwave the apple cubes for a minute, just to semi-tenderize them, before adding them to the dough. Of course, let them cool before adding it. I do wonder if it will make things easier.

      1. Jessica

        my difficulty is the apples make the dough wet, and it’s difficult to work w/out adding more flour. i’ve thought of shredding the apples and putting them in w/the first rise, but haven’t done it yet. maybe for sukkot? we’ll see

  252. Jenny Dyrvold

    Hi Deb, we adore your chocolate tahini Challa, and how easy it is to make for breakfast with the rising in the refirgerator. Placing the woven challa in the refrigerator for the last rise overnight should work ok, or what do you think?

  253. Deb has never failed me! I have a yeast “phobia” and am always wary of baking anything requiring it. But this turned out so wonderful! Thank you for your clear and approachable instructions!

  254. conniex721

    This was incredible and will be my go to recipe for challah from now on! I did all the steps up until the braiding and then put it in the fridge overnight. Then I took it out, brushed with egg while the oven preheated, and then brushed one more time before baking. Perfect!

  255. Emily

    Hi, I am making this Challah during the current shelter in place. I only have instant yeast… how can I substitute this in? Will it still turn out ok? Thanks

  256. Sanja K

    Would love to try this recipe out but I don’t have spelt flour. Can you recommend a substitute for spelt flour?

    Thank you

  257. Jessie

    I’ve made this before no problems but it’s been awhile. Did I do something wrong it’s in its first rise but I’ve waiting 2 hours and it’s not rising? Should I toss it or can I save it?

  258. This came out gorgeously! I haven’t yet sampled (it’s going to the in-laws for Erev Rosh Hashanah tonight), but it smells delicious and seems perfectly baked at the 40-minute mark. Its internal temp is right at 195, so just hoping it’s properly baked through.

    For what it’s worth, I tried (a) smaller chunks of apples and (b) microwaving them for about a minute then cooling before incorporating into the dough. Then, I surrendered perfection for “good enough,” and just trusted the process. Definitely don’t play with the dough too much. Just get it into something approximating the proper shape and let it rise and bake.

  259. Miriam Gross

    Delicious. Truly delicious. I did have some difficulty with incorporating the apples. I could not get them to stay inside the dough, which made it difficult to braid, and very sticky from the apple juices that accumulated the apples sat, even for the 30 minutes or so it took to get it all together. Next time I will try taking each strand of dough, flattening it slightly, adding the apples, then pinching the strand closed. I have done this with great success when putting dried fruit in challah, and it distributes the fruit nicely throughout the loaf. The recipe also makes a very large loaf. Next time I will make the loaves half the size.

  260. Jen Kolodner

    Fabulous! Probably the best challah I’ve ever had although my sons are purists and weren’t convinced about the apples. I am considering doing this again but making two smaller challahs. This was massive.

  261. Beth

    Sorry if this was asked already, I didn’t see in the comments, but has anyone frozen this? I’ve added the apples in and let the dough rise for the second time and I’m wondering if freezing it now to bake it tomorrow will ruin it? I love this bread! Made it several times now and people request it all the time!!

  262. Looks insanely good! In Ukraine, we made it all the time, just plain though, I assume lack of ingredients. My Russian Jew husband swears it originated in Israel.

  263. Keith

    I made this today with spelt flour and doubled the quantity of yeast, as my previous experience with spelt flour is to double the yeast amount required.
    Very pleased with the results and it tasted scrumptious.

  264. Sarah V

    This is an absolutely beautiful recipe! It’s been a real comfort this week in the wake of terrible events in the news. Thank you.

    If a rise is done in the fridge, do you let it come to room temperature before baking (for the third rise in fridge) or before moving to the next step (e.g., folding in apples)?

    Can you add more honey to amp up that flavor, and if so how much?

    1. deb

      No, I do not find that it has to be at room temperature to bake. If it’s stiff, maybe for the apples, but you’ll probably be fine. And yes, you can definitely add more apples or honey.

  265. Allison L

    I can’t wait to make this! Can I freeze the dough as is to bake it in a few days —or should I add in the apples after I remove it from the freezer?

  266. Rebecca

    I just want you to know that Smitten Kitchen has become such an important part of our Rosh Hashanah traditions! Thank you for bringing new and delicious ideas to our family table – you’re always welcome to join us. Shannah Tova!

  267. Sara

    Love this recipe but find that the apples add a lot of moisture, making it very hard to roll the strands. Any ideas? What about adding the apples when I prepare the four strands?