Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bailey's Irish Cream Challah

We have been talking about making a Bailey's Irish Cream challah for a long time. Not because we are big fans of the drink, but rather because our dog is named after the drink. Bailey is a huge part of our family. Recently we bought a car and we had to make sure that it would be accommodating for our dog. The first thing we would ask when entering a car dealership was whether the back windows would go down all the way. Our dog likes to put his head out the window and it is more comfortable for him when he can rest his head. Yes everyone thought we were crazy, and this really did limit the cars we could buy. Spoiled right? Literally this dog is practically human, he goes to play group, smiles, speaks, and enjoys eating Oreos. Well Bailey's birthday was last month so we wanted to make something special for his 7th birthday.

Bailey at play group on his birthday:

This recipe was the hardest to come up with because we were using the Bailey's as flavoring. We originally started by adding the yeast to the Bailey's, instead of adding it to water as usual, but it never activated. I'm not sure if this was because of something that was in the Bailey's or because it was a bad package of yeast. As a result we had to add the yeast to water and then add the Bailey's later. We also started experimenting with the yeast. Yeast activates best in a warm environment. The lowest temperature our oven can be set to is 170 degrees, which would be too hot for the dough. Instead we set the oven to 170 and when it reached 115 we turned it off. When you turn off the oven add the dough and let it sit. The warmer environment caused the dough to become even bigger when sitting.

Recipe: (makes 2 loaves)
1/4 cup water
1 packet of active dry yeast (about 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough, 1 for baste
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp honey
3 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
heath milk chocolate toffee bits
white chocolate chips

Pour the water into a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and the white sugar. Place the mixture in a warm place. We placed the bowl in the oven at 115 degrees, but you could also place it in the oven with the oven light on. Let stand for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam.

Mix Bailey's, 2 eggs, brown sugar, oil, and honey in a separate bowl. Add to the yeast mixture after it has foamed and then mix thoroughly.

Add 2 cups of flour, followed by the salt, and then the rest of the flour. Make sure you mix the flour as you are adding it. Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to you hands.

Knead the ingredients and form into a ball. Place the ball back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place, either in the oven at 115 degrees or with the light on. Let the bowl sit for an hour. After an hour knead the ingredients, place dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put back in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.

Dough rising in Oven

Remove from bowl and knead the dough again to get the air bubbles out. We decided to make a round challah and knots but you can do any challah shape. Roll out your strands and add a layer of caramel, make sure not to add too much though because it will become too hard to close if the caramel oozes out. Then sprinkle the heath and chips and fold to close.

After braiding the challah place it on a buttered cookie sheet and allow it to rise for about 30 minutes. Then baste with egg wash (1 egg, 1/2 tbsp water and some brown sugar). We also sprinkled some brown sugar on top of the baste.

The knots and braids take about 25 minutes to cook and the round challah takes 40-60 minutes (depending on the size) at 350. The challah is done cooking when the internal temperature is 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.

Look how cute, a dog paw!

YUM YUM YUM! There is so much stuff to love inside this challah!

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