Monday, August 13, 2012

PB&J Challah

It's peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time, peanut butter jelly time. So maybe I didn't use a baseball bat to make the challah this week but this song was definitely stuck in my head the whole time I was baking. This week's challah put a sweet twist on everyone's favorite sandwich. It is surprising to see that Lindsey would even want to make a peanut butter and jelly challah because when she was younger even the smell of peanut butter would make her run the other direction. Everyday our mom would make her a "just jelly" sandwich for lunch. There were a few times that my mom would use the same knife for the peanut butter, which she used in Jeffrey and my sandwich, and the jelly. Lindsey would somehow always smell or taste the small amount of peanut butter and come home complaining. It wasn't until she went to college that her distaste of peanut butter turned into an obsession.

Recipe: (makes 2 loaves)
3/4 cup water
1 packet of active dry yeast (about 2 tsp)
1 tbsp white sugar
3 extra large eggs: 2 for dough, 1 for baste
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1.5 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
optional: chocolate and/or white chocolate chips

Mix water, yeast and white sugar into a mixing bowl. Place in a warm place. This could be next to a window that gets sunlight, in the oven at 120 degrees or any other way to warm the mixture. Let stand for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to foam.

In a separate bowl mix 2 eggs, brown sugar, 2 tbsp oil, honey and vanilla. Add to the yeast mixture after it has foamed.

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. Oil the large bowl and then roll the ball of dough in the oil. Place the ball back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place. Let the bowl sit for at least an hour and a half.

Remove from bowl and knead the dough to get out all the air. Roll out the strands. We chose to make 4 strands, 2 peanut butter, and 2 jelly. However, I recommend making an odd number of strands and having more jelly strands than peanut butter. The jelly is much thinner so you don't get as much flavor. Also, because it is wet it can be hard to close the dough causing the jelly to leak out as seen below.

We added semi sweet chocolate to the jelly and white chocolate chips to the peanut butter. The semi sweet was not very good in the challah but the white chocolate was amazing, especially because we used white chocolate peanut butter.

After braiding the challah, place on a buttered cookie sheet and allow to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm place. Baste with egg wash (1 egg and 1/2 tbsp water) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 or until internal temperature is around 170.

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