Monday, July 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Challah Bread

Anything that has chocolate chips in it is ok by me, and I have always preferred my bread that way also. My mom and sister Meaghy have baked this before and it came out really great, so I decided to give it a shot. It was a very easy bread to make, and I halved the recipe so that I didn't have to fit too much into my freezer that is already overtaken by ice cream, cookies, muffins and meat!

The dense and chocolatey taste makes this perfect to eat plain for a snack or breakfast on the run. You could also easily make it for guests or brunch.

Chocolate Chip Challah Bread (from food network)
2 packets active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup sugar, plus a pinch
7 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (i used mini, regular and chunk chocolate chips)

Mix the yeast, a pinch of sugar and 1 cup warm water in a small bowl. Set aside while you measure out the other dry ingredients, or until frothy.

Whisk 3 1/2 cups flour, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.

Add 1 egg, the vegetable oil and 1 cup warm water; stir until combined. Gradually stir in the remaining 3 1/2 cups flour until the dough starts to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Knead in the chocolate chips.

Transfer to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a ball, then roll each ball into a 1 1/2-to-2-inch-wide strand, about 16 inches long. Lay the strands side by side on a sheet of parchment paper and pinch them together at one end.

Braid the 3 strands: Cross the right strand over the middle strand. Then cross the left strand over the middle strand. Repeat, crossing the right strand over the middle strand, then the left over the middle, until all of the dough is braided. Pinch the dough together at the end.

Slide the loaf (with the parchment paper) onto a baking sheet. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl, then brush the egg wash all over the loaf. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

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