Red Apple Golden Cheddar Challah

Photo: Red Apple Golden Cheddar Challah Bread.
National Festival of Breads Finalist
Judi Berman-Yamada, Portland, OR

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Makes 2 large loaves, 16 slices each.

Ingredients

2 cups lightly packed, coarsely shredded red apple with skin, about 2 medium apples* 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
½ cup warm water (100° to 110°F) 
¼ cup honey plus 1 tablespoon honey, divided 
2 (1/4 ounce) packages Active Dry Yeast 
1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour 
1 tablespoon sea salt 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 large eggs, beaten 
4 - 4 ¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, divided 
2 cups coarsely shredded, extra sharp Cheddar cheese 

TOPPING 
1 large egg plus 1 tablespoon water 
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, sesame, or poppy seeds, divided 
½ cup coarsely shredded, extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided, optional 
*Two varieties of apples may be combined, for example, Braeburn apple and Pink Lady apple. 

Instructions

1. Combine shredded apple with lemon juice; set aside. Combine warm water and 1 tablespoon honey. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes. 
2. In large mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine yeast, white whole wheat flour, salt, ¼ cup honey, oil and 2 eggs. Beat 1 minute. 
3. Gradually add 2 cups bread flour; beat 2 minutes on low speed; scraping bowl. Mix in shredded apple and 1 cup bread flour; mix on low speed until flour and apple are incorporated into dough. Add 2 cups cheese; beat on low speed 2 minutes. 
4. Gradually add enough of the remaining 1 cup bread flour until soft dough is formed. Add the last ¼ cup flour, only if the dough is too sticky. Knead with dough hook or by hand 8 to 10 minutes until soft and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 1 hour. 
5. Punch down dough; divide dough into half. Divide each half into six equal pieces; cover, let rest 10 minutes. 
6. Six-Strand Braid: Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch rope, tapering ends. Lay 6 ropes side- by-side; pinch together at top. Always start with the rope that is furthest to the right. Take the rope furthest to the right and weave it towards the left through the other ropes using this pattern: over 2, under 1, over 2. Take the ropes furthest to the right and repeat the pattern again until the whole loaf is braided. Pinch ends together; tuck under loaf and seal. Transfer braid to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining half of dough. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 45 to 60 minutes. 
7. Whisk egg and water until frothy; gently brush on the risen braids, and sprinkle each braid with 1 teaspoon seeds. 
8. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle ¼ cup cheese on top of each braid. Rotate pan, front to back in the oven. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Tent loaves with foil; bake until golden brown and thermometer inserted in the center registers 190° to 195°F. Cool braids on pan 10 minutes; remove to rack. Bread may be frozen for 1 month; defrost in bag. 

Nutrition Information

One slice provides approximately 142 calories; 6 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 5 g fat (2 g saturated); 27 mg cholesterol; 34 mcg folate; 1 mg iron and 283 mg sodium.

Kansas Wheat Commission Test Kitchen Note

Use the dough to make about 2 dozen Challah dinner rolls.

Baker’s Bio

From an early age, Judi realized the best way to have her favorite treats around was to make them herself! After baking her first cherry pie at age 10, Judi was hooked. Today, fruit pies are one of her most requested baked goods along with her traditional Challah bread, whole wheat masa biscuits, and sesame crackers. She enjoys spending her free time baking, recipe writing, culinary gardening, taking zumba classes, long walks on the beach and entertaining friends. Judi is the owner of a bed and breakfast cottage in her Portland, Oregon home.