Chocolate Cherry Challah

chocolate cherry challah braided bread

I had a whole load of egg yolks left over from making meringue kisses the other day and obviously didn’t want to throw them away, so had to come up with something to make with them. The obvious choice was ice cream but I already had a freezer full so didn’t really want to add any more to it, and wasn’t in the mood for any kind of custard based desserts, I was kind of in the mood to bake some bread though. Challah is a traditional Jewish enriched bread made with eggs or egg yolks so was the perfect recipe to use them up. I always prefer to make some soft of flavoured bread rather than a plain loaf though, so I had a rifle through my baking supplies cupboard (which I am trying to clear out a bit, it has become slightly overflowing…) and came across a jar of morello cherries which I had bought a while ago as they were on offer and subsequently forgotten about. I figured that they would work well in a loaf of bread and decided that as “chocolate cherry challah” had a nice ring to it that is what I would go for. chocolate cherry challah loaf

Challah is traditionally braided, I decided to challenge myself a little and go for a six strand braid (I had to re-do it a couple of times before I got it right, but I got there in the end!), but you can do any number of strands that you are comfortable braiding, I followed the technique in this video which was very helpful if you want to go for six strands, or just do three if you want to keep it simple. The filling is made with grated chocolate, the drained and roughly chopped cherries, a little sugar and some cornflour to stop the dough from becoming wet from any cherry juice, and a bit of cinnamon. I divided the risen dough into six equal pieces and rolled each piece out into an oblong shape, spread the filling down the centre of each, and rolled them up tightly, as if I were making cinnamon rolls. I then shaped each piece into a tapered rope and braided them together. Spreading, rolling and braiding the filling like this ensures that it is evenly distributed throughout the loaf and every bite has plenty of chocolate cherry flavour.

cherry chocolate challah

The bread is wonderfully soft and flavourful, and the chocolate cherry filling is delicious – chocolatey but not too sweet, with bursts of tangy cherry. The dough is risen in the fridge overnight so baking the loaf can be split over two days, meaning it is not that much effort to make, and the overnight rise really helps to develop the flavour of the bread. The deep sheen on the surface of the loaf is achieved by egg washing it twice – once before it goes into the oven, and again after it has been baking for 15-20 minutes, the second wash covers any areas that have become exposed due to ‘oven spring’, but you can skip the second one if you like.

cherry chocolate challah braid

Chocolate Cherry Challah
 
Author:
Makes: 1 loaf
Ingredients
Dough
  • 250ml (1 cup + 1 tbsp) lukewarm water
  • 7g (2 tsp) fast action yeast
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 50g (2 oz) runny honey
  • ½ tbsp vanilla extract
  • 485g (3 + ¼ cups) strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
Filling
  • 125g (4.5 oz) dark chocolate, grated or very finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 270g (9.5 oz) morello cherries in syrup from a jar or tin (drained weight)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash
Instructions
  1. Gently whisk together two thirds of the water, the yeast, egg yolks, oil, honey and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix to combine, add the remaining water as needed to create a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes, either in a mixer or by hand until the dough is soft and supple. It should feel slightly tacky but not sticky.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight. (It can be left in the fridge for a couple of days if needed)
  4. The following day, take the dough out of the fridge and divide into as many equal portions as strands you are going to plait (I did 6, but you can just do a 3 strand plait if you want to keep it simple).
  5. Drain the cherries, roughly chop them and then pat dry with kitchen roll, you don't need to get them completely dry but try to remove any excess liquid. Mix the cherries together with the chocolate, sugar, cornflour and cinnamon (if using).
  6. Roll each piece of dough out into an approx 14x5 inch oblong (if you are doing a six strand plait), or 14x8 inch if you are doing a three strand one.
  7. Divide the filling equally among the pieces of dough and spread it out over the centre of each, leaving an inch gap around the edges. Roll each piece up tightly from the long side (like making cinnamon rolls), pinch to seal, and then roll each cylinder (with your hands) into 18-21 inch rope-like strands, tapering the ends slightly.
  8. Braid the strands together as you like, using the above video for help to make a six strand braid if needed.
  9. Transfer the braid onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper or a silicone liner, lightly cover with greased clingfilm and leave to rise for about 1½ hours until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  11. Brush the risen challah with egg wash and bake for 45-50 minutes. Give it a second coat of egg wash after 15-20 minutes and cover loosely with tin foil after about 30 minutes if it is getting too dark.
  12. Slide the baked challah onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.

Β (Challah recipe adapted from http://ruhlman.com/2011/01/challah-recipe/)

filled chocolate cherry challah bread

I am sharing this with Totally Talented Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire, Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday & Foodie Friends Friday

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Β 

43 Comments on Chocolate Cherry Challah

  1. simplyvegetarian777
    February 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm (2 years ago)

    This is a gorgeous entry for FF 54 Gothess! Must have tasted heaven. I love baking breads but challah is still away from me. I will refer to your recipe when I am ready. This weekend I baked 2 no knead over night fermented boules , one savory and the other slightly sweet. Welcome to the fiesta and hope you are having fun!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ It’s taken me a fair bit of practice to get good at making enriched breads, they are one of my favourite things to make now though!

      Reply
  2. Mandi
    February 6, 2015 at 2:50 pm (2 years ago)

    this is going on my brunch table in a few weeks time. Guaranteed.

    Reply
  3. Dini @ Giramuk's Kitchen
    February 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm (2 years ago)

    That is one good looking Challah!! I’m yet to perfect the art of Challah and I should try your recipe πŸ™‚ I have the same problem after making meringue for a recipe! I usually end up making Ice cream, but now I can try Challah!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Ice cream is usually my go to, but my freezer is slightly overflowing at the moment!

      Reply
  4. Edible Reflections
    February 6, 2015 at 3:58 pm (2 years ago)

    You had me at chocolate. The pictures are amazing! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:49 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Jess
    February 6, 2015 at 5:35 pm (2 years ago)

    Well done- this challah looks AMAZING πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jess πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Natalie Browne
    February 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm (2 years ago)

    I found your site through Foodie Friends Friday. This looks delicious πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:52 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  7. Lili
    February 6, 2015 at 8:47 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks lovely! Have pinned this and hope to try to make it. Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Lili πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. weebirdie
    February 6, 2015 at 8:59 pm (2 years ago)

    Such a good looking plaits! I like challah bread but I only made plain one before, I gonna try making this soon!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Thankyou πŸ™‚ I did have to un-braid and re-braid it a couple of times before I got it right though!

      Reply
  9. lapetitecasserole
    February 6, 2015 at 9:22 pm (2 years ago)

    I agree with Jess, this challah look terrific! Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep! It’s my favourite ice cream flavour πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Winnie
    February 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm (2 years ago)

    It looks absolutely AMAZING !!!!
    It’s super popular here, but as it has chocolate filling, we call it “yeast cake”

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 10, 2015 at 11:57 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. thebrookcook
    February 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm (2 years ago)

    WOW! GORGEOUS!! I do the same thing with the egg yolks leftover from making meringues… I have to bake other things to use them!! No wasting around here πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 10, 2015 at 11:58 am (2 years ago)

      Yep, I always feel guilty if I throw things away!

      Reply
  12. Janine
    February 8, 2015 at 7:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Holy toledo, this looks stunning! The braiding detail looks so gorgeous and what a great way to use egg yolks. I just made a batch of swiss meringue and have some yolks sitting in my fridge. So glad you posted this recipe because I’d much rather make bread over ice cream, this time of year !

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 10, 2015 at 11:59 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Ice cream is usually my go to for using up egg yolks, but you’re right, bread is better at this time of year!

      Reply
  13. myrecipebookuk
    February 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm (2 years ago)

    I know exactly what you mean about overflowing baking supplies. I’ve given up on cupboards and now have a big box to store them all in!

    You loaf looks (and sounds) delicious. I love the combination of dark chocolate and cherries.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 10, 2015 at 12:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I say cupboard…it’s actually two…and that’s just the ingredients, not all of the tins, trays and dishes etc!

      Reply
  14. De Tout Coeur Limousin
    February 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks so good – many of my favourite things in one recipe. Bonjour via #recipeoftheweek

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. amytreasure0
    February 10, 2015 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

    Just wow, this looks absolutely incredible! xx

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 10, 2015 at 12:04 pm (2 years ago)

      thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Dragons And Fairy Dust
    February 10, 2015 at 11:36 am (2 years ago)

    That is so pretty and the flavours sound delicious. I have never tried plaiting bread, making a normal loaf is hard enough!

    Reply
  17. lucyparissi
    February 11, 2015 at 9:09 am (2 years ago)

    This is one awesome challah braid! I must say I never mastered the six strand plaiting as well as you but I now feel I must challenge myself! Such a beautiful loaf #CookBlogShare

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 11, 2015 at 1:33 pm (2 years ago)

      I did have to un-plait and re-plait it a couple of times to get it right! I started off fine and then just completely lost it about half way through…got there eventually!

      Reply
  18. Sarah James
    February 11, 2015 at 2:14 pm (2 years ago)

    What a beauty! I love chocolate & cherries, perfect combo πŸ™‚ Popping over from #CookBlogShare

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 13, 2015 at 11:27 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ It’s one of my favourite combinations

      Reply
  19. Helen at Casa Costello
    February 11, 2015 at 11:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Awesome plaiting! Brilliant flavour – would never have thought of including in challah. Thanks for linking up to #Bakeoftheweek New roundup now open x

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 13, 2015 at 11:27 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Helen πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. HonestMum (@HonestMummy)
    February 14, 2015 at 3:09 pm (2 years ago)

    So dreamy, have pinned onto my Eat Sweet board! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays x

    Reply

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