Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Challah

We had a pretty crazy week here. I had to wake up early to make the challahs because we went on a boat ride on Friday and the challahs had to be done before we left. Also Jenn's friend Via was coming to visit so we had to make sure that we had good challahs, so the pressure was on.

I couldn't come up with a challah of the week and ended up wandering around my favorite place, Sudbury Farms, for a half hour for some inspiration. A few days earlier I had seen a cinnamon raisin peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co and decided I would make a cinnamon raisin challah with a peanut butter filling. So after 30 minutes in the super market all I left with was a box of raisins and 5 stolen peanut butter coupons.

Recipe: (makes 2 loaves)
3/4 cup of water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1.5 tbsp honey
3 jumbo eggs: 2 for dough and 1 for egg baste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 tbsp sugar
3-4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl by Peanut Butter & Co

Start off by pouring warm water into a large bowl. Our friend Stacy told us that adding sugar when adding the yeast helps the dough to rise. So add 1 tbsp of sugar, yeast, and honey to the water. Lightly mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon. Let the ingredients sit for a little over 10 minutes, you will start to see some bubbles.

Mix the eggs and vegetable oil together until the liquid is consistent throughout and then add to the large bowl.

Add the rest of the sugar (2 tbsp) and half of the flour. Then add the salt and cinnamon, followed by the rest of the flour. It is important that the dough is not completely solid when adding the cinnamon, because that makes it hard to evenly spread. Also, salt kills yeast so it's important not to add the salt before adding at least half the flour.

The recipe calls for 4 cups of flour but we used about 3.5 or 3.75 cups this time. You want to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands. When you knead the dough it should seem airy.

                                          Before                                                         After

Knead the ingredients with your hands and then form into a ball. Place the ball back into the large bowl and cover with saran wrap (plastic wrap). Let the dough rise for at least an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled, knead it again so that all the air bubbles come out.

We chose to do a 3 strand challah because we wanted to put the peanut butter inside the challah. Usually when we do a filled challah we like to do 3 strands so that it doesn't end up huge. But feel free to do as many strands as you want.

When you have the challah into balls add the raisins. Then roll out the balls into strands and flatten them out.

Add the peanut butter on top of each strand and then close the strand by pinching it. Braid the challah and then let it sit for about 10-20 minutes. Butter the cookie sheet while you wait. After placing the challah on the buttered sheet, baste the challah with the remaining egg. The egg should be previously mixed with a fork.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 or until internal temperature is around 170 degrees.

Wow that was some good challah! It definitely needed some more peanut butter so next time we will have to flatten out the strands even more. Also we should have added more raisins. Many times when adding stuff like raisins or chocolate it looks like you have too much, but you have to keep in mind that the dough will expand in the oven so the ratio will be different.

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