Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cinnamon scented challah

Cinnamon scented challah

I was watching music videos on TV other day when I saw the ugliest creature ever. Really – at the moment he took off his shirt and opened his mouth I felt like running, running like there was no tomorrow.
A quick visit to a certain profile on imdb was essential to avoid being scarred for life. :D

Making something pretty also helps. I decide for this challah, inspired by the gorgeous one Jaden made a while ago. The recipe is from Zoe’s wonderful book.

Cinnamon scented challah

Cinnamon scented challah
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Master Challah dough*:
1 ¾ cups (420ml) lukewarm water
1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup honey
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted
7 cups (980g) unbleached all-purpose flour

Filling and topping:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a small handful sliced almonds

egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey and butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy duty stand mixer, with dough hook. If you are not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

For the filling, mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days. Beyond 5 days, freeze in 1 pound (450g) portions in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. Defrost frozen dough overnight in the refrigerator before using. Then allow the usual rest and rise time.

On baking day, line a baking sheet with non stick baking paper or buttered regular baking paper.
Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound/450g (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

Let’s shape the challah: use the palm of your hands and roll the dough into a thick, even log. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces with knife or dough scraper. (It’s easier to cut even pieces when the dough is not round). Roll each piece with your hands to stretch into a long 1 ½ in (approx. 3.75 cm) thick rope. Try not to just stretch it out by pulling, the dough will break. Easiest way is to place dough on counter and roll back and forth with palms of hands, starting in the middle and hands move out which stretching the dough a bit. Don’t worry about getting it to look pretty, just try to get each piece even sized.

Take one piece of dough. Use side of your hand to press and create an indent in the middle of the strand. Spread 1/3 of the filling in this indent.

Bring up the sides of the dough, encasing the filling, and pinch dough closed. Repeat with other strands.
Now, time to braid the bread: start in the middle and braid. Pinch ends, tuck under. Now braid the other side, pinch and tuck. Start braid from the middle (instead of top) so that it tapers evenly at both ends. Place on prepared sheet, over paper.
Cover with towel and let rest for 1 ½ hours; 20 minutes prior to baking, preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
When dough is ready, brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

* this amount of dough is enough to make four 1-pound (450g) challahs – you may keep the remaining dough in the fridge or freeze it (as explained in the recipe) and use as desired

Makes 1 challah

Cinnamon scented challah


Snooky doodle said...

ohh!! this looks heavenly :)

Manggy said...

Ooh, that looks so soft and I love the smooth surface. Home-baked bread is lovely but it's the swirl that just takes it to. tha. next. lev. el.

I was wondering whose profile that was on IMDB but as soon as the page loaded I got knocked out by a giant chin :P Kidding!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

soft cinnamony and totally delicious. looks lovely!

Peabody said...

What a gorgeous looking bread. I bet it would make a great french toast.

The Food Librarian said...

When I see something disturbing, I turn to George Clooney to help me get through it. :) I love this challah! How perfect is it!

Anonymous said...

Your breads are always so perfect. I can imagine the smell of this must have been amazing. I hope you and your family have a happy new year Patricia!

Deborah said...

I've been wanting to make this - yours looks great!!

Katie said...

I could jump through the screen right now and steal that off your table it looks so good!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things to make with challah is French toast the following morning, and this cinnamon challah would make even better French toast! Have a wonderful holiday.... xox

Sara said...

The pretty challah soothes my eyes after clicking on your link for the ugliest creature. Beauty and beast in one post!

Kana said...

Would be great while it was still warm from the oven

Anonymous said...

This loaf looks perfect and delicious! I can almost taste it! Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Love the almonds on top and the cinnamon swirl within!

Alexa said...

Your challah looks so beautiful... I can smell the cinnamon from here. :-)
Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

looks so good! happy holidays Patricia!

KJ said...

He was in a group called The Hot Boys. I only hope that was meant to be ironic :} Beautiful bread though!!!

Gigi said...

...mmm! Patricia you have been baking up some pretty amazing treats! The challah looks divine!

Nic said...

That looks fabulous Patricia!
Happy holidays my friend!

Anonymous said...

Hope you had a great Christmas with your loved ones, dearie! :) Happy holidays, and best wishes.

Brilynn said...

I love that book!
I've made the challah using nutella and hazelnuts, it was great!

Gattina Cheung said...

hey darling, how's your x'mas holidays? I hope you have a fun and great one! Another thing, I really need to thank you, for posting the recipe of chocolate chip cookies' recipe... it is FANTASTIC!!! Actually, I have already made them 2 times (on the 24th and today :):) it is a keeper. Everyone LOVES them, and I can tell they all look forward to them at every occasion and x'mas!!! Pat, you are a wonderful blogger and baker; I know I can always count on you and your site for excellent recipes. BIG kiss and hug. Hope you and your family have a wonderful new year!

test it comm said...

That bread looks good!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Natalie, thank you! :D

Mark, just so you know it, I was watching him yesterday on "The Dark Knight" and his chin is perfect. ;D

Meeta, thank you, sweetie!

Pea, I think you are right. :D

Food Librarian, George Clooney would work perfectly here too, great idea. :D

Syrie, you are far too kind, darling, tks!

Deb, thank you! I hope you try it, that is a great dough.

Katie, you can have as many slices as you want, sweetie!

Lydia, thank you so much, my dear friend!
Happy Holidays!

Sara, I'm glad to hear you agree with me. :D

Maya, you are right. :D

Lisa, thank you!

Toxobread, thank you for visiting!

Alexa, thank you so much!
Happy Holidays!

Liz, thank you! Happy Holidays, darling!

KJ, I believe it is ironic - it has to be. :D

Gigi, thank you! I'm glad you like the posts!

Nic, thank you, darling! Happy Holidays!

Hey, gorgeous! Thank you and happy holidays!

Bri, isn't that book wonderful?
I have to try it again with Nutella. Love the stuff! :D

Gattina, my dear, you are so sweet and kind! I'm glad to hear you like the cookies!
Many kisses and hugs right back at you!

Kevin, tks!

Cynthia, happy new year, darling!

eatme_delicious said...

Gorgeous!! I really want this cookbook.

Marysol said...

What a beauty.
I've made a few breads from the book, but I've yet to make the Challah.
And --with a houseful of carb lovers-- if I were to make it, I'd probably never get a chance to take a picture of anything, but the crumbs.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, Yum! That looks about great enough for a New Year's brunch? Come over around 10-ish? :)
Happiest 2009 Patricia!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Patricia, it looks wonderful. You have been so kind to visit my blog in the past so I have 'tagged' you on mine ;) Please see today's post.

breadchick said...


That is a wonderful looking loaf of bread and the sound of cinnamon scented Challah sounds fantastic!

Happy New Year my dear.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Looks delicious! Happy New Year Patricia, hope you're well and that 2009 is a great one for you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Patricia. Such perfection. I'd really love a slice. Happy New Year to you and your family!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That looks scrummy. I like the seasonality with the cinnamon, without it being a full-blown cake-like thing. Yum.

Happy New Year!

Nora B. said...

Hi Patricia,

Happy 2009!

Oh you are so funny...I didn't know that you had a soft spot for Aaron. I hope Joao doesn't mind ;-)

This challah is just gorgeous.

x Nora
p/s: congrats on your 2-year blog anniversary for Nov

kickpleat said...

i've never even tasted challah bread! this looks lovely and i pretty much love anything cinnamon flavoured. yum. happy 2009!

Gigi said...

Patricia, the challah is beautiful! I love all the almonds baked on top!

Sarah Jane said...

Dang that is GORGEOUS!

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