Sunday, July 22, 2012

White Chocolate Blueberry Cream Cheese Challah

Jenn and I had to work on Friday and didn't have time to make a challah,  so we decided to make Saturday Challahday. There is a cute blueberry farm a few minutes from our house where we have gone blueberry picking the past three Saturdays. Usually we make a blueberry pie, however we thought that this week we would make a blueberry challah. Jenn isn't crazy about baked blueberries so we knew that it couldn't just be blueberry challah. I started searching online for ideas and came across a recipe for blueberry cheesecake challah. We used that as our inspiration for the week and put our "challah sisters" flair into it.

Before we could make our challah we had to stop at Shaw's to get some ingredients. Shaw's is currently having a summer giveaway where you collect game tickets by buying select bonus items and if you get the right pieces you can win prizes like 1 million dollars!!! Well Saturday was triple ticket day so Jenn was all over it. She went down every aisle to find bonus ticket items. Lets just say I have not seen our shopping cart this full in a long time and we ended up buying a lot of stuff we probably didn't need. After ringing up our items in two separate orders, to get more tickets duh, we left with 54 tickets, all of which we already had.

Recipe: (makes 1 big loaf)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp granulated (white) sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast (about 2 tsp)
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough and 1 for baste
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp oil
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
Blueberries (room temperature)
White Chocolate chips

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Mix in yeast and granulated sugar. Let stand for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam. Combine eggs, brown sugar, oil, cream cheese, honey and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add to the yeast mixture only after it has foamed and mix with a wooden spoon. It is okay for there to be chunks of cream cheese. This will go away when you knead the dough.

Add a 1/2 cup of flour at a time and mix the ingredients as you continue to add flour. After 1 cup of flour, add the salt, followed by the rest of the flour. Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to you hands.

Knead the ingredients until smooth and elastic and then form into a ball. Place the ball back in the bowl and then cover with plastic wrap for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Make sure the bowl is placed in a warm area.

Once the dough has doubled, knead it again to get the air out of it. Then put it back in the bowl and again cover with plastic wrap. This time it only needs to sit for about 30-60 minutes.

Remove from bowl and knead the dough again. We decided to make a round challah but feel free to do what every challah you want. Roll out your strands and add the blueberries and white chocolate. Jenn isn't a big fan of baked blueberries so we did not want to add too many, but this ended up being the right amount of blueberries. However, we definitely should have added more white chocolate.

Instead of folding up the strands and pinching them at the top, we rolled the strands and then pinched them closed.

After braiding our challah, we placed it back in our bowl (because it was round) and covered it with a damp towel. Allow the challah to rise for about 30 minutes then move to buttered cooking sheet and brush the challah with egg wash. This week our egg wash consisted of 1 egg, 1/2 tbsp water, and some brown sugar. We also sprinkled some brown sugar on top of the baste.

Cook for 40-60 minutes at 350. Usually our challahs only cook for 30 minutes but because it was round it cooked for longer. The challah is done cooking when the internal temperature is around 170 degrees or when the inside is no longer doughy. If the top of your challah reaches your desired color but the inside is not cooked enough yet, place foil over the challah in the oven.

By the time we were done eating most of the challah, we were too full to even have dinner. Although I say every week that this is our best challah, well this week really was our best challah!

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