Last year, I shared my favorite apple challah recipe, which admittedly is a bit patchkied. But since Rosh Hashana only comes once a year, I figured it was worth it. Recently, though, a reader asked if I couldn’t just make the dough in the bread machine.
Which got me thinking…
You know, we love our bread machine challah – and it’s definitely a lot easier than making the dough by hand. So, I decided to give it a shot.
Then, I further simplified things by using a much faster and easier technique for making a round challah: Balls of dough. I just lay them into a flower formation in a round baking dish and let them rise together, then bake.
This method is so simple and, while not as impressive as a braided round challah, definitely more fun for a pull-apart crowd.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me take this step-by-step.
1. Put up the dough recipe for my Bread Machine Challah, adding in a bit of extra brown sugar for an even sweeter bread than normal. Program the machine to the dough setting, which should take about 90 minutes.
2. While the bread machine is doing its thing, wash and peel two or three apples. Roughly chop them – they shouldn’t be perfect and it’s definitely okay to have them be a bit on the chunky side.
3. Toss the apples with a good amount of cinnamon sugar and set aside. The sugar will help pull the juice out of the apples, making the apple stuffing sweet and syrupy.
4. When the dough machine beeps, take out your dough and divide into two balls.
5. Roll out one ball into a log and flat gently with the palm of your hand. Spoon out the apple mixture along the center of the flattened log. Pinch the side together to enclose the apple.
6. Gently roll the log again to round it out a bit, then use a serrated knife to cut even sections about every two-inches.
7. Roll each section into a ball, tucking in any apple pieces that might be sticking out.
8. Spray a round baking dish with vegetable spray. You can use a small or large dish, but the larger the dish, the more balls of dough you will need to fill it. Lay the balls into the pan in a flower pattern, with the biggest ball in the middle.
10. Cover the pan lightly with a towel and let rise for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile repeat these steps with the other half of dough. Then brush an egg coating over the top, and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.
12. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-30 minutes until done. I like to slightly under-bake my challot, just by a minute or two, so they are nice and soft.
13. Cool on a wire rack; if you won’t be serving the challah immediately, double wrap in plastic bags to keep it fresh. This will last about two days on the counter-top.
If you try this easy method, let me know how it turns out for you!