Salted Caramel Apple Sourdough Challah

Happy Memorial Day! May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads. I had some sourdough starter that I’d been neglecting and my mom wanted me to do something with, and I’d seen a caramel apple challah sourdough recipe, so I knew what I had to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough eggs in the house for any of the sourdough challah recipes I saw, so I sort of…made my own? It came out pretty good, especially for an experiment, although I wish I’d cooked the caramel of the filling a few seconds less.

Ingredients:

Bread:

  • 3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup room temp water
  • 1 cup fed sourdough starter (I really don’t know much about sourdough and hydration and all that, but some poking around the internet leads me to believe mine’s 166% hydration)
  • 1/2  cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2  cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I just used a bunch of cinnamon, no nutmeg or ginger)
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

To make the dough, stir together the starter, water, and three cups of the flour.

Add the sugar, eggs, and salt, and stir together.

Sprinkle half a cup of the remaining flour on a clean surface and turn the dough out on it. Knead until smooth and only lightly tacky, adding as much of the last half cup of flour as necessary – I needed just over 3 1/2 total.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise 3 hours.

In the meantime, make the filling. Combine the chopped apples with the spices, lemon juice, and flour in a bowl and set aside.

Put the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and boil until the sugar turns medium brown, 5-7 minutes.

Too early!

Realistically… a few seconds too late. Oops. Still tasted good in the final product, but was a bit too bitter to eat alone because it was slightly overcooked.

When medium brown, lower the heat and gradually add the cream and butter, being careful of spattering sugar.

Simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon, until smooth and thick, about two minutes.

Stir in the sea salt. Remove from heat and cool about three minutes. Stir in the apples.

Let cool to room temperature. Store whatever’s not used in the bread to put on ice cream, pound cake, or just eat off a spoon.

When the apples are cooled and the dough has risen, divide the dough into three portions. Roll out into roughly 1/2″ thick ovals and spoon some of the apple mixture down each piece.

Carefully pinch together each piece into a (somewhat stumpy) rope, sealing as tightly as possible. Be careful not to get the caramel on the edges or they’re virtually impossible to seal.

Braid the three ropes together, then transfer to a foil-lined baking pan. I used a 9X13″ dish, as this had to fit in the oven with a few other things, and a cookie sheet wouldn’t’ve cut it. Brush with the egg/water mixture.

Cover and let rise one hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and rebrush the top with the egg wash.

Bake until browned, 60-65 minutes.

Let cool fully before slicing.

I grilled a few slices of this on a greased pan and it made a pretty fabulous breakfast. Yum!

Salted Caramel Apple Sourdough Challah

Filling and idea from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives.

Bread:

  • 3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup room temp water
  • 1 cup fed sourdough starter
  • 1/2  cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2  cup water
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

To make the dough, stir together the starter, water, and three cups of the flour. Add the sugar, eggs, and salt, and stir together. Sprinkle half a cup of the remaining flour on a clean surface and turn the dough out on it. Knead until smooth and only lightly tacky, adding as much of the last half cup of flour as necessary. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise 3 hours.

In the meantime, make the filling. Combine the chopped apples with the spices, lemon juice, and flour in a bowl and set aside.

Put the sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and boil until the sugar turns medium brown, 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat and gradually add the cream and butter, being careful of spattering sugar.

Simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon, until smooth and thick, about two minutes. Stir in the sea salt. Remove from heat and cool about three minutes. Stir in the apples. Let cool to room temperature.

When the apples are cooled and the dough has risen, divide the dough into three portions. Roll out into roughly 1/2″ thick ovals and spoon some of the apple mixture down each piece. Carefully pinch together each piece into a rope, sealing as tightly as possible. Braid the three ropes together, then transfer to a foil-lined baking pan. Brush with the egg/water mixture.

Cover and let rise one hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and rebrush the top with the egg wash. Bake until browned, 60-65 minutes. Let cool fully before slicing.

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About sparecake

My name's Corinne, and I like cake, cookies, and chocolate! Also, non-c-things such as ponies, Star Trek, and biking. I write a food blog and a blog about life, wide open spaces, and museum work. Nice to meet you!
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3 Responses to Salted Caramel Apple Sourdough Challah

  1. Ruth H. says:

    I love the creativity and how you made the recipe work for you and what you had availible! Your challah looks and sounds amazing, I hope it tasted even half as good as it seems! Thank you so much for baking with me this month!

    • sparecake says:

      Thanks for the challenge! It was fun having to be a bit creative – so often I just follow the recipe and it tastes good but there’s nothing new and exciting about it.

  2. Pingback: Red Velvet Pull-Apart Bread With Cream Cheese Glaze | sparecake

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