Happy Rosh Hashanah!
As many of us plan for the wonderful celebration with family and friends, I know many of you are probably like me, busy cooking a few days before the start of Rosh Hashanah!
In honor of the holiday, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes for Challah. It comes from Judy Zeidler’s recipe from, The Gourmet Jewish Cookbook. When I bake it, I use Grand Marnier for the brandy. It makes it sweeter. Also, I don’t plump the Golden Raisins. I mix as stated with up to 4 cups of flour in the standing mixer. I knead the 5th cup by hand. After it rises, I knead it more, roll or braid. Usually for Rosh Hashanah, I split it into two loaves which is easier to freeze, and I don’t braid it.
I hope you enjoy the recipe below and L’shana Tova to everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah this week!
Rosh Hashanah Round Braided Challah
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 F)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, melted
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron (optional)
2 tablespoons brandy
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup raisins, plumped
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and sugar. Beat together eggs, honey and melted butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup warm water, saffron and brandy, and blend well. Blend in the yeast mixture. Add flour, 1 cup at a time with salt, blending with a beater after each addition, until the dough is thick enough to work by hand. Spoon it out onto a floured board and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, gradually incorporating the raisins and enough additional flour to make a smooth and elastic dough. Place dough in an oiled bowl and oil top of dough. Cover loosely with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough and divide into 3 equal parts. Form each one into a rope about 26 inches long. Braid the ropes together and seal the ends by pinching.
Line a large heavy baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat. Oil the foil and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Remove the label and wash an empty 16-ounce can; oil its outside and place it in the center of the baking sheet, open end up. Transfer the challah to the baking sheet, forming it into a ring around the can; join and pinch together the ends of the braid. Cover dough with a towel and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Brush the challah with beaten egg white. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack.
Serve the challah on a circular tray and set a bowl of honey in the center. Serve with sliced apples for dipping.
Makes 1 challah.