Are you intimidated by the idea & process of making bread?
Do you like to make bread, and are eager to make something special?
Great news! If you answered yes to either of these questions, you will love this recipe! That’s right– it’s perfect for if you aren’t totally sure of your bread making abilities, AND/OR if you’re a bread pro.
You may have seen my Pumpkin Spice Swirled Challah Bread Recipe. This is the same go-to recipe, made a different way. This time, we’re making two ‘smaller’ loaves (instead of one jumbo loaf) and using all fig butter instead of pumpkin butter.
Isn’t Bread Making Hard?
Honestly, chyeah, it takes patience. I don’t make a lot of yeast breads, it’s just not necessarily my focus. BUT, this challah is my one yeast bread go-to. It’s basically the one bread I’d say I “specialize” in.
If you have a Kitchenaid mixer and a dough hook, it helps A TON! It takes a lot of the ‘work’ out of the process. The dough hook does the kneading for you.
Why I love it
I love this recipe for 3 main reasons:
1) Aside from the yeast + fig butter, it uses common ingredients that you probably already have at home, like regular all-purpose flour. No need to buy any special bread flour.
2) It can be made relatively easily using the dough hook on the kitchenaid mixer! Don’t have one? No problem, you can knead by hand & get an arm workout 🙂
3) It’s adaptable! Pumpkin filling? Fig filling? Cinnamon-sugar? Chocolate?! The choice is yours!!
When to make it
I like making bread around the holidays. It makes me feel cozy. Also using filling like fig butter makes the bread especially appropriate for the holidays. AND if you want to take it to a whole ‘nother level, make the challah, slice it, and make it into overnight french toast. O M G there is nothing like it!! So special.
Let’s make the challah, shall we?
Recipe: Fig Swirled Challah Bread
Makes 2 loaves, about 8 servings each
3 hours of dough-rising time total. 40 minutes of bake time.
2/3 cup warm water
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp salt
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 jar fig butter – 11oz
1 Tablespoon almond milk
1) In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the 2/3 cups warm water and the 1 tsp of granulated sugar. For the water, I just turn the faucet to warm– that’ll do for the water temp. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water-sugar mixture and let it sit for 5 minutes, until it foams.
(If this mixture doesn’t bubble and foam, it probably means the yeast is dead. If the yeast is dead, then it wont work to create the bread! The best thing to do in this case is to dump out the mixture, and try again, redoing the warm water, sugar, and new yeast.)
2) Put the bowl onto the mixer and add the dough hook. Add in the 1/4 cup honey, 1/3 cup olive oil, and 2 eggs. Mix them with the dough hook on a low speed. Add in the salt, and then gradually add in 4 cups of flour, keeping the mixer going at the low, slow speed.
3) Continue kneading with the dough hook for about 10 minutes. The dough should come together into a ball. When you touch it, it shouldn’t stick to your finger. If it does, add in a bit more flour, just a little at a time. The dough is ready when you have a soft, pliable, not-sticky dough ball.
4) Take the dough out of the bowl with your hands, forming it into a ball if it isn’t in one already. In that bowl that you mixed the dough in, spray olive oil cooking spray to coat the whole inside of the bowl. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl, and then flip the dough around so that all of the sides get coated with the oil.
5) Place a kitchen towel over the bowl to cover it and place the bowl into the oven. The oven should NOT be on. Rather, putting it in the oven creates a draft-free place for the dough to rise. Allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours. It’ll be about doubled in size.
6) Flour your work surface. I use a pastry mat. Turn the risen dough ball out onto it. Cut the dough ball in half. Set one half aside. You’ll roll out each one.
7) Roll out the first dough half. You want it to be rectangular-ish, but don’t stress about making it perfect. Roll it out until it’s stretched almost as far as it can be (try for about 3 feet long and a foot wide).
8) Dollop half the jar of fig butter (or your filling of choice) onto the rolled out dough.
9) Spread that filling alllll over the rolled out dough. It might feel like you don’t have enough. Just keep spreading, it’ll spread out more than you think.
10) Then, from the long-end, roll up the dough as tightly as you can.
11) Cut the rolled up dough log in half. Stretch each half out a bit more. The longer your dough ropes, the more you’ll be able to braid them for the loaf of bread.
12) Repeat this process with the other half of dough.
13) Ok so I used the word braid– we’re actually just going to twist! Take two of the 4 bread ropes. Lay them parallel to each other. Then, make a twist!
14) Now from one side of the twist, roll it into itself, making a pinwheel. Tuck the remaining end underneath to secure it into the little pinwheel.
15) Repeat this with the other two dough-pieces too. You’ll now have two pinwheels. Place them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat.
16) Lay that same clean towel over the loaves and place the pan back into the OFF oven. Allow the dough to rise for another 1 hour.
17) After an hour, the pinwheels will have gotten a bit bigger!
18) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
19) Egg wash time. Mix together the 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of almond milk. spread it over the dough. You don’t want any pools of egg– that would create scrambled eggs on your bread! You want just enough to lightly coat everywhere. This will help create that golden brown crust while baking. Sprinkle sea salt over the egg-washed bread.
20) Bake the loaves, still on the silpat-lined baking sheet, for about 40 minutes. The tops will be a B E A U T I F U L golden brown.
21) Technically, for the cleanest slice, you should let the bread cool completely before slicing. BUT I will say, slicing the bread and eating it warm, fresh from the oven, is DIVINE! There is nothing so fresh!!
22) Anyway, whether you cool it completely first or not, you’ll have beautiful fig swirls in every slice!
Look at that!!! It makes the whole process WORTH IT!
23) EAT & ENJOY! The challah is delicious just as-is, toasted with jam/butter/vegan butter, or…made into french toast!! Yum yum..
Feel free to ask me any questions while you’re baking! Write it in the comments or you’re always welcome to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.
XO Have a great week!!