If you've had it, you know how darn good fresh challah is. It's warm, yeasty, spongy, a little chewy, a little eggy, a little awesome. It happens to be one of the most delicious parts of the Sabbath meal, or any meal for that matter. It's not only a traditional part of Jewish culture, but it's also an important mitzvah for women.
At JewelryJudaica.com, we sometimes keep things traditional, but then again, sometimes we don't. Recently, we were inspired to take our traditional family challah to the next level. Not that regular challah needs any improvement, really, but making flavored challahs can be a nice change. This time it was peanut butter and jelly challah. Sure, its been done before, but not by us! This was also my first time making challah so I was learning the basics along the way from my wife.
We typically make a four braided challah with a recipe as follows (makes two loaves):
Sprinkle the yeast into warm water and let it activate for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the eggs, oil, salt, and honey (or sugar). Add the flour, one cup at a time. Knead for 10 minutes.
Set aside in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a moist towel. Let rise for 2 hours, or until double in size.
Shape the challah* (using extra flour as necessary) and brush on beaten egg.
Set in pan and let it rise for another hour.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F.
*For the PB&J variation, we separated the challah into 4 pieces when getting ready to braid. Normally, we'd roll these into roughly 15" strips and then braid. But this time, we flattened out the strips, smothering two each with peanut butter and raspberry preserves (we used preserves because of the solid consistency) and then rolling them up. Strawberry or grape would be good too, I think.
Then braid as usual.
My wife taught me to braid but my braiding technique clearly needed work. I've since improved, I promise.
A bit of leakage here. Did we overfill the challah with preserves or just not seal it well enough?
Looks aside, this challah turned out to be quite delicious! It was especially good fresh. Basically, it tasted like a freshly baked PB&J challah sandwich.
It was also amazing as french toast. Dessert breakfast, anyone?
Let us know if you try this recipe. We'd love to hear your thoughts!