Time to face my demons and undertake this long, intimidating project. (I’m only kidding.) Prepping, braiding, and baking the “Apple Honey Challah,” a recipe posted by Tory Avey nine years ago, is definitely a rewarding piece of work. Smell the yeast. Smell the apples. See how nervous you will be.

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, I’ve finally baked this beautiful bread -- and this one with a bit of sweetness. Make no mistake: Tory’s braiding instructions are indispensable.

I adjusted her recipe to make a single loaf. So, while I halved the dough ingredients in my single-loaf version, make sure to also halve the amounts throughout the recipe instructions.

So as not to kill my yeast with water that’s too hot, I make sure to take its temperature to 110 degrees. Let’s not mess up this recipe at its start.

Ultimately, I add 3½ cups of flour to my mix, to have a dough that’s “elastic, but not sticky.” Let the dough rise for an hour, in the stove steamed by a pan of boiling water (a neat trick).

Now, let’s chop the apples. I do make sure to cut my apple cubes into little ¼-inch squares, knowing they will need to be wrapped into dough without tearing. Add cinnamon to the apples.

Cut the dough into four equal portions. That’s right! I weigh each of my portions to measure 6.93 oz. It’s the math of baking, folks. Measure your flattened rectangles of dough as instructed: 1 ft. long and 3-4 inches wide. The photo demonstrations are ideal.

Filling and rolling. How graceful can I be, here? I’m nervous enough to hold my breath as I roll these four, apple-filled strands.

The braiding of the four strands is impossible (for me) without the instructive images. Have I made this point too often, now? I am surprised and proud to have assembled a cute, plump, twisted challah. The braided loaf rises for another 45 minutes.

Generous with the egg wash, I also sprinkle some turbinado sugar over my loaf, before baking for a total of 57 minutes, tenting with foil for the final few minutes. I’ve resisted removing the baked loaf from the oven too early, because I’ve been there before: after all this work I end up with an undercooked loaf. No! “Err on the side of cooking longer.” I got it and I did it.

 

 

 

Victory. Cooked throughout and soft like bread. The apples are sweet and soft. The braiding results in a swirled apple decoration within. It’s a nice surprise.