90 Minute Cinnamon Rolls

 Easy Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls. My family loves them too. Maybe you can relate? The sweet dough and the gooey, cinnamon-y filling and the creamy icing…. My mouth is watering!

But here’s the problem with traditional cinnamon rolls – they take FOR. EV. ER. to make. They take so much planning and time calculations that, frankly, I know no busy mom has time for. So we don’t make them, except on special occasions. Well, I’m here to tell you, no more!

Over the past 6 or so months I’ve experimented with various recipes, all based off my previous go-to overnight cinnamon roll recipe. While I loved the texture of those rolls, it’s a pain to make these in the hour before heading off to bed. By then I’ve already cleaned up the kitchen and it was such a chore to prep and clean so late at night. Sure, the fresh, hot cinnamon rolls in the morning were great. But, I would tend to think about making these at like 11pm, and that’s no time to be mixing and measuring.

So, after several trials (and a few icky fails), I’ve come up with what I think is a recipe you’ll love. If you’ve got 90-minutes, you’ve got hot, fresh cinnamon rolls! It’s the same basic ingredients, so you likely have all this on hand. And I have the recipe down to a manageable size because I know not everyone wants to make 24 large cinnamon rolls.

90 Minute Cinnamon Rolls

Difficulty: Moderate
Prep Time: About 35 minutes (plus rising time)
Cook Time:  13-17 minutes

 

DoughCinnamon Roll ingredients

1 3/4 cups Warm Water (aprox. 110° F)

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

1/4 cup Canola Oil (any neutral oil will work)

3 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast (if you’re using the packets it’s aprox 4)

______

1 1/2 teaspoons Salt

2 Eggs

5 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

Cinnamon Filling

1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar (packed)

1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

Frosting/Icing

4oz Cream Cheese, softened

1 teaspoon Vanilla (or more to taste)

2-3 Tablespoons Milk

3-3.5 cups Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar

 

I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for these. I’ve never made them any other way. I use the dough hook only, instead of switching out from the paddle to the hook.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Step 1: Bloom the yeast

Add the warm water to your mixing bowl. Temperature is important because you don’t want it too hot or you’ll kill the yeast or too cold because the yeast won’t bloom. If you don’t have a thermometer, the water should be warm to the touch but not hot.

Pour in your Canola Oil (or other neutral oil) and add the sugar, then stir gently to help the sugar start to dissolve. Once it’s mixed, sprinkle in your Active Dry Yeast. I know it’s a lot of yeast, but we’re on the clock and need these bad boys to work fast. I do a quick stir at this point to get the yeast into the sugar/oil/water mixture. Now, let it sit for 15 minutes! It will “bloom”, which means it will get all foamy and bubbly.

Step 2: Add the Eggs

Once the yeast is all, well, yeasty, add the eggs one at a time. If you’re using a stand mixer, turn it to “Stir” or “2” and incorporate your eggs.

Step 3: Add the flour mixture

It’s really important NOT to add the salt first. Salt will kill your yeast and that won’t make for tasty cinnamon rolls. I usually dump in about 1/2 the flour and get that mixing for a minute or two. Then I’ll add the salt to the last 1/2 of the flour, give it a quick mix and dump the rest of the flour in and let the mixer run for about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Rest the dough

Allow the dough to rest in the mixer for about 10 minutes. This is a critical step to allow the dough to let the gluten relax so you don’t end up with a gummy mess.

Step 4: Prepare the Filling (if you haven’t already done so)

While the dough is resting, get the ingredients ready for the filling. Melt the butter, and let it cool. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. It doesn’t matter if you use dark or light brown sugar it will still taste great!

Step 5: Roll out the dough

Oil your countertop first! I just pour a little oil (about a teaspoon or two) onto the countertop and wipe it like I’m wiping up a spill. Only my goal is to leave it there for now. Once your countertop is oiled (don’t use flour and don’t skip that step or you’ll end up with dough stuck to the countertop), dump the dough onto the counter and shape into a rectangle. You’re looking for about an 18 x 12 rectangle, or thereabouts. I use my hands to flatten out the dough but you can use a rolling pin.

Step 6: Add the filling and roll

Now that you’ve got your dough rectangle, brush the entire thing with the melted butter but leave about 1/2-inch at the top (the long side away from you) so the dough will close up when you roll it. Once the dough is glistening with the melted butter, dump the cinnamon-sugar mixture  and spread it from edge to edge, again avoiding that top 1/2-inch where you didn’t put any butter. I use my hands to spread the mixture (clean hands are one of the best kitchen tools!) but you can use a spatula if you prefer.

Once your dough is nice and cinnamon-y it’s time to roll it up into a log. Start at the long side closest to you and begin rolling toward the opposite side. This takes a bit of patience because you don’t want to get askew if you can help it. Once you have it all rolled up, pinch the seam to seal that edge. This will help to keep it from opening up when it’s baking.

Step 7:  Cutting into rolls

You want to cut these into 12 uniform cinnamon rolls. Often I will cut a little off each end to make them prettier, but I usually just put the non-cut side down for the two end pieces. These will be 12 large rolls. I think it’s best to cut the roll in half and then cut each into 6 pieces rather than trying to figure out the spacing to get 12 rolls. You can also use a knife and make small indentations on the roll to help you keep them even. I actually use dental floss to cut cinnamon rolls. I learned to that about 20 years ago because back then I had laminate countertops that would get damaged if I used a knife and so it’s just how I do it. Of course, you can use a knife to cut your cinnamon rolls, but be careful with your countertop. It’s best to use a sharp bread (serrated) knife and not put a lot of pressure as you cut because you don’t want to squish the rolls.

Step 8: Short Rise then Bake

Place your cinnamon rolls in a sheet pan lined with parchment (or a silicone mat). I don’t use a high sided pan because I don’t think the edges get cooked very well. You have to use a pan with sides or you’ll end up with sticky cinnamon-sugar in your oven. Space the rolls evenly with an inch or so between them and place them so the seam-end is facing inward. I do this so as they rise and bake the ends, if they come undone, don’t get all crispy and dried out. Allow the rolls to rest and rise about 15 minutes.

Place the pan of cinnamon rolls in the pre-heated oven for 13 – 17 minutes. The time to bake them will vary based on your oven. I watch them at about 10 minutes to make sure one area isn’t browning more than others. If that happens, turn the pan. To goal is for them to be a nice golden brown without being too well done.

Step 9: Prepare Icing while they bake

Some call it icing, others frosting. I call it delicious! The measurements aren’t as exact for this because it will depend on how soft your cream cheese is or if you sift or don’t sift your powdered sugar. I don’t add salt because the cream cheese has enough to bring out the sweetness of the icing.

With your hand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined. I do this step to keep the sugar from getting on everything. Then add about 2 Tablespoons of milk and the vanilla and mix to combine. Add more sugar, a little at a time until it’s all combined. Add the last Tablespoon of milk a little at a time to thin the frosting until you’re happy with the consistency. Some people like to pour it, while others like to spread it over the cinnamon rolls right when they come out of the oven. If you spread the icing on when the rolls are hot you’ll want the icing to be stiffer because the heat from the rolls will melt the icing (which is a good thing!). If your icing is too thin it will melt into a mess.

If you’re using a stand mixer add the cream cheese, 2 T of milk and vanilla and mix to combine. Add in about 3 cups of powdered sugar and combine. If you need to thin it out add the last Tablespoon of milk a little at a time to thin the frosting until you’re happy with the consistency. Some people like to pour it, while others like to spread it over the cinnamon rolls right when they come out of the oven. If you spread the icing on when the rolls are hot you’ll want the icing to be stiffer because the heat from the rolls will melt the icing (which is a good thing!). If your icing is too thin it will melt into a mess.

Step 10: Frost the Cinnamon Rolls and Enjoy!

It’s up to you at this point whether you’re going to frost the entire pan then serve or serve then frost. I’ve done it both ways and it’s good either way. If I know we’re not going to eat them all before refrigerating them, I won’t frost them. I’ve found that reheating them with the frosting melts the frosting too much to my liking.

Reheating Directions: If you do need to reheat them, use the “defrost” setting or set your microwave to 50% power. I start with 1-minute then check to see if it’s OK for me. The temperature on the reheat is different for everyone but you don’t want to nuke it too hot or it’ll dry out and be a non-tasty ball of ick. Don’t reheat on full power or you risk the cinnamon roll getting gummy.

 Cinnamon Rolls in just 90 minutes

Go forth and bake! I hope you enjoy these. Feel free to share this with your friends, add it to your Pinterest or just make a whole bunch and love that you can make fresh homemade cinnamon rolls in 90 minutes or less! And when you’ve made these 86 times and decide your family might like some variety in the cinnamon rolls you make, check out my friend Christi at Love From The Oven who can pretty much cinnamon rolls suitable for any meal.

Sara

Homemade Bagels

Easy Home made bagels

I was probably 6 or 7 the first time I made bagels with my mom. We attended a Jewish military chapel (my grandpa was retired military) and one of the events regularly held was a breakfast. It was a great way for soldiers to relax and meet local people who had ‘been there, done that’. My mom decided to make bagels rather than buy them. Not sure what possessed her into thinking that making 200 bagels was a great idea, but that’s just the kind of mom she was – going the extra mile because it was what she thought was a good idea.

My mom had been making bagels for years so I had watched her make them many times. It wasn’t until I actually got to mix and measure and shape the bagels that I realized how really easy they were to make. And the taste? So much better than store bought! Maybe they’re not as perfect (well, mine aren’t) but that crunchy outside and soft inside is what bread-baking dreams are made of.

I’ve made bagels before but never shared the recipe, just thinking that everyone knows how to make bagels. Except, I’ve recently learned  that’s not the case. Don’t be afraid to work with yeast or dough. These are simple ingredients and even if yours don’t come out all that bagel-ish looking the first time, keep making them. They may not look perfect but they will taste better than any store-bought bagel you’ve ever had.

Delicious Homemade Bagels

2 tsp Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 1/4 cups Warm Water (divided, so check instructions)
3 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Sprinkle sugar then yeast into 1/2 cup of the warm water (you should be able to stir the water with your finger without it being too hot) in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Let stand for 5 minutes then stir to dissolve. You want your yeast to bloom and get foamy and frothy so make sure your bowl or measuring cup is about double the size you really need. If you let it go for more than 5 minutes it will continue to grow, so don’t let it go beyond 10 minutes or it won’t be able to do its job later.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. You want to make sure you mix these two ingredients together because salt will kill your yeast if it’s alone. Mixing the salt and flour protects the chemical effects of the salt on the yeast. Yay, chemistry! Form a well in the center of your flour/salt mixture and pour in the dissolved yeast. It doesn’t have to be perfect so if the yeast goodness spills over the flour it’s OK. You’ll be mixing it up. The purpose of the well is to give you better control over the mixing process.

Next, pour HALF of the remaining water into the well. Remember, only HALF of the water! If you pour it all it’s a glue-y mess and that’s not delicious. You’ll end up adding the rest of the water little by little as you need it. Now, mix the dry ingredients (flour/salt mixture) with the yeast and water. It will become dry and you’ll think there’s no way this will ever form a nice dough with all this flour still in the bowl. So now, add in the reserved water a tablespoon or two at a time to make the dough begin to come together, forming a firm and moist dough. It’s OK if you don’t use all the water. The amount of water you need will depend on the conditions in your home. Here in Arizona in the summer I use all the water, and sometimes a little more. In the winter, I don’t use all the water.

Once your dough has come together, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Gradually work in as much additional flour as possible while comfortably kneading to form a stiff and firm dough. This isn’t exact so you’ll need to sprinkle your counter top with enough flour so the dough ball won’t stick. If you need help figuring out how to knead dough this video should help.

Once the dough has been kneaded for 10 minutes, it needs to rest and rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. You’ll want to make sure it’s in a warm area with no draft or the dough won’t rise. This is when you’ll see the yeast at work for the second time. Punch down (which is just fancy baker talk for deflate) the now airy dough puff, and let the dough rest 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, you’ll want to get your water ready. You’ll need an 8-10 quart pot filled with water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down so the water is at a simmer.

Next, Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. This is how I learned how to make bagels. Some people will roll out the dough into long strands and then connect them. My mom said that doing it this way make it easier to keep the bagels round and not handle them too much which makes them tough and hard to chew.

I cut off a piece of dough and roll it lightly on the countertop or in my hands. You just don’t want to handle it too long. Before rolling, press down on the dough lightly to get rid of air bubbles and roll the dough between your palm and the work surface to form a smooth ball. Coat a finger in flour and press it through each ball to form a ring.

How To Make Bagels

Work the rest of your fingers into the hole, stretching the ring lightly and widening the hole to about 1/3 of the bagel’s diameter. The hole needs to be large enough because these will puff up again and if there isn’t enough space then the dough will close up.

Once the bagels are formed, place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Yes, this is a bit of a time consuming process, but you will be rewarded!

While you’re checking your water to make sure it’s still at a boil, let the bagels rest for 10 minutes.

Boiling Bagels

Now that your water is at a simmer, it’s time to boil the bagels. This is what will cause the bagels to rise again and give it that nice crust when they are baked.

Depending on the size of your pot, place the bagels into the water in batches of 2 or three. You don’t want them crowded or they will get all glue-y. Boil the bagels, uncovered, until they rise to the surface, about 1 -2 minutes. Turn the bagels over once. I use chopstick to flip them so they don’t get squished or deflated. Allow the bagels to boil for another minute.

Remove the bagels from the pot using a slotted spoon, letting the water drain. Place on a wire rack to make sure water drips off. Let the bagels sit for a few minutes then transfer them to a lightly oiled or parchment-covered baking sheet.

In a 425-degree oven, bake the bagels approximately 20 minutes, until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Serve warm with butter and jam or allow to fully cool and serve with cream cheese. If they are too hot, the cream cheese gets too melty. Not that it’s a bad thing, but some people don’t like that.

These bagels will be more rustic looking than the ones you buy. They are so delicious and tender and chewy, that their shape doesn’t matter. If you let them fully cool, they are great for sandwiches.

Fresh Bagels

What do you like on your bagels?

Sara

Cooking.com – Save 20% Off Entire Order

It’s not often that the online store Cooking.com runs a promotion like this. From 3/11/12 – 4/30/12, get  20% Off Your Entire Order when you use Code C93976 at checkout.

It’s very easy!

All-Clad MC2 Cookware (I love mine!)

Go to Cooking.com

Buy all those cool gadgets you really want.

Upgrade your pots and pans, which you’ve been wanting to do anyway.

Checkout and enter Code C93976

Wait for the delivery person and enjoy your new things!

NOTE: This offer can not be combined with free shipping codes. Other restrictions may apply, see Cooking.com for details.

Disclosure: The included link is an affiliate link. Clicking on the link may provide me with compensation should you make a purchase. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sara

12-Minute Cinnamon Rolls or The Cutest Cinnamon Rolls Ever

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

I know, how is that possible? Homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven in about 12 minutes? You bet! And they’re delicious and just too adorable not to share. You’ll love ’em, your family will love ’em and your friends will join you in adoring their absolute cuteness!

So how are these possible? With Refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough. And imagine how excited I was to see this new product – Crescent Roll Sheets! An uncut rectangle of crescent flakiness just waiting for me to make these little gems. And, not they’re not paying me to write this. I just saw this product and had an a-ha! moment. And now we make!

12-minute Cinnamon RollsPillsbury Crescent Roll Dough Sheet

Difficulty: Easy
Makes: 24 of the most adorable mini cinnamon rolls

Ingredients:

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Roll Sheets (or 1 can of regular crescent rolls but you’ll have to pinch all the seams together)

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch kosher salt

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Glaze:

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 Tablespoon milk

 

Preheat oven to 375 F. Using non-stick spray, spray a mini muffin pan. You’ll need 2 or you’ll have to bake these in 2 batches.

In a small bowl, melt 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter in the microwave. Don’t let it boil or it gets funky. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and mix it together so it’s all incorporated together. Set aside the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture.

Remove the Crescent Roll sheet from the canister and unroll it flat on a cutting board or counter top. If you’re using regular crescent roll dough you’ll need to pinch all the seams together on both sides and pat it flat. Try not to work with it too much or roll it out with a rolling pin because it makes it tough and flattens the crescent layers and then it’s not very flaky.

Once you have the dough flat, brush the melted butter over the dough making sure you get all the way to the edges. Liberally sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture over the entire dough rectangle. Once all the cinnamon and brown sugar in on the dough, lightly pat it down. You want to make sure none of it escapes, because it tastes so good you’ll want it all!

Now, cut the rectangle in half so you have 2 squares. Since it’s a square (or closely resembling one, this isn’t geometry class!) you can start rolling at any edge. Roll, Roll, Roll! And when you’ve got it into the log shape pinch to seal it.

Mini Cinnamon Roll How To

To create the mini marvels, cut the cinnamon-brown sugar log into 12 pieces. Yes, they are going to be small. You have 2 rolls so you’ll end up with 24 mini cinnamon rolls so you can share (at least 12 of them). My approach to cutting these is to cut the roll in half. Then cut each half in half again so you have 4 pieces. Now cut each section into 3 piece. Math time: 3 x 4 = 12! Place the weensy cinnamon rolls in the greased mini muffin tins and bake in 375F oven for about 8 minutes. Depending on your oven it may take a few more minutes. You’re looking for lightly brown cinnamon rolls. The same color as the standard ones, really. And don’t try and tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. Everyone’s had a cinnamon roll before. But, if you haven’t, they’re a light brown color a bit lighter than a latte.

While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix up the glaze. I don’t sift the confectioners sugar. Dump the confectioners sugar in a medium bowl and mix with 1 Tablespoon of milk. Again, depending on humidity and elevation you may need a bit more milk. You want it to be think enough to drizzle but still think enough not to soupy.

Remove from oven when done. Allow to cool for 2 or 3 minutes and remove cinnamon rolls from the pan to a serving plate and drizzle glaze over each cinnamon roll. I use about 1 teaspoon each, but it varies. This is not an exact science. If you don’t want the glaze to melt then cool your rolls a bit longer. If you’re using 2 separate mini muffin tins you don’t have to remove them right away, just be aware that if they fully cool the caramely-cinnaminy goodness will harden and make it difficult to remove from the pan.

Hope you enjoy making these! They’re easy, fun and certainly better for your figure than those giant ones from the mall.

And I think because they’re so small there aren’t but a few calories in it. But I’m not a nutritionist, so don’t take my word for it.

Disclosure: Although I probably don’t need one, I’ll put it here. This is NOT a sponsored post. I saw these cool Crescent Roll dough sheets in the store, bought them with my own money and came home to make these. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sara

Buttermilk Substitute

 Buttermilk Substitute

So, what if you want to make a recipe that calls for buttermilk and you don’t have any? This has happened to me so many times. Now, I have an easy buttermilk substitute I can make with two simple ingredients I always have on hand. And I’m sure you have them on hand too. But this is just for cooking, not for drinking.

It doesn’t store for long and makes a cup so you either have to toss it after a day or two or just make a bunch of stuff.

Easy Buttermilk Substitute

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

Milk (just under one cup)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice

Directions:

1. Place 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.

2. Add enough milk to measure 1 cup. If you accidentally pour the milk first, just take 1 Tablespoon out to then add the vinegar or lemon.

3. Mix gently.

4. Allow to stand approximately five minute. It will look like it curdled. It’s supposed to look that way.

5. Use as required in your recipe.

Hope this comes in handy!

Sara

Being a Good Neighbor

Easy Peanut Butter Brownies

BabyGirl and I are up in the Bay Area staying at CycleGuy’s condo. Well, I guess it’s our condo. Anyway, it’s in a nice little complex which is gated 24-hours a day. Every time we come home we’re greeted with a wave or nod of the head, which is a nice welcome.

Lately, it’s been a bit cold but the guys at the gate house are always friendly and pleasant. So BabyGirl and I decided we’d make them a little treat to say thanks and introduce ourselves.

BabyGirl said she’s like to make her Famous Peanut Butter Brownies. I didn’t realize she had this recipe but she told me it was super easy and kids can help. So, it’s famous brownies they’ll get! BabyGirl said this is an easy recipe and grown ups can cook with their kids and let the kids do a lot of the work. Sounds like a plan!

At the condo here the kitchen is small and I don’t have all my baking things. Actually, I don’t have a lot of things here so we do a lot of make do. I’m not complaining. It’s just taking some getting used to.

BabyGirl’s Famous Peanut Butter Brownies

1 box of your favorite brownie mix

1/4 cup Peter Pan peanut butter (we like this kind because it doesn’t have HFCS)

Pam cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Prepare Brownie Mix as indicated, using oven temperature indicated on box. We used Wesson oil because I had been watching ‘vintage’ ConAgra commercials and saw the one with Florence Henderson doing the ‘Wessonality’ jingle and BabyGirl thought it was funny so she picked out Wesson at the store.
  2. Spray 8×8 baking pan with Pam cooking spray to ensure easy release
  3. Spread prepared brownie mix in 8×8 pan. Drop peanut butter dollops onto brownie mix using two spoons. Dot the mix with about 9 dollops.
  4. With a blunt knife swirl the peanut butter through the brownie batter
  5. Bake according to directions on the package

Truly these are super easy to make and BabyGirl had a great time helping because she could pretty much do everything but take the brownies out of the oven. If we had hot pad here she could probably have taken them out too. Instead, I did the professional trick of using a kitchen towel!

Of course we had to taste them and they were delish! Some peanut butter was still in large dollops so you get a nice bite of it, kind of like a peanut butter cup. BabyGirl really liked those. I like the ones that had ribbons of peanut butter and were more chocolatey. I don’t think the guys at the gate house had a preference. We dropped them off an introduced ourselves. They recognized us, which was a pretty neat. Afterall there are like 500 condos in the complex. But they’re great guys and now they know us and know we’ll bring them treats when we’re in town.

Here’s a picture of me at the the gate house being a good neighbor! BabyGirl was the photographer.

Sharing Brownies with Someone Special
Sharing Brownies Image (c) BabyGirl

Delicious Brownies
MMMM, Brownies Image (c) BabyGirl
Sara

Homemade Challah

Easy Challah Bread

OK, so obviously I’m not very good at food photography. Moving on, then.  Making challah is a family ritual in Jewish families. I remember making challah as a child. And I want making challah to be part of BabyGirl’s childhood.

The recipe for challah is very basic. There are many variations, but the one I grew up with is just a few ingredients and a few hours of waiting. Bread baking is an art unto itself and it take lots of practice to get it right. But challah is so forgiving. I practically wants you to make it. It’s tender, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious!

CHALLAH

Preparation Time:
60 minutes + rise time
Baking Time:
35 minutes
Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Warm Water, separated
1/2 cup Honey
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil (any neutral oil works)
4 Larger Eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
5 cups Flour, plus additional flour (may take 8 or 9 cups of flour total)

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F.

2. Proof the yeast. Mix 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar together in a bowl or, as I often do, a glass measuring cup. The water should be warm so that you can stir it with your fingers without feeling too hot. Once the sugar is dissolved in the water, sprinkle the yeast into the sugar water and give a light stir. Set aside for about 10 minutes so the yeast can bloom and get bubbly. If it doesn’t bubble, your yeast may be dead or the water too hot. Try again, you’ll get it!

3. I use a stand mixer because it’s easier, but you can do this all by hand. To the bowl of the stand mixer add 1 cup of warm water, honey, oil, and the bloomed yeast mixture. I use the dough hook to mix the ingredients together. You just want to incorporate the ingredients together. Add the eggs one at a time until they’re mixed in well.

4. Begin adding flour. Add about 2 cups of flour and allow it to mix into the wet ingredients. Now add the salt. You don’t want to add the salt too early because it will kill your yeast. Continue adding the flour 1-cup at a time until all 5 cups are mixed in. This is where any experience you’ve had with making bread will come in. You need to continue adding in flour, about 1 cup at a time, until a dough ball forms. It shouldn’t be sticky and should pull away from the sides of the mixer. If you stop the mixer and poke your finger into the dough ball, it should come out clean. Once the dough ball forms, continue to knead the dough for about 10 minutes. This is easy to do with the stand mixer, but if you want to do it by hand you can do that too.

5. Once the dough has been kneaded, you’ll need to remove it from the mixing bowl and put it in a large bowl to rise. One rise is sufficient and will give you a nice fluffy texture. Pour about 2 tablespoons of a neutral oil in a large bowl. You want a bowl that will hold the dough when it doubles in size. Take the dough ball and roll it around in the oil to coat the dough ball. Cover the bowl wit plastic wrap and set in a warm part of the kitchen away from any draft. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough to deflate it so it’s easy to work with.

6. Divide the dough dough into 8 equal pieces. Remove the pieces as you need them, keeping the other dough covered with towel until you’re ready to use it. Roll each piece into a rope about 14-15″ long and an inch in diameter. There are many different methods for this. I usually just roll them on a clean countertop.

7. Once you have 4 pieces, lay the 4 ropes side-by-side and pinch tops together to connect them. Braid tightly starting on the left. The braiding is often the hardest part. It does take practice to do a 4 or 6-strand challah, but with patience you’ll get it. The 4-strand challah is the traditional shape, with the 6-strand being a bit more fancy. To braid a 4-strand challah, it’s a repeated pattern of taking the rope on the left over two and under one. When you’ve got the whole braid done, pinch bottom ends and fold under.

8. Most of the time I use parchment paper, but sometimes I run out and just have to use a greased baking sheet. Place your challah on a parchment lined or greased baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap that you’ve put some non-stick spray on so it won’t stick to the challah you just worked really hard to make so beautiful. Let the bread rise, covered, in a warm place for 25-30 minutes.

9. While the dough is rising, make the egg wash that you will brush over the challah to make it shiny and help it brown. This is easy. In a small bowl mix together 1 egg and about a teaspoon of water. Whisk it together well.

10. One the dough has risen, brush with egg wash. I’m not a sesame or poppy seed kind of gal so I skip them. If you want them, you can sprinkle them on your challah now. Bake at 325°F for 30-40 minutes, until done. (If loaves are on two separate sheets, rotate halfway through baking time for even baking.) If loaves start to brown too quickly, loosely lay a piece of foil on top.

11. Remove from the oven and allow the pans to cool on wire racks, covered with a towel.

Making challah is something I really love. It takes a bit of time, but it’s so worth it. The bread is delicious and makes wonderful sandwiches and french toast. Of course, my family will eat it plain in celebration of shabbat.

You can’t go wrong with this recipe, it is as easy as it looks. Yes, it is somewhat time consuming. But that’s typical of bread baking. And once you’ve mastered this recipe, you can make caramel challah!

Bon Appetit! or as BabyGirl learned Betay’avon!

Sara

How To Make A Cherry Pie

About a week ago, my friend Addie sent me a video of her daughter’s recent cooking tutorial. Chloe is 14 and has been cooking for about 10 years and she is really good! To celebrate cherry season, Chloe decided to do a tutorial on making a cherry pie.  In the video she shows how to make the crust, the filling and a gorgeous lattice top! It will make you drool, it’s so good.

Isn’t she just fantastic? Now you want to go out and make a cherry pie, don’t you? Let me know what you think and I’ll share your comments with Addie and Chloe.

This tutorial is linked to Tutorial Tuesday at Smockity Frocks!

Sara