Apple Cinnamon Challah

Posted on by on May 18th, 2011 | 30 Comments »

Challah, a Jewish braided egg bread that is traditionally eaten on the Sabbath and most Jewish holidays is one of those special treats that one would welcome at any and every meal.

The word challah originally referred to a piece of the bread that was set aside and baked separately  and given to the temple priest. After the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, women would set a piece of bread (challah) aside and burn it in remembrance of the priests portion. Today the entire loaf of braided bread is referred to as Challah.

Growing up I remember my mom always buying challah at the local bakery and up until recently I would do the same. I have always heard that challah is difficult to make and thought why should I bother when I can buy it? Then I met my husband. He took me to his mothers house one night for a Shabbos meal and out on the table were 2 baskets filled with hot, fresh, homemade challah. Im actually surprised my husband took me back to her home after I embarrassingly hoarded all the challah and ate it until there was none left. The first thing I said when leaving instead of your normal “thank you for having me” was “can I get that challah recipe?” Lucky for me not only did she give me her recipe (which yields 7, yes 7, loaves) but she also handed me an extra loaf she had in the kitchen.

I have been making my mother-in-laws challah ever since, following the recipe to a tee. Last week I decided to do something crazy, I changed it. I added chopped apples and some cinnamon and then ate it with some cinnamon butter. Heaven. I originally made it for my dad’s visit to Israel since it was all he requested (he loves her challah that much too). Unfortunately for him, the 2 loaves I made didn’t last very long and all but 2 slices were left when he got here.

Challah is easy to make, despite what you may think. The beautifully braided bread may seem intimidating at first but is well worth the effort and time put into making it.

If you want my mother-in-law’s perfect as is challah, just leave out the apples and cinnamon and add poppy seeds or sesame seeds to top after egg wash.

Ingredients (makes 2)

1/4 oz (about 2.8 Tablespoons.) instant yeast
1.2 teaspoon sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2.8 teaspoons salt
1.2 cups boiling water
2 pounds flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 apple, pealed and cut into small chunks
1 egg, beaten


In a medium mixing bowl mix together yeast, 1.2 teaspoons sugar, flour and cinnamon and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl mix together oil, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and boiling water and set aside.
In a large bowl beat eggs and add oil mixture and mix together using a wooden spoon.
Slowly add flour mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for 5-7 minutes.
Flatten dough out into a disk and fold in apple pieces.
Clean the large mixing bowl and coat with oil.
Place dough into oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel.
Let rise in a warm dry area for at least 2 hours (dough with double in size).
Pre heat oven to 350F and liberally grease 2 baking sheets.
Once dough has risen cut into 2 equal pieces using a sharp knife.
Take each piece of dough and cut into 3 equal pieces.
Roll out each piece into a long cylinder shape and lay side by side.
Pinch the ends of the dough together and braid (just like when you braid hair)
When done braiding, pinch the ends together tightly.

In a small dish beat egg and brush on top of challah.
Bake each loaf of challah separately for 30-35 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool completely or serve warm with butter, jam or cinnamon butter.

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  1. Posted on: 5-18-2011

    I absolutely adore challah – and this apple cinnamon makes it even better!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Belinda, with or without the apple and cinnamon this challah is probably the best ever!

  2. Posted on: 5-18-2011

    This would make some unbelievable french toast!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Lauren, it does!! I used some of it for french toast one morning. It was amazing!

  3. Posted on: 5-18-2011

    I love this kind of bread/braid..looks fantastic and very tasty! Gorgeous pictures too!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Sandra. You cant go wrong with challah, its the best!

  4. Posted on: 5-18-2011

    Oh, Beth Michelle, I felt like I could taste the bread through the computer screen! I get my challah from a friend who runs a sliding scale bakery in Durham…. There’s just something about that texture that cannot be rivaled!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Tiffany! Its true there is something special about challah that cannot be matched.

  5. Posted on: 5-18-2011

    Oooo lovving the apple and cinnamon….beautiful job on this loaf. I really must try making some challah.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Briarrose! Definitely try making it. You will not be disappointed!

  6. Posted on: 5-19-2011

    Oh, man! You’ve found a way to make challah even better!!! YUM!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Liz! I know, who would have thought that challah could get any better then the original?!

  7. Posted on: 5-19-2011

    Hi Beth! I’m so glad you are back and start writing a post! 🙂 Ho was your trip to Northern Israel? Lately I’ve seen quite a number of Challah recipe, but this is the first time reading the story behind. Very nice and educational post. Your version with apple and cinnamon. Hmmm I’d definitely prefer those over just plain. Simply I have sweet tooth too. And I’m glad you made the recipe for just 2 not 7. LOL. It’s always nice to have a family recipe, and you arrange it to your liking and passed it along generation. 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thank you so much Nami! My trip up north was wonderful! It was nice seeing some green ater being in the desert for so long. If you have a sweet tooth this is definitely the bread for you!

  8. Posted on: 5-19-2011

    This looks fantastic. I love the shape and apples and cinnamon are always a winner with my taste buds! I would love to try this! I have never eaten Challah but it looks delicious and flaky and moist… yum!!! Missed your posts!!!!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Manu! If you have never tried challah you MUST try this!! You will be hooked. Make one with the apple cinnamon and one without it. Both AMAZING

  9. Posted on: 5-19-2011

    This was so good. It’s all about the cinnamon butter…

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Katherine 🙂 mmmm cinnamon butter.

  10. Posted on: 5-19-2011

    I love your tak eon challah, it would be so good for breakfast! (or an anytime snack!)

  11. Posted on: 5-19-2011

    OMG!! I didn’t know this type of bread, but it’s simply amazing! It’s very beautiful, and it seems fantastic in the original version, I only imagine the apple-cinnamon one!
    I could only imagine the heavenly sensation of cinnamon butter *__*
    I definitely want to try that!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Giulietta! You should try it!

  12. Posted on: 5-20-2011

    it was so nice to read that history on challah since i had never heard of this bread or even tried it.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks cakewhiz. Its a must try!!

  13. Posted on: 5-20-2011

    this looks AMAZING! am DEFINITELY going to try it! i LOVE bread….

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks Bianca! Its delicious!

  14. Posted on: 5-22-2011

    Wow, pass me the French butter too!! 🙂 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 5-23-2011

      Thanks chopinandmysaucepan!

  15. Posted on: 9-17-2011

    This is such a beautiful loaf of bread! I can almost taste it. It looks like it has a soft, almost flaky texture. Mmm.

  16. Posted on: 1-17-2012

    this is one of my favorite breads and it looks like you made it perfectly!

  17. Posted on: 3-16-2012

    This looks yummm….. i love cinnamon taste.

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