Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Caramel Chocolate Challah

Melted chocolate and gooey caramel in soft, warm, home baked bread, how can this combination be wrong? This loaf was my absolute favorite of the four loaves of Challah that I made! Unfortunately that also meant that it was the first loaf gone of the four. I was pretty sad when we polished off the last slice, enough so that I definitely plan to make another batch of this soon.

These next two loaves (the caramel chocolate and cinnamon raisin) came from the second batch of dough. Here is the monster rise of the second loaf, this time with no thumb prints! One of these days I will have to take a picture of this bowl next to a regular size bowl so you can really appreciate the rise of this dough. 

I separated the dough into two even balls and set one aside for the cinnamon raisin. I decided to do a four strand braid for this because I really liked the look of the four strand versus the three strand. I didn't want to attempt the six strand because I wasn't sure how easy it would be to have six strands that were filled. As it was you can see that the rolled strand with the caramel and chocolate pieces in it was pretty thick. For the filled strands, you roll out each strand similar to a cinnamon roll, put in the filling, and then roll it up and pinch the seam. All four strands then get pinched together and you braid it similar to the plain four strand.


The photo below shows the caramel chocolate on the left having risen for another 30 minutes and the cinnamon, sugar, and raisin on the right just ready for its second rise while the caramel chocolate goes in the oven. Timing wise it worked out great!

As you can tell, this variety was my favorite, favorite, favorite! I would definitely recommend making a loaf of this. Enjoy!

Caramel Chocolate Challah
Source: The Challah Blog

Basic Honey White Challah
1 1/2 cups warm water, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons dry active yeast

1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon oil (light colored vegetable oil, or olive oil if you prefer)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed (up to 8 or 9 cups total)
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
semi-sweet chocolate chips
caramel bits (or you can cut caramels into chip sized pieces) 
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons yeast. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes until foamy.

To the yeast mixture add the remaining water, honey, oil, eggs, salt and 5 cups of flour. Knead (by hand or with your mixer’s dough hook) until smooth, adding flour as needed. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

Transfer dough to a clean, oiled bowl; turn to coat or add a bit more oil on top. Cover bowl with a kitchen/tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 11/2 hours.

Punch down the dough, divide it into two sections. Use one half to make each loaf. 
For a four braid loaf, separate the one half dough into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece separately, spread chocolate chips and caramel pieces over rolled dough. Roll up the dough length wise (as you would a cinnamon roll), set each strand aside until all four are filled.
Pinch one end of all four braids together. Braid and tuck ends under. Place braided loaves on parchment lined or greased baking sheets, cover with a towel, allow to rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Brush tops loaves with egg wash. (Sprinkle with seeds or toppings here if wanted.) Bake loaves 30-40 minutes until done. Cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 loaves