What a work of art!
We were so excited when Allegra Benitah AKA 'Challah Mummy' agreed to develop a challah recipe using our Sri Lankan cinnamon ... and even more so when she dropped us a note: "the taste was so different from the usual cinnamon challah I make using supermarket own branded cinnamon" -- praise indeed from a true challah connoisseur.
1.5kg plain flour
1.5 cups lukewarm water
1 portion fresh yeast (approx. 40g, otherwise 1 tablespoon of active dried yeast)
6-8 tbsp caster sugar (plus one more tsp to mix in with the yeast)
2 eggs (plus one more egg white for the egg wash)
1 tbsp salt
¼ cup of sunflower oil
Rooted Spices Cinnamon
1 cooking apple (peeled and chopped into small pieces)
Pour the water into a bowl, add the extra teaspoon of sugar and dissolve the yeast into the water. Once bubbles start to appear on the surface of the water, pour in about a third of the flour, followed by the two eggs, the rest of the sugar, the salt and the oil.
Get your hands into the dough and combine the mixture, adding flour little by little as you go, until you get a big ball of dough which doesn’t stick to your hands. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and knead the dough about for 5-10 minutes, adding a bit of flour if it gets too sticky again. Place the dough in a lightly oiled cling film covered bowl to rise for about an hour and a half or until it has doubled in size.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead for 30 seconds. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece out flat into a circle (like a pizza base). Place the first circle onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle all over with cinnamon and apple pieces. Place the second circle on top of the first circle and sprinkle all over with cinnamon and apple pieces. Place the third circle on top of the other two circles but leave it plain.
Place an upturned kitchen glass down onto the centre of the top circle. Using a sharp knife, cut from the outer rim of the glass down right through the layers of dough in the positions of 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock so that your dough is divided into quarters but is still joined in the middle under the glass.
Divide each of the 4 pieces in half with the knife again cutting from the outer rim of the glass right down through the layers. Then divide each of the 8 pieces in half again using the same technique. Take two pieces of the dough one in each hand and twist them towards each other so that a triangular pattern starts to emerge. Repeat all the way round until each set of 2 pieces has been twisted together.
Remove the glass and egg wash the surface of the dough with egg yolk. Bake at the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes at 180 C.