Martha Monday: Apple Honey Challah

Posted by Brette in Food | Martha Mondays

mondaysI love challah. There’s a bakery near us that makes wonderful challah and I’ve been known to buy three loaves at a time so I can freeze some. I have a challah recipe of my own from a friend, but it’s never quite as good as bakery challah.

I was excited to learn that this week’s Martha Monday was Apple Honey Challah, from Sept Martha Stewart Living. If you’re going to make this recipe, you need to plan to spend the day at home. This thing rises three separate times! It took me about 6 hours from start to finish.

ready to rise

ready to rise

It wasn’t hard to make – your basic bread ingredients mostly. The biggest challenge I encountered was the apples. The recipe says to use apples that are sliced 1/4 inch thick. Slices do not work! I spent a long time, kneading away, trying to keep the apple slices in the bread. They fell out, landed on the floor, or simply would not incorporate. Finally, I pulled as many out as I

with apple pieces

with apple pieces

could find and chopped them up. Then they easily mixed into the dough.

This recipe did what it was supposed to otherwise – rose when it was supposed to and rolled out nicely and fit in the pan well.

Before you put it in the oven, you brush it with honey and butter and then brush it again once it comes out. This definitely enhances the natural sweetness of the bread.

I baked mine about 10  minutes longer than the recipe says because it just



was not brown enough on the outside. I made this earlier in the day and ended up putting it back in the oven to warm it for dinner, so it had some extra baking time.

This was wonderful bread. The honey makes it very sweet. It’s tender and soft and smells heavenly. The apples were not very noticeable and if I made this again, I would just skip them since I didn’t feel it added much. I did have one problem – the center of my bread was not cooked! I had raw dough at the very center.

challah6Everyone enjoyed this and all but the raw dough disappeared at dinner. I plan to heat the remains up in the oven and try to finish baking them. Other than that, this went very well and I was so proud of the way it looked! This was just as good as bakery challah!

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30 Responses

  • Other then time consuming, this was a very easy bread. I would dice the apples next time too! I’ve yet to give it a good tasting but it looks and smells heavenly. Great pick this week!

  • Glad you enjoyed it! Pru posted on her blog that she didn’t like it and fed it to the birds! I don’t know why though. Pru, can you tell us?

  • I thought this was great but I too had a hard time with the apples.

  • I love challah and I love the addition of apples for a seasonal twist. Next rainy day, I’ll try this out and remember to dice the apples:)

  • Sheryl says:

    I’ll bet your house spelled divine. I’m impressed…I love challah too, but can’t imagine myself taking on an all-day task like this one. Sounds yummy!


  • I’m a fan of challah bread too. I wonder if you could use the same recipe and do the basic challah shape instead of this one. Do you think it would cook through then? I love How to Cook Everything’s challah recipe. It’s a bit on the dry side but so easy and fast–and it makes great french bread on day two.

  • Yes, you could definitely braid this and it might cook through better.

  • Oh it did smell good! Once in a while I like to take a big job like this. It just feels so homey to me and makes me remember when my grandmother used to make bread.

  • Here is some bread baking advice straight from Martha’s Bread Baking Planner “Checking the internal temperature of bread is a foolproof way to tell if it is fully baked. Insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of the loaf (so you don’t puncture the top), straight into the center. The temperature should be 190 degrees.

    I have to admit I always check right through the top myself and it still works.

  • Nancy S says:

    I enjoyed making this yesterday since it was a dreary day and it did require a big time commitment. I also cut the apples in half. I liked the flavor they added and loved the bread. I appreciate your choosing it because I never would have tried it otherwise!

  • Thanks! That is a great tip. I wish the recipe had mentioned that.

  • Glad you enjoyed it!

  • This looks delish.

    I do wonder if they test the recipe…please? Slices not just not working a little, not working A LOT.

    But the finished product looks lovely and I love the idea of the honey in the bread…

  • Oh, I was not a happy camper with those apple slices flying around the kitchen. They would just eject from the bread as I was trying to knead it.

  • It looks yummy! Unfortunately, I am not a crafty person nor a baker. If it doesn’t come from a box, I’m hopeless. I can live vicariously through your blog! 🙂

  • Feel free to! There’s a lot to be said for vicarious living…

  • What a perfect twist for the Jewish New Year. Your photo is of what I call the swirled challah, which is served on holidays (as opposed to the braided, typically for Shabbat!). I may have to try this one…

  • You should be proud of how this looks, and I bet it tastes just as wonderful!

  • Hi Brette,

    Yours looks really good, a lot different from mine. I suppose I didn’t fully understand what to do with it when I had baked it – what did you serve yours with. I assumed that it was a dessert as it was on the back page of the magazine which used to have puddings/cookies on.

    I’m also not keen on honey. But I tried it which is the main thing. And I don’t think it was just me – even the birds wouldn’t touch it!


  • We ate as bread with our meal. Challah is always a sweet kind of bread. We usually eat it plain, with butter or to be really decadent, with jam. I think it’s great you tried it. Funny that the birds wouldn’t eat i!

  • Perfect timing as I am baking bread with my daughter’s class this week (Friday) and was going to do Challah. Though I will probably use at least 1/2 whole wheat flour. Do you mind emailing me the recipe (off the record that is?!): jennifermargulis [at]!

    I heart your cooking projects (though I haven’t tried the plums and chicken yet. But I’m looking forward to it and I did pick the plums!)

  • Hi Jennifer. I just sent it to you. Let us know how it turns out. I would love to know how it is with partial wheat flour. I try to convert a lot of recipes to using it, but was afraid it wouldn’t work in this one.

  • I’ll let you know. I’m tempted to throw the apples in the Cuisnart instead of chopping and slicing them (I have to make a triple recipe for the kids at my daughter’s school) but now that I see the pix on the recipe, and also your pix, I think that might diminish some of the beauty of the loaves.

    p.s. As you may notice from my comments, I always prefer to cook with whole grains and alternative sugars (like agave or xylitol). I usually make Challah with some whole wheat flour but when I make it all whole wheat it doesn’t have the same Challah-y feel, you know?

  • I definitely would chop them in the Cuisinart. You could also just leave them out. I didn’t really taste the apple.

    I know what you mean about the unique challah texture and flavor. It’s just so good – and so bad for you!

  • So, I made 4 X this recipe last night (it’s rising in the fridge) and I used almost entirely whole wheat flour. I was planning to do half and half but I ran out of white.

    Some comments:

    1) The dough was way too sticky even though I followed the ingredients and instructions exactly AND was using whole wheat flour. Did anyone else have to add almost an additional cup?

    2) This is a very expensive recipe when you are making it in large quantities. We only use organic ingredients and that many eggs and that much butter really makes it pricey.

    3) It smells heavenly so far.

    4) The recipe is way more complicated than it needs to be because the instructions, in my opinion, are not well laid out. I’m used to Mark Bittman. I think if it comes out well I will re-write the recipe to reflect a better and faster way of making the bread.

    5) I hope this can be braided as the kids at my daughter’s school tomorrow will be braiding the dough.

    and, finally,

    6) I haven’t prepared the apples yet but I think I will Cuisinart them (to facilitate braiding). I also wish I didn’t have to PEEL them, as all the nutrition is in the peel.

    More tomorrow…

  • Thanks for your detailed thoughts. I found it to be a bit sticky too and did some flour while kneading. I agree – it has a lot of eggs and butter so it’s not cheap nor low cal! Let us know how it goes with the kids!

  • Okay, here’s the report:

    The recipe works GREAT (perfectly) with whole wheat flour.

    The bread was delicious.

    I did find it way too cumbersome and I think that’s partially how the recipe itself was written. The kids in my daughter’s class really loved brushing on the honey and butter mixture but we skipped doing that again (again?! Martha!!) after their small challahs and other creations came out of the oven.

    I too had trouble incorporating the apples (I did use the Cuisinart but I ended up slicing them because grating them seemed too much like cheating) but I really liked how the apple tasted in the recipe.

    I think it could have used a bit MORE salt, even though I thought it was plenty as I was making it. Perhaps using salted butter would rectify this.

    Thanks for the challenge, Brette. I don’t know if I’d do it again but it was very fun to try.

  • That’s great that it works with whole wheat. It sounds like it was fun for everyone.

  • Raina Kass says:

    I was so happy to read all of the pointers and comments about this Challah-I planned on making it anyway, but just realized my daughter-in-law clipped the recipe from my magazine–Could you possibly e-mail it to me. Very much appreciated and can’t wait to try it. Thanks. Raina

  • Connie says:

    This challah was fantastic–especially when served warm! It was difficult to contain the apple slices while kneading so for the 2nd loaf, I diced 3/4 of the apples and stuck the remaining slices in the top and sides of the dough while rising. Also, the last brushing with margarine and honey was really too much and made the loaf too sticky for easy handling. This really is an all-day project–but my husband and guests really appreciated it.