Challah . . . Then Cinnamon Roll Challah

Ok, this one is pretty easy… start here:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

CINNAMON ROLL PART

  • 1/3 cup butter (more or less),
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar (I use the dark kind)

DIRECTIONS

Take your warm water, and sprinkle your yeast over it. Let it sit for about 5 minutes while you’re working on the next step.

Beat TWO (2) of the eggs, the oil and honey together. It’s best of the eggs are room temp before you do this. Just as a heads up. You can add more honey if you like a sweeter taste too. Just note you might need more flour!

Mix in the egg/oil/honey mixture into your water/yeast mixture.

THEN

Add one cup of flour at a time, make sure you are mixing well each time you add it. I know it’s tempting to want to do half the flour at first, or multiple cups at a time, but trust me on this one. One at a time! Once you get to about 7 cups (which I know is hard to remember what cup you are on when counting them out) You’ll need to start kneading it with your hands. Make sure your 8th cup is already measured out so you can easily add it while kneading.  It may require more than 8 cups, maybe a little less, but when the dough is no longer sticky, you are set.

Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and put it somewhere warm to rise. (Bathrooms with full running steam work wonders!) The dough needs to double in bulk, this should take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on your temperature and altitude.

Once it’s risen, take your fist and beat that sucker back down. You don’t need to hospitalize it or anything, just let it know what’s up and who is boss.

Dump your dough onto a FLOURED surface. Guaranteed this stuff will stick when you start to work with it if you don’t have flour down. And it’s not pretty when it does.

Knead for about 5 min, and then decide how much Challah you want, and how many Cinnamon rolls you want. If you only want Challah, just cut that bad boy in half. If you want both, but only need a small challah (serves 5-6 people during a dinner) Then cut it about 40% & 60%.  Toss your 60% in the bowl to hang out while you make the Challah.

Cut your dough into 3 equal pieces and roll it between your hands to make dough snakes. They should be about an inch in diameter, and it really does take a bit of practice to get them right. Don’ t worry though, because once it bakes, you can’t even tell. Once you  have your 3 snakes you can braid them into a single loaf, or get cute and make a circle out of them. Loaf style is easiest in my book… and if you can’t braid…well, I don’t know how to help you. Just alternate the criss-crossing of the snakes over each other, but make sure you smoosh (yes, that’s technical) the ends together.

Put your Challah on a GREASED baking sheet. Sure, you’re thinking, WAIT, you can’t use GREASE when you are making Challah! I’m not advocating the use of pork fat here, I personally use Crisco Vegtable shortening. It works like a champ. You’ll want it for your cinnamon roll pan too. So make sure your pan is good and greased! Then, cover the challah with a DRY cloth and let that bad boy raise for about another hour (yes, it’s time consuming, but relatively easy!)

After you are done with that…

Do you remember that 3rd egg we didn’t use? When I told you to get 3, then only used 2, and you were all, hey what about this one?!?! Beat that egg with a fork and get it all nice and mixed up. Then take a basting brush and brush that egg all over the top of your Challah. This gives it a nice golden look.

Bake your Challah at 350 degrees F. It should take somewhere between 20 min and 40 min depending on the size of your Challah and again your altitude. When it can handle a nice thump, sounds sort of hollow, you are set. We like ours a little on the chewier side, so 30 min is about perfect for us!

BUT WAIT!!! WHAT ABOUT THE CINNAMON ROLLS!?!?!

This part is also super easy and you can do this while your challah loaf is rising. Take the remainder of the dough and try to roll it out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick, the best you can. It won’t be perfect but don’t worry about that.

Melt 1/3 cup butter (yes butter, no margarine..eww) and brush that ALL over the top of your dough. THEN sprinkle cinnamon over the butter. I don’t usually measure this, I just give it a nice dusting. THEN sprinkle a nice layer of brown suger over the top of all of this. Mine usually is covered so thick you can’t see the dough, or just barely.

Carefully roll the entire thing into a log, the long way. If you do it the short end, you’ll only have a few rolls, allbeit, mega thick!

Using a super sharp knife, cut the rolls into 2 inch thick sections, then place side by side in a GREASED glass baking dish. Let these also rise for about an hour, then bake at 350 for about 35-45 min. Again, we like them chewier, but if you want thicker more bready type, bake for a few extra minuets.  Once they are done, immediately take them out and dump them upside down into a larger glass pan (if you have one) or onto a platter. This will help them from sticking and lets the gooey suggary mess soak back into the rolls. I like to use wax paper in the bottom of the NEW glass pan to prevent more sticking. Cover with tinfoil and let rest (unless you want to eat, in which case, apply frosting and enjoy!)

You can easily toss this pan in the oven the next morning for about 20 min on 350 to heat them back up. I wouldn’t recommend microwaving them because this makes them hot quickly, but then super chewy (not the good kind) shortly thereafter.

For the perfect cream cheese frosting recipe, check it out under it’s own link. This stuff is perfect for red velvet cupcakes, (recipe coming) cinnamon rolls, or pumpkin cupcakes!

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