The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Harvest Apple Challah

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Harvest Apple Challah

Lately, when I give someone a loaf of bread, they hand me a bag of freshly picked apples in exchange.  Not one for standing over a hot stove making applesauce I have been transforming and preparing them for their next destination by baking them into my breads.

Previously my usual Fall apple loaf has been The Scent of Apples  left here long before I found this site.  This year I wanted to try something different.  It didn't take me long to find THIS recipe on King Arthur's site. With a few tweaks in the method to accommodate my propensity to bake with WY and freshly ground whole grains I was pleased enough with the results to give this formula a place of it's own in my Fall line up of breads to be baked again and again and again…..

 

                                               

                                         FIrst the apples.  Picked fresh from neighbor's gardens. 

 

                           Eggs to make the challah dough.

 

                                                             

                                                                                             

                                                    The freshly milled wheat.

 

                                    .

                                                                          Just before it gets messy.

 

                       

The mess.

 

Which, as you can see in my first photo, turned out very nicely in the end.

No crumb shots.  Loaves given to my local fire station - the guys who are there 24/7 taking care of us all around here.

Thank you King Arthur for the inspiration.

                         

                                                                                    :*)

                              

 

Comments

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Wow, looks great.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks Floyd.  Despite the 'messy' part this was a fun bread to bake.

Janet

varda's picture
varda

Delicious!  Although I think you should eat a few of those apples.   They must be great and I'm sure they make the bread taste amazing.   -Varda

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Varda,

No need to worry about all of the apples going out of the door….my basement is full of peaches and the apple 'population' is growing too.  With just one child at home now the demand for food is smaller thus the ability to pass on the 'excess'.  We are lucky this year because crops have been bountiful and delicious.

Thanks for your comment. :)

Janet

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

Never heard of Apple Challah before. But was just discussing last night that for Purim a special sweet Challah is traditionally eaten that has raisins in it and is normally braised with something sweet too.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I had never heard of Apple Challah either.  My challahs have always been braided though last year I did toss in figs after finding another tempting formula that included them in a challah.  The dough was indeed a challah dough though - eggs and oil.  Pretty simple and perfect for this bread.  I guess my idea of challah is expanding to include more than just a beautifully braided loaf of bread.

Thanks for checking in. I appreciate your comments.

Take Care,

Janet

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Apple challah? That's new to me, and sounds delicious! Your post also has me yearning for sweet, red apples. We only have tart, green ones here, plus a lot of tropical fruits, but sometimes I just want a nice, juicy apple!

Take care and jolly bakings,

Zita

AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

A fruit bread. Yum!

Now i'm making myself hungry.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Zita,

Was new to me too but not anymore.  This turned out really well and, despite the mess, was an easy bread to make so it will be added to my bread binder and will be baked again.  In fact, I have it on my calendar for next week!

I know how it is to miss a 'native' food.  I grew up in San Francisco eating San Francisco sour dough bread….I have never tasted anything like it since moving away - ahhh but the memories are sweet :*)

Take Care,

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

green apples are also good in just such a recipe.  I have all the ingredients for the making except I have melted butter and light brown sugar which I think will work out just fine.  Due to the nearby smelter, I have to wash well and peel my tart apples.  

Boiled a big yam the other day and was thinking it might also function in such a recipe, just cut up already cooked yam.  Purple or orange or whatever. 

Star fruit or any fruit in that "water fruit" family should work too.  Use the tart ones.  Pomegranate?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Mini,

Hadn't considered tweaking this with yams but why not?  Toss in butter, cinnamon, cardamom and honey or maple syrup with a few apples and, in my mind, the result would be very pleasant indeed.  ….Another idea to put on my 'to bake' list.

Thanks for the idea.

Take Care,

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

as well.  Possibilities are endless but I have a big bucket of tart apples here in the kitchen.  

I printed out the recipe from King Arthur Flour using the large type choice in metric.  Nice they make so many options available.  I can see why this is a popular recipe.  Pretty basic and not at all complicated.  Also plenty of room for tweaks and creativity.  

Added:  Mixed it up and ended up adding 2Tbs. water to the dough, seemed a bit stiff to me.  I think my flour is extra dry from summer.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Mini,

You will have to let me know how yours turned out.  

I added extra water too to compensate for the whole grains but I did leave it a bit stiff but not too stiff so it was strong enough to hold the apples in but not so strong that it couldn't be stretched over all of them when loading the dough up.

Take Care,

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it.  So despite several problems, it came out well.  

  1. I used a deep two part funnel pan, big mistake, took forever to get a nice top browning.  Shallower pan is recommended. Also leaked.  
  2. I stirred the sugar into the apples about an hour before putting it together.  I should have started on the apples later.  Better to wait until about a quarter of an hour before turning out the dough and folding in the apples to begin with cutting apples.  The sugar pulled moisture from the apples leaving me with a lot of tasty syrup.  Not wanting to waste,  I poured that over the top after filling the two part tube pan lined with parchment.  I think I should have waited until the dough had risen a bit first to seal the seam so the juices would not leak out.  As I no longer have a spring form or a cake pan... I might have to use a fry pan or ask a neighbour.  My baking time went 15 minutes over and still could have used a bit more browning on top.  Sides and bottom are nicely browned so lots of flavour there.  Pan had to soak a while to clean.
  3. As far as taste goes, butter replacement gram for gram worked just fine. (microwave melting with water & honey, cooled and added to eggs)  I did reduce the salt a wee bit for our tastes.  I do think a little cardamon,  lemon or orange zest would enhance the dough flavour.  I used the full amount of sugars and found the bread not overly sweet.  Light brown sugar also works well giving a little more caramel taste around the apples.  Bagged it overnight.  Flavour and texture improves the second day.  Eating some now.  
  4. The dough didn't want to blend smoothly together, esp. after adding water, it remained firm yet sticky, so I just let it sit 10 minutes covered while I washed up the dishes.  Then it behaved, kneaded it without any additional water or flour on the counter top into a smooth ball.  As the kitchen was about 72°F, I let a ceramic mixer bowl warm up in the dishwater while I kneaded, rinsed the bowl in hot water and plopped the dough inside. Covered with a wet towel and ignored it for 2 hours.  
  5. Because of the mess, next time I plan to pat out the dough into a rectangle on a large tray, so I can catch all the juices.  

I can also see using half the dough to line a form and cut the rest into chunks or ropes and mix with the apples to dump into the middle.  Might be a little less messy.   Cool how all the apple pieces seem to stay all stuck together, even the loose ones tossed on top.

Mini 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Mini,

Thanks for the report.  I will be baking this again this week and will add cardamom to the dough (I have a babka formula that does that and it does add a nice flavor.) - something I though of too but wanted to stick to the recipe at least once ;*)  I will also use sucanat in place of white sugar as per your suggestion.  It is more of a light, light brown sugar - less processed than white so it does have that caramel like aroma to it.

I did mix my apples and sugar right before compiling the final bread and I still got the syrup so I was thinking of sprinkling it on as I construct the layers rather than mixing all in a bowl to see if that helps any.

I lined my pans with parchment paper AND lightly greased them and bread popped out without a problem - except for the tidbits left in the bottom of the pans.  I have learned with other messy doughs to use parchment…..clean-up much easier.

I baked a bit longer too and one recipient of a loaf said I could have even gone longer to give the top more color.  She said the interior 1" of dough was a bit under baked but loved it as it was….She is a 'real' bread lover.

Again, thanks for your report and ideas for future bakes!

Take Care,

Janet

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Anything baked and with apples is always a winner in my opinion and with freshly milled wheat too, damn that has to taste good! I'm not brave enough to mill my own wheat, I leave that to the experienced millers..

Lovely bake Janet.

Come to think of it I have apples in the garden that need to be picked soon..!

regards,

Michael

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Michael,

With the breads you bake - you needn't worry about not being experienced enough to mill your own wheat.  Nothing to it.  Just a good mill and off you go.  The grains will tell you what to do just like your breads do.  Once you have baked with whole grains it is impossible to go back….so be prepared if you should take the plunge :)

Thanks for the praise.  I consider it a high complement coming from you!

Take Care,

Janet

isand66's picture
isand66

Beautiful Janet.  Also nice to see what comes out of your kitchen.  We don't have any apple trees or neighbors with apple trees but a short trip to the east end of Long Island and I can pick some fine apples.  You reminded me it's almost that time of year again for some apple picking.

Regards,
Ian

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Ian,

I am being spoiled this year because I haven't even had to pick any!  They are being picked by others so it is a double treat - not that picking apples is a chore.  I used to do it with the children when they were young and we had a fun time picking and then eating the bounty of our labors.

Have fun picking when you get out in the orchards  :)

Thanks for checking in.  I imagine we will read about your use of apples soon here too.  

Take Care,

Janet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

before but will have to give it a go after your fine example Janet, Love the whole grains. A fine Holiday bread for sure. Well done and

Happy baking Janet

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi dabrownman,

I used to only use apples in pies and crisps until I found the 'Scent of Apples' blog and my daughter fell in love with that bread.  It is fun to have another apple formula to use in the Fall now too and this one is different in that it is more of a sweet bread - pull apart - monkey bread combo.  Something fun to do when I want to make a mess and have it turn out lovely in the end :)

Thanks for checking in and have fun with apples in your breads.  They blend well with nuts too - especially walnuts.

Take Care,

Janet

emkay's picture
emkay

Hi Janet,

Your apple challah is lovely. I really like the way it's assembled which looks messy and fun at the same time!  Apple season in Calif is well under way. I don't buy apples the rest of year since I prefer the heirloom varieties over the 'supermarket year round long storage' types. Even though I don't live close enough to pick 'em myself, my 2 favorite farmers usually have about 15-25 varieties to choose from every week at the farmers' market.  I will definitely try the challah out before apple season is over.

:) Mary

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Mary,

It is really nice to have local fresh apples though I have not been able to store them successfully here beyond several months.  They are 'organic' which means there are little critters living in some and, if I don't catch the apples containing 'guests', they tend to spoil the whole batch.  

What would be ideal would be space to spread them out so none touch each other and I simply don't have that in my basement at the moment though I am thinking of ways to move things around so I can indeed save some and hopefully catch them and use them prior to their turning bad. 

I do miss the cool even temps of the Bay Area.  Growing up, our refrigerator small and was used primarily to store milk and left overs.  All else went into our 'cooler cabinet' which was built in and had holes drilled in the boards to allow circulation of fresh cool air.  Worked wonderfully.  Can't do that in our climate here in Colorado.

Thank you for your very kind complement. I look forward to seeing what you create using your local apples.

Take Care,

Janet

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a  thoughtful and beautiful way to say 'Thank You' to your local firemen!  

Beautiful bake, Janet.  Even without the crumb shot : ).  

It's been forever since I last baked a challah with apples.  I roll the apples up in the ropes..not messy at all and looks very pretty when sliced.

Sylvia 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for your generous kind words.

I thought about enclosing the apples in the ropes but was concerned that the sharp edges would pierce the dough and I would have mess on my hands so I actually followed their method figuring it was gonna be a mess anyway.  :)

I will have to try weaving them in next time and see what happens.  I have started doing that with my cinnamon raisin bread and my children love it because it disperses the cinnamon throughout the loaf more evenly than one large swirl.

Oh the endless ideas.

Thanks for checking in and commenting.

Take Care,

Janet

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Sounds and looks delicious! Yum. How healthy! Thanks for sharing, Janet.

Khalid

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Khalid,

Thanks for checking in.  I know you have a busy schedule to keep up with at home and work.  I appreciate your complements :*)

Take Care,

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and mixed in some buttered browned bread crumbs and a hand full of raisins,  didn't get around to using them until 4 days later.  Without any sugar, they sweetened themselves.  ...and they didn't turn mushy or brown!  They were packed together in a sealed plastic bowl refrigerated.  I think the sugar in the recipe pulls out water from the apples and makes it so messy.  Just saying that the apples can be cut up ahead of time.

.........................................................................

Used the recipe again on Tuesday but substituted salted butter for the oil and salt in the recipe.  Added 2 T water to the dough.  Rolled it out larger/thinner after doubling and made a grated hazel nut/grated apple raisin filling.  Rolled it up making a nice log the length of my edged cookie sheet.  Brushed with melted butter and let rise.  Took one hour to bake at 160°C (325°F)  The trick to baking a nut strudel is low long bake to make sure the insides are done.  Buttered the outside while hot.  Excellent nut strudel!  

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Mini,

Thanks for posting this.  

Question since I am about to make another one early next week and was going to include hazelnuts - very similar to the strudel you describe above.  My question:  how did you grate hazelnuts????   I can chop them in my coffee grinder but grating would take ages…Also, why did you grate the apples rather than just chopping them?  I am thinking they would turn into applesauce while baking due to small size = cook a lot faster = applesauce….

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

toasted and grated.  Austrian import.  Sorry.   Got a barrel grater? Putting them into the blender tends to turn them into nut butter.  Be so carful and pulse or tip the blender sideways if you dare it.  Yes, the apples turned into applesauce but that was my intention as I made a jelly roll type filled bread.  No reason why you can't leave them a bit chunky.  I find it easier to peel a whole apple cutting out the stem and flower end then grate, than to cut into wedges and chop up.  What ever works for you.  I also needed more moisture for the nuts so everything would stick together.  I was tempted to use some kind of cream cheese filling or pudding, something to suspend the nuts but settled on apple sauce for the very things you mention, faster baking in the dough and such.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks for the explantation.  I have a small hand grinder that I use and it creates nice chunks when I use it on hazelnuts and almonds.  Will consider chunks or grated on the apples as the day gets closer…..

What kind of mood I find myself in at the moment usually decides things last minute when I am undecided as to how to proceed ahead of time.  This batch will be cut jelly roll fashion - like cinnamon rolls so chunks will be the less messy route to take….unless I roll and cut like a babka loaf….decisions, decisions, decisions…..