Beni’s Round Raisin-Apple Challah

A round raisin chal­lah sym­bol­izes the cycle of life. This bread is more spe­cial than the braid­ed Fri­day-night chal­lah we nor­mal­ly eat on Shab­bat because it is dipped in hon­ey so the new year will be a sweet one. Along­side the chal­lah, apples are also dipped in hon­ey to be sweet for the com­ing year. Beni got the idea to place apples on top of the chal­lah from his neigh­bor Marni, who is quite the baker!

2 pack­ages of dry yeast dis­solved in 2 cups of warm water
Pinch of sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg white (reserve yolk)
1 tea­spoon salt (option­al portion)
2 table­spoons veg­etable oil

2/3 cup honey
9 cups unbleached flour
1 cup dark raisins
12 tea­spoon cinnamon
1 sweet red apple, peeled, cored,
thin­ly sliced (option­al)

  1. Dis­solve yeast in 2 cups warm (not boil­ing) water or use a food ther­mome­ter to around 105 degrees Fahren­heit. Add sug­ar. Stir. Set aside at room tem­per­a­ture for 10 min­utes until the liq­uid foams.
  2. Beat 3 eggs and 1 egg white. (Reserve yolk for lat­er.) Add salt, oil, and hon­ey to mix­ture and con­tin­ue beating.
  3. Put flour in large bowl. Indent cen­ter, mak­ing a well with your fist. Grad­u­al­ly add yeast mix­ture to flour, stir­ring cen­ter with a wood­en spoon until it is ful­ly absorbed. Stir in liq­uid from Step 2.
  4. Mix by hand. Fold in raisins and cin­na­mon. (Sprin­kle light­ly with flour if dough is sticky.) When dough is smooth, place in a greased bowl. Cov­er with a dish tow­el. Keep in warm spot for 1 – 2 hours. Let dough rise until it dou­bles in size. Punch dough down.
  5. Knead dough for 5 min­utes on a floured board or sur­face until the dough tight­ens and is no longer sticky. Divide into 2 balls. Form each ball into a roll between your fin­gers to make a snake­like rope about 18 inch­es long. Shape cir­cle by twist­ing the rope into a spi­ral with the end of the snake tucked under the round.
  6. Let dough rise again, uncov­ered, for 1 hour on greased bak­ing pan or cook­ie sheet until dou­bled in size.
  7. Pre­heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Egg wash: Gen­tly beat the reserved egg yolk with 1 tea­spoon cold water. Coat the loaves with the egg mix­ture using a clean, 1‑inch pas­try brush. This will give the chal­lah a gold­en glaze when it is baked.
  9. Cut cir­cle halves of an apple into paper-thin slices with a knife or man­dolin to dec­o­rate the top of chal­lah, par­tial­ly lay­er­ing slice over slice.
  10. Bake for 25 min­utes or until gold­en brown.

Yield: 2 Loaves

From Beni’s Tiny Tales: Around the Year in Jew­ish Hol­i­days by Jane Bre­skin Zal­ben. Reprint­ed by per­mis­sion of Christy Otta­viano Books, an imprint of Lit­tle, Brown Young Readers/​Hachette Book Group.

Jane Zal­ben has cre­at­ed over fifty award-win­ning books for chil­dren: pic­ture books, nov­els, poet­ry, short sto­ries, cook­books and non-fic­tion. She is also an abstract painter, a for­mer art direc­tor at Scribner’s and has taught writ­ing, illus­tra­tion, and design at the School of Visu­al Arts in New York City for eigh­teen years. Jane explores issues of fam­i­ly, friend­ship, self-reliance, inner strength, peace and reli­gion, and the cre­ative process of music and art. Jane has won 4 sil­ver Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and has been exhib­it­ed in libraries, gal­leries, and muse­ums. Her stu­dio is on Long Island.