Saturday, May 19, 2012

Raisin Challah

Yes.  You read that right.  Raisin Challah.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "Raisins ruin everything."  But you know, every so often you just have to take one for the team.  And by the team, I mean the Hazz and the lovely residents of the retirement apartments that he visited this afternoon.

When The Hazz was asked to sing some Shabbat songs and hang out with the residents at a local apartment building, he of course said yes.  Then they informed him that he had to bring the challah.  So, he turned to me and asked, "Can you make an extra challah?"

Can I?  I'd LOVE to make an extra challah.  We thought about it for a moment... would the residents like sesame seeds or poppy seeds?  Honey?  Finally, The Hazz pointed out, "You know what... how about raisins." I tweaked my Basic Recipe and Half-Batch Recipe and came up with something sort of in the middle size-wise.

Yield: 2 medium to large sized loaves

1 c water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 c bread flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 generous handful of raisins - we used Trader Joe's golden mix

See my Basic Challah Recipe for a complete method. Honestly, this recipe is nearly identical to the full batch and I'm slightly embarrassed really calling it a "recipe" at all. But because I've been soooo against raisins since starting this blog, I really felt the raisin challah deserved it's own post.
raisin_002 raisin_003
I don't mix the raisins in until right before braiding, but you can definitely add them before the first rise.
I try to keep the raisins inside each strand when braiding as much as possible.
Unfortunately, my beautiful {yet still terrible, ew... raisins} challah suffered a bit of an accident in the oven. Well, that is... during the turning process. Halfway through a bake, I rotate my pan 180 degrees. Somehow, that involved dropping my two challot onto the open oven door and nearly breaking the raisin challah. It survived because the bottom stayed intact, but it still was a sad, sad day!
Luckily, it tasted just great! {so they tell me...}
I still picked out all the raisins when we served it.