World Peace Challah
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Under normal circumstances, we’d just head to the store to buy a loaf of bread. But this recipe for world peace challah—from Chanie Apfelbaum’s new cookbook, Totally Kosher—has a lot promised in its name…so we’re willing to make the extra effort and don our apron.
“I bake this recipe pull-apart style,” she writes, “so that you can add different toppings to please everyone at the table. In heimish bakeries, it’s sometimes referred to as Shalom Bayit Challah, which translates to ‘peace in the home,’ but I’m thinking even bigger—world peace!”
Excerpted with permission from Totally Kosher. Copyright © 2023 by Chanie Apfelbaum. Photographs copyright © 2023 by Chanie Apfelbaum. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
One ¼-ounce packet active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
½ cup honey
¼ cup canola oil, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the dough
2 extra-large eggs, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
Optional toppings (approximately 1 tablespoon per section): sweet crumbs (see Note), za’atar, nigella seeds, raw sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning (see Note), sea salt, poppy seeds, dried herbs, minced onion, garlic flakes
1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and water with a spoon, then let it rest for 5 minutes, until the yeast starts to bloom. Add the honey, ¼ cup oil, 1 of the eggs and the salt and stir with a spoon to incorporate.
2. Add half of the flour and mix with a spoon until creamy. Add the remaining flour and knead by hand in the bowl until your dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky, adding more flour if needed.
3. When you are done kneading, grease the dough with 1 tablespoon oil and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Put it in a warm place (I like to set my oven to 200°F and put the bowl on top of the oven) and leave the dough to rise for 1½ to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
4. Punch down the dough with your hands and use a knife or bench scraper to divide it into 7 equal portions. Using your hands, roll each portion of dough into a ball. Place 1 ball in the center of a 10-inch round cake pan and surround the center ball with the remaining 6 balls of dough. Let the dough rise in a warm spot, uncovered, for 30 more minutes, until the balls are touching each other.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Brush the dough with the egg and sprinkle with the topping of your choice. Bake about 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Check the bottom of the challah. It should be browned and sound hollow when you tap on it.
6. Remove the challah from the pan and set it on a rack to cool. Serve within 1 or 2 days. If desired, you can warm the challah in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes before serving. To freeze the challah, wrap it in parchment paper, foil and a zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To make sweet crumbs, combine 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1½ teaspoons canola oil and a pinch of salt and mix it with your fingers until crumbly.
To make everything bagel seasoning, combine 1 tablespoon each poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried minced garlic flakes and dried minced onion flakes with 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.