Is it too early for a “variations” post? Probably, I think those are supposed to be for very established blogs that have a loyal following. Oh well, I’m doing one anyway! I stumbled on this challah when my latest Cooking Light magazine arrived.
Unlike a more traditional challah (such as the one in my very first post) this is a more savory version. It has a little bite with the chives (or in my case, green onion) and is so moist and you really can taste the cheese. I’ll admit, it won’t make the best French Toast, but you also probably won’t have many leftovers to deal with!
Can’t you just see bringing this to Thanksgiving this year? I can!
Cheese and Chive Challah
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
1 cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded fontina, Gruyere or another type of Swiss cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped chives/green onions
10.7 ounces bread flour (about 2 cups)
13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (start with 2 cups, add about one more cup as needed)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
pastry brush or new/clean paint brush
1. Combine the warm milk, sugar and dry yeast in a large bowl. Let it stand about 5 minutes or until it gets all bubbly.
2. Add the melted butter, salt, 5 egg yolks, 3 eggs. Stir in the cheese and chives.
**Great tip for separating eggs. Have three bowls available. Crack over one bowl and pass the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the shell. The white will slide into the bowl below.
Once it is done, dump the yolk into an empty bowl and move the white to the third bowl. This will prevent any cross-contamination between the whites and yolks! Repeat with the other eggs.
Don’t worry, the whites won’t go to waste. Put them in a plastic container, label with the number of whites and then stash it in the fridge. You’ll find some fun dessert to make with them I’m sure!***
3. Weigh or measure out the bread flour and all-purpose flour. If you are measuring then use the full 2 1/4 cups of bread flour but start with about 2 cups of all-purpose flour. You can always add up to 1 cup more if it is too sticky!
5. Lightly flour the counter and dump the dough out on it. Knead it until it is smooth and elastic. It will still be a little sticky, but you should be able to handle it easily. Add flour a little bit at a time if you think it needs it.
6. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and put the dough in, turning so it gets covered in the spray. Cover this with plastic wrap and stash it in your oven (MAKE SURE IT IS NOT TURNED ON) for about 45 minutes (or until it is doubled in size).
7. Gently deflate the dough and then re-cover and put it back in the oven for about 50 minutes or until it has again doubled in size.
8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a nonstick mat).
9. Divide the dough into 6 equal chunks. Roll each one into a rope about 15 inches long (or however long your baking sheet is!). Place three ropes parallel to each other and braid together. Repeat with the other three ropes.
10. Place the two loaves on a baking sheet and give them a light dose of the cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 minutes.
11. While the dough is rising (for the last time…phew!) preheat the oven to 375.
12. Whisk together the one whole egg with 2 tablespoons of water. When the dough has finished rising, gently brush this on the top of the loaves. Sprinkle with the shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
13. Bake in the 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Start checking it at about 15 minutes. It is done when the house smells like delicious bread and cheese and the top of the bread is a lovely golden brown. (Full disclosure: I realized halfway through the cooking that my timer hadn’t started! So, the cooking times are approximate).
14. Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!