So after the Great Disappearing Challah Incident of 2009 (you know, that time the guests at our Chanukah party greedily ate all of the beautiful freshly baked challah bread before my roommate or I could photographically document its existence on this good earth), I felt the need to return to Challah bread. You know, so I could proved that I was not, in fact, lying to you all.
So here it is: Challah bread! New! Improved! FULL OF CHOCOLATE!
Chocolate Chunk Challah
Adapted from The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg
1.5 cups room temp water
.5 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar + more for sprinkling loaves
2.5 Tsp dry active yeast
4.5 – 5.5 cups all purpose flour
.25 cup + 2 Tbsp safflower oil
2 Tbsp honey
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into chip size chunks (or you could be a normal person and use chocolate chips)
Step 1: Combine .25 cup of water, 1 Tbsp of sugar, and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast, and allow mixture to sit 10-15 minutes until yeast is foamy.
Step 2: Combine, using an electric mixer, 1.5 cups flour, remaining sugar, oil, honey, 2 eggs, and the remaining water.
Step 3: Now using a dough hook attachment, add the yeast and 3 cups of flour, mixing on the lowest speed until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If your dough is still sticky, add up to 1 more cup of flour.
Note: If you don’t have access to a mixer with a dough hook, continue with your regular mixer as you add the yeast mixture. Once you have, switch to regular hand kneading to add the rest of the flour.
Step 4: Let dough rest 10 min.
Step 5: Turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into rectangle about 7in x 10in.
Step 6: Sprinkle chocolate onto dough, press into dough, and fold dough over. Seal edges of dough. Let rest 10 minutes.
Step 7: Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it to rise until it doubles in sizes, about 1-1.5. Be sure to cover bowl.
Step 8: Oil 2 baking sheets (or line with silpats if you are in your parents’ kitchen and have access to such things)
Step 9: Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and punch down.
Step 10: Roll each piece into a rope about 14 inches long. Braid into 2 loaves, 3 ropes each.
Step 11: Place on prepared baking sheets and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Paint with beaten egg after placing on baking sheets and every 15 minutes during rising.
Step 12: Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Before placing loaves in oven, paint with egg mixture a final time and sprinkle with sugar.
Step 13: BAKE! Until loaves produce a hollow sound when tapped on bottom. If they begin to brown too quickly, tent with foil. (Cooking time seems variable – the book I was using said 45 min, but my loaves were done after about 30 min)
Enjoy! Just so you know – this makes KILLER french toast. I’m not even kidding, this shit is bananas.