Cinnamon-Apple Raisin Challah

Recipe by PJ Hamel

Challah is typically made as a long, braided loaf, its crust a shiny golden brown from a glaze of beaten egg applied before baking. But Rosh Hashanah challah, which celebrates the Jewish new year, often appears in a round shape signifying the circle of life. This particular challah is studded with fresh apple and raisins, and rolled in an aromatic coating of cinnamon sugar — autumn flavors to complement the September Rosh Hashanah holiday.

20 mins
38 to 42 mins
3 hrs 13 mins
one 9" round challah
Cinnamon-Apple Raisin Challah


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  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them, by hand, mixer, or bread machine, until you have a soft, smooth dough.

  2. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 1 to 2 hours (or more, if you don't use SAF Gold yeast), or until it's puffy though probably not doubled in bulk.

  3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

  4. Pat and roll the dough into a 36" rope, tapering one end. Poke any raisins or apple bits sticking out of the dough back underneath the dough's surface; this will help prevent them from burning in the oven. Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar, rolling it around to coat as completely as possible.

  5. Starting with the tapered end, coil the rope loosely into a lightly greased 9" round cake pan, starting at the center and working outwards.

  6. Cover the loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap (or place it in a proof box), and let it rise until it's very puffy, 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

  7. Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon water, and brush this glaze over the risen loaf. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon sugar.

  8. Place the cake pan atop a baking sheet; this will insulate the bread's bottom crust, and keep it from browning too much. Put the challah in the lower third of the oven, and bake it for 20 minutes.

  9. Tent the challah loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 18 to 22 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register 200°F or above.

  10. Remove the bread from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool.

  11. Yield: one 9" spiral challah.