Monday, June 25, 2012

Mocha Chunk Challah

You are probably wondering to yourself, wait is it Friday already? Well unfortunately the week is just starting, but that does not mean that we cannot have challah. Today was one of those rainy days where you don't feel like leaving the house, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe. After all, according to Rabbi LeighAnn, calories don't count when the food is Jewish, so you never have to feel guilty when eating challah. Okay so maybe this doesn't exactly fall into that category because we are not eating the challah on Shabbat, but we can pretend.

Anyway, we decided that we wanted to make a mocha chunk challah. I'm not exactly sure how the idea of a mocha chunk challah came to be. It was our mom that made me think of it, probably because she cant survive a day without Starbucks. We have never made a coffee flavored challah before, or for that matter ever heard of one so we had to be real creative.

Recipe: (makes 2 loaves)
3/4 cup of Cafe Mocha from Keurig
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 tbsp honey
3 jumbo eggs: 2 for dough and 1 for egg baste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp sugar
4 cups of flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 cup Nestle chocolate chunks

We started off by making Cafe Mocha flavor coffee from Keurig in the smallest amount it could produce, to have the strongest taste. That ended up being a little under 3/4 cup of liquid, so we filled the rest of the measuring cup with water to be at the 3/4 cup mark. If you don't have a Keurig you can probably substitute for any cafe mocha flavored coffee.

We then put the coffee in the fridge to speed up the cooling process, as we want the liquid to be at room temperature. Once the liquid was warm, we put it in our big mixing bowl, added the yeast, and honey, lightly stirred the ingredients and then waited to see small bubbles. These bubbles let us know that the yeast is working, if you listen closely you can even hear a sizzling noise. It takes about 10 minutes for this to happen after mixing the ingredients.

Look how there appears to be a ring around the mixture. That is because all the bubbles have moved to the inside.

Combine 2 of the jumbo eggs with the vegetable oil and mix until the liquid appears consistent throughout. Add the the big bowl and mix those ingredient together. Then add the sugar.

Add the flour cup by cup, mixing after each cup. The recipe calls for 4 cups of flour but you may need more or less depending. You will know when you have added enough flour when it no longer sticks to your hand. After about the second or third cup of flour add the salt. We don't want to add the salt too early because salt kills yeast and the presence of the flour prevents this from happening.

Kneed all the ingredients and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit for at least and hour, as we want the dough to double in size.

After the dough has doubled, add the chocolate chunks. This recipe makes 2 challahs. I usually find that the chunks end up dispersed more evenly when the dough is divided in half and then 1 cup of chunks is added to each half. After the chunks are added, braid the challah whatever way you would like. We decided to do a heart shaped braid and a four strand braid.

Butter the baking sheet and place one challah on it's own sheet. We found that when baking 2 challahs, they come out looking better when on different sheets, and then switching which pan is on top half way though. Crack the remaining egg into a bowl and mix the whites and yoke. Then glaze the challah with the yoke. We decided to sprinkle some sugar on top of the challah, do this only after glazing the challah.

Sprinkling the challah with sugar
Put pans into the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until internal temperature is around 170 degrees. Remember to switch the top and bottom pan half way.


Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm Yummy!
We were worried that we wouldn't be able to taste the mocha flavor. So far we have only eaten the four strand challah, which in my opinion has way too much chocolate. The chocolate sort of over powered the mocha but you could still taste a hint of it.

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