Christmas was wonderful this year. I got to spend time with my family and friends and it snowed. It hasn’t snowed in Atlanta on Christmas since 1882. That’s a very rare phenomenon indeed! We enjoyed good food, good bread, good company and a beautiful display of falling snowflakes outside the window.
Happy Holidays from The Bread Experience!
At family events, more often than not, I’m the one who brings the bread. In fact, the first question I usually get asked when I walk in the door is, “what kind of bread did you bring today?”
This year, instead of bringing rolls for Christmas dinner, I made a festive Cheese and Chive Challah. This challah recipe made two loaves so I shared one loaf with my family and gave the other loaf to my boyfriend for his family to enjoy. The bread was well received at both gatherings.
Cheese and Chive Challah
Makes: Two loaves
This Cheese and Chive Challah is a traditional yeasted egg bread that is further enriched with the addition of cheese. I used fontina, but feel free to use your favorite shredded cheese.
- 1 cup warm 2% reduced-fat milk (100° to 110°)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded aged fontina cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
- 10.7 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 13.5 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 3 cups)
- Cooking spray
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Stir in butter, salt, 5 egg yolks, and 3 eggs. Stir in fontina and chives. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 10.7 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups) and 12.4 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour to yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms (dough will be sticky).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough;
Cover and let rise 50 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
Roll each ball into a rope about 15 inches long.
Place 3 ropes parallel to one another; braid ropes. Pinch ends together, and tuck under loaf. I braided the first loaf this way and the second loaf a different way.
Repeat procedure with remaining 3 ropes. I formed this braid a little bit different than the first one. See photos below:
Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water, stirring well with a whisk. Brush loaves gently with egg mixture. Sprinkle loaves evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet; cool on a wire rack.
Nutritional InformationCalories: 160
Fat: 4.7g (sat 2.3g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.5g)