I am not new to making challah, I have made and also posted quite a few, including some real treats such as Date Challah, Kulich, and Apple Cinnamon Challah. But now I am starting a project to try out different challah recipes, and create a few of my own, over the next year. I want to work on my technique, learning to read the dough and perfect my braiding. I will likely not be able to make a challah a week, but whenever I am able, I will be making challah for our Friday night dinners.
So the first challah of my Challah Project is Almond Honey Challah. Why did I start with this rather than a more traditional challah? Well, I had almond flour left over from Passover that I wanted to use and this challah is a mix of almond flour, whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
It was both beautiful and delicious, with a nutty flavor and texture. Perfect with butter, but also great as a sandwich bread the next day.
So, it you have a challah recipe you really like, please share it!
Honey Almond Challah
By Miri Rotkovitz on about.com
For the Challah Dough:
1 cup warm water (110 – 115° F)
1 packet active dry yeast
3 large eggs
1/3 cup neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola), plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 c honey
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
4-1/2 – 5 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, or a mix of both, plus extra for kneading (I used half and half)
1 cup almond meal (aka almond flour)
2 teaspoons salt
For the Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Place the warm water in a large bowl. Add a pinch of sugar to the bowl and the yeast, and stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles and the surface of the water appears foamy.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, honey, almond extract, and salt.3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour(s), almond meal, and salt.
When the yeast mixture is foamy, add 2 cups of the flour mixture and the egg mixture, and whisk vigorously until well mixed and fairly smooth. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, stirring with a sturdy wooden spoon after each addition, until a shaggy dough forms and begins to pull into a ball. (Depending on the ambient humidity and the sort of flour you choose, you may not need all of the flour. If the dough is very wet or sticky, add it by the quarter cup, stirring after each addition. If not, just use it to dust your work surface.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With clean, floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, and no traces of flour remain on the surface, about 5 to 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes while you clean and dry the large mixing bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the bowl. Place the challah dough in the bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough has risen to at least double its bulk, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Punch the dough down. Lightly grease one or two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper. Shape or braid the dough as desired. (The recipe will make 1 large challah, 2 medium challot, 1 medium challah plus 6 challah rolls, or 12 rolls.)
Place the shaped challot and/or rolls on the baking sheet(s) and cover with clean, dry tea towels. Allow to rise until at least doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven is heating, make the egg wash: whisk together the egg, water and salt. Brush over the challah with a pastry brush. Bake the challah until the crust is a deep golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 to 35 minutes for a large challah, 20 to 25 minutes for a medium challah, and 15 to 20 minutes for rolls. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!