Happy Saturday to you! Calling all Nutella fans! This is the stuff of your dreams!! Tender, eggy bread with swirls of chocolate hazelnut spread throughout. YUM!!! You probably won't be surprised when I tell you that it's very easy to eat. But you probably will be surprised to learn that it's actually not difficult to make. Though it takes a few hours from start to finish, most of the time is just allowing the dough to rise, so if you're not too swamped, putting this together would be a fun weekend project. Imagine the joy you will bring to your house!!
In case you're not sure what challah is, let's just say that it's a traditional Jewish egg bread (a bit like brioche) that's slightly sweet and soft and generally braided, sometimes into a circle, which you may be seeing a lot of now that it's almost Rosh Hashanah, and it's seriously delicious (it also makes amazing french toast!!) This version, with the Nutella swirled throughout, takes things up a notch and squarely puts this bread into the dessert camp, although no one will be turning it down for breakfast, thank you very much! And because it's made with whole wheat pastry flour, you can ease your conscience just a bit.
Once you've made the dough (which comes together easily in the mixer) and let it rise twice, you divide it into three balls--
Roll each ball into a long rope and roll out the rope into a large rectangle.
Then you spread that rectangle with a generous amount of Nutella--
And roll up the dough, jelly-roll style.
When all three are done, you pinch the tops together, braid them into a nice, long challah and brush the whole thing with a little beaten egg.
After another short rise, you brush the whole thing with the beaten egg again, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake.
Your house will smell amazing!
And you will be rewarded with a gorgeous, swirly, fluffy irresistible loaf!
To those of you who celebrate, Happy New Year!! And if you're looking for just a normal recipe for just a good old fashioned challah, give this one a try--it's a guaranteed crowd pleaser too!
Makes one large loaf
Prep Time: About 3 hours, but most of this is rising time; Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour or white whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out etc.
- Softened butter for greasing the bowl
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Sugar for sprinkling
1. Fit your mixer with the dough hook and add the warm water, yeast, brown sugar, oil, 2 eggs and salt to the bowl and mix on medium speed until combined. Keep the mixer on low and slowly add both of the flours and mix until the ingredients are all incorporated and the dough begins to come together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix for another 3 minutes or so. (if you don't have a break hook, just use your regular beaters until the dough comes together and then just knead for longer.)
2. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto your counter or board and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough by hand until it's smooth. If it keeps being sticky, add a bit more flour and continue to knead. Use the softened butter to grease the mixer bowl you've just used and return the kneaded dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap tightly and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it's almost doubled in bulk.
3. Punch down the dough, cover it again with the plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 minutes.
4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Flour your board again. Turn the dough onto it and divide it into 3 equal sized balls. Use your hands to roll each ball into a rope that's about 12 inches long--it doesn't have to be exact but you want all three ropes to be the same size. Now use a rolling pin to roll one of the ropes into a 12x6-inch rectangle. Spread about 1/3 cup of the Nutella all over the surface of it. Now starting at the long edge, roll up the dough so that you now have a Nutella-filled rope. Pinch the edges to seal. Transfer the rope to the prepared pan, seam-side down and repeat the process with the other two pieces of dough, placing them side by side on the pan.
5. Pinch the tops of the 3 ropes together and begin to braid the ropes. Bring the right rope over the center rope--this now becomes the center. Bring the left rope over the new center rope and that one now becomes the new center. Repeat this process until the ropes are fully braided. Pinch the ends together to seal them.
6. Brush some of the beaten egg all over the loaf and let it rise for 30 minutes in a warm place, uncovered. Reserve the rest of the egg for later use.
7. Preheat oven to 350ºF and make sure oven rack is centered. Brush the challah with the egg again and sprinkle all over with the sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the loaf is golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Then slice and swoon!!
Note: Recipe adapted from The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard.