A new developing trend in my life is to bake some kind of bread every week. I have the ingredients, an oven, and an over-sized bowl… so why not? After opera on Friday night I began the no-knead bread process but made the fatal error of letting the 12-18 hour rising period take place in my oven. Before you say anything, no, I didn’t turn and leave my oven on overnight. But when its door is closed, the oven is always at at least 80 or 90 degrees–maybe more? So the dough just became a sloppy mess the next day.

To meet my quota I set out to make another challah: this time, the apple honey challah from Baking and Books.

apple honey challah

Two words: SO GOOD. I halved the recipe because I didn’t have enough milk and grated up some nearly overripe apples (and squeezed out the juice for later consumption) instead of using dried ones. The extra moisture led to needing more flour; I probably ended up using maybe a half cup to a cup more (?) than what the recipe called for.

Extra note: The tutorial for weaving a round challah linked in the recipe is a really good one, especially for those of us who have trouble dividing things into thirds.

Oh, and here’s what the inside looks like:

apple honey challah detail

The crumb is fairly dense but very, very soft. This thing smelled absolutely delicious all night and still has a good cinnamon aroma to it the next morning. The “grain” (is this the right word?) follows the contours of the braiding more so than my other (somewhat bloated) challah; not sure of this is because of density differences or because I only let this one rise 20 minutes (second rising; first was still two hours) before throwing it in the oven. I think I also prefer the egg + olive oil glaze over a plain egg one… crackly is good, in my book.

Basically, I am very much in love with this loaf of bread right now. And it’s already half gone :D

Next up in the bread queue, in no particular order: this focaccia, something with some combination of herbs, meat, and cheese in it, no-knead bread (I MUST get this right), bagels, beer bread (to practice for the summer! I have one bottle of Asahi. Any recipe recommendations?), sourdough (this seems difficult), and maybe some biscuits and scones.

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