This big round of rustic-looking sweet bread is laden with apple chunks and beautiful to behold--and eat! This kind of bread is traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah along with some honey, but it's so good, it's worth baking all year long. Modified from a King Arthur Flour recipe.
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: apple, yeast bread
Author: Beth Cato
deep 9-inch round cake pan or casserole dish
2large eggs room temperature
1Tablespooninstant yeast or active yeast
coarse sugar optional
honey for serving optional
Make the dough
Mix together the dough ingredients by hand or using a mixer with dough hook, until well-incorporated and not stiff. Place dough in a greased bowl to let rise about 2 hours, or until puffy; if poked with a finger, the dent in the dough should remain and not bounce back.
Prepare a deep round cake pan or casserole dish (at least 4 inches) by greasing thoroughly.
Also lightly grease a large stretch of counter top or table. Gently deflate dough and transfer to the surface, and flatten dough to an 8x10-inch rectangle.
Prepare the filling
Core the apples but leave on the peels. Chop apples into chunks about 1/2 to 3/4-inch in size. Should equal about 3 cups total. Toss pieces in cinnamon and sugar.
Assemble the bread
Spread half the apples in the center of the dough. Fold one short edge over the apples to cover them, and press down the edge to seal them inside.
Place the remaining apples on top of the existing apple-dough mound. Cover these apples with the other flap of dough, patting again to seal. It's okay if it is bulging and messy!
Use a bench knife or paring knife to cut the dough down the middle, long-ways. Then cut again along the long side, edge to edge, to create a series of broad, messy stacks of dough with apples overflowing onto the surface.
Start transferring pieces of dough and scattered apples into the prepared pan, forming a bottom layer, then keep stacking more dough and fruit on top until everything is in the pan.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for another hour, until it is puffed again.
Preheat oven at 325-degrees, with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Uncover the dough. Brush the top with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. If desired, sprinkle coarse sugar all over the top.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the top is deep brown. As the dough is so thick, if a kitchen thermometer is available, use it to test the middle; bread should be at least 190-degrees.
Set pan of bread on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove bread from pan.
Serve challah warm, ideally with extra honey drizzled on top. Store covered at room temperature up to 4 days. Bread can also be sliced and frozen.