Date Cinnamon Challah

I stumbled across challah bread recipes online one day in a bid to find bread a recipe that was dairy free, as I had run out of milk. I tend to use very little dairy in my day to day cooking, but where baking bread was concerned, I had a soft spot for pouring in the milk until that fateful day when I googled dairy-free bread.

Seriously, what a heaven sent! This bread is almost foolproof and can be tinkered with the make your own version to suit your taste. I’ve made it with honey and maple syrup as my sweeteners before. Then there’s the filling. The nice swirly bit inside that makes the bread finish as soon as it’s cool enough to be chewed (no joke). The more challah I make, the larger the appetites waiting for the loaves at the end of the cooling rack.

I’ve made two varieties of this bread; this date cinnamon challah and an apple cinnamon challah (click the link to get the recipe) both of which are as perfect as it gets for french toast. French toast for me represents brunch and let’s face it, who doesn’t appreciate a nice brunch? Or breakfast? Or challah any time of the day? Lol.

Date Cinnamon Challah

  • Prep time: 1 3/4hours 
  • Total time: 2hours 30mins 
  • Yield: 1-2 loaves 
  • Category: Bread/ Breakfast and Brunch
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  • Ingredients:

3-4 cups flour 

1/2 cup honey/maple syrup 

7oz packet of yeast 

1 cup warm water (plus more if needed to bring dough together)

2eggs 

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp salt 

The filling:

100g date paste

2tbsp honey/maple syrup 

1tbsp cinnamon 

Egg wash:

1tbsp honey/maple syrup 

1egg white 

Instructions:

Mix one tbsp of honey/maple syrup in half cup of warm water.

Stir in one satchel of yeast (if you mix it into the water it froths quicker and a lot more than if you just empty it in)

Cover and leave for 5-6mins or until frothy.

In a large bowl mix flour, salt, honey/maple syrup and one egg plus one yolk (save egg white for egg wash).

Empty yeast mixture into the bowl and stir to combine.

Add more water (if necessary) until dough is almost one piece.

Pour in oil and knead until smooth (5-10mins)

If dough becomes too sticky, add more flour until well kneaded.

Place dough in a well greased bowl and cover.

Let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

Empty dough onto floured surface and punch down to remove air bubbles

Flatten slightly and put 1/3 of the filling on top.

Fold over the edges/bottom of the dough to cover the topping

Flatten and repeat with 1/3 filling

Fold over once more and put the rest of the filling on top

Fold over one last time.

Cut the dough into three sections and roll each into a log.

Longer logs (not too thin) result in longer loaves while thicker logs result in thicker, shorter loaves.

Braid the logs into one long braid (using these braiding instructions)

Once braided, transfer to lined/greased baking tray, loaf tin or preferred baking sheet.

Cover loosely and let sit for 45mins.

Near the end of the time, pre-heat the oven to 425F/218C.

Prepare egg wash and gently brush loaf with mixture.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 15minutes then lower the oven temperature to 350F/176C for a remaining 30minutes (or until the bread sounds hollow when the underside is knocked).

Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

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