Cheesy Garlic Bread Stuffed Challah is the ultimate comfort food!
So this post is a little different than my normal (hopefully) witty anecdote and crafty modern Jewy recipe.
My Internet friend Jerry of Cooking Stoned (great blog name, right?) had this cool idea called Three Loaves. He calls it a “food movement that is rooted in sustainability, community, and totally based on food porn”. What more could you want?
The idea behind it is baking three loaves: one for you, one for a friend, and one for someone in need to help combat hunger. Don’t you love that? What a mitzvah! Each month there is a new seasonal recipe to share. (Make sure to sign up to get future bread recipes.)
I went with challah of course. Duh! But not just any challah. I chose round for Rosh Hashanah season (we eat round challah to represent the circle of life and continuous seasons.)But what filling? Buttery cheesy garlic bread! Oh yeahhh. The perfect comfort food for the impending cold weather (even though it is still 100 degrees in Austin. Whomp.)Oooh some fresh parsley would be nice in here too for some color. I love this simple rustic challah technique. Just roll and swirl. Then I covered he whole thing in tons of seeds- sesame, poppy and wasabi sesame! Because I like my New Year a little spicy.
Gorgeous, right? This is especially tasty warm with gooey cheese goodness. Or savory French toast. Or just tear a hunk off and get in there!
Spinach and Cheese Challah
- 1 envelope active dry yeast 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 3/4 cup warm water about 110 degrees F
- 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoons sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 3 egg yolks plus one for glazing, use the whites for breakfast!
- ¼ cup vegetable oil plus more for greasing bowl
- ¼ cup honey trick- measure the honey after the oil and it will slip right out!
- 3 3/4 - 4 1/2 cups cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 5 large garlic cloves minced
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 20 ounces fresh spinach
- ½ cup grated Parmesean
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp sumac
- ⅛ tsp cayenne
- 6-8 slices provolone or other cheese
- Start by making the dough. Prepare the yeast in a large mixing bowl for a stand mixer by whisking it with warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Let yeast stand until it foams and puffs up, about 10 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy, your yeast is bad or the water was too warm or cool. Try again!
- Using the whisk attachment for the stand mixer, mix in the remaining sugar, 1 egg and 3 egg yolks, oil and honey into the yeast mixture. (You can just use a whisk of you’re doing this by hand too) Then gradually add 3 cups flour and salt and either with a hook attachment using a stand mixer or a spoon and your hands until combined. Knead for about 10 minutes adding flour as needed, and form into a ball. Dough should be soft, smooth and slightly tacky.
- Place the dough in a bowl greased with oil and cover. Let dough ferment in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 2-3 hours. I put mine on top of an oven heated to 200 degrees.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large sautepan, cheat butter over medium heat and then add garlic and salt. Lower heat to medium-low and saute for a minute until garlic starts to brown and is fragrant. Then add the spinach and stir just until wilted. Cool the spinach while draining in a colender so it gets very dry. Lightly even more with towels.
- Place the cooled, dry, spinach mixture in a bowl and add parmasean cheese, pepper, sumac and cayenee and combine.
- When the dough is ready, divide into two equal sized balls. Keeping one covered, roll one into a 16 x 7 inch rectangle, top with a layer of provolone cheese, leaving a 1/2 inch border, and then top with half of the spinach mixture. If you are having trouble getting the challah to roll out, let it rest for a minute so the gluten can relax.
- Roll the rectangle up tightly like a jelly roll starting from the long end. Then form a spiral to make a round mound, tucking the end under. Repeat with the other dough ball.
- I like to bake each loaf on it's own cookie sheet because they spread. Carefully place the loaves on two parchment lined baking sheets, cover lightly with plastic wrap or a towel, and let it rise for another 45 minutes or so until it's light and fuffy looking (exact proofing timing for challah will depend on environmental conditions.)
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the last egg yolk with 1/2 tablespoon water and generously brush over challah. Repeat to have two coats. Bake two at a time for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and with an internal temperature of 190 degrees F, rotating pans halfway through. If the challot start to brown too fast, lightly cover with foil. Serve warm or room temperature!