Beautiful Round Olive Oil Challah is Perfect for Rosh Hashanah. Olive Oil and Orange Juice give it an incredibly rich Flavor.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Beautiful Round Olive Oil Challah
Beautiful Round Olive Oil Challah does not have to be round. Round Challah (as opposed to the traditional braided loaf as in yesterday’s post) is usually baked for the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Since Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the new Jewish year, a round challah indicates the cyclical nature of life.
Traditionally, round challah is made by rolling the dough into a rope about 3 feet in length, then coiling it up and raising the middle of the loaf so it looks like a crown. I have not done this in this recipe but instead braided it as usual. (I use a three-strand braid because any more than that requires more braiding skill than I currently have.) I shaped the braid into a circle and let it rise in an enameled cast-iron dutch oven. I then popped it into the oven still in the pan, so it would be encouraged to hold its round shape during baking. I had another batch of dough that I tried making into a traditional round shape using three strands. It baked on a sheet pan and the outside strand tried to escape at both ends. It was delicious but not a challah you would be proud to bring to your table. (although anyone would gladly eat it in private.) I ditched that method. I see now why the one-long-rope method is a better way to go, although I am not sure about handling a strand that long. I will try it on the next challah recipe and keep you posted.
Since we are not using fast-acting yeast in this Beautiful Round Olive Oil challah, this recipe requires some advance planning. It needs to rise twice which will take almost three hours and then is baked for 25-30 minutes. It is definitely worth the time and a lot of it is hands-off. Even if it comes out a weird shape, you will love the flavor.
My family loved this rich challah with a hint of orange . The three (two large and one small) loaves that I got from doubling the recipe were gone by Sunday. The next time I make this I am definitely putting some aside for french toast.
What kind of olive oil should I use?
Any kind of olive oil will work, but the bread is best using heavier olive oil that has a fruity undertone.
Do I have to squeeze the orange juice?
No, you don’t have to but since you need to zest the orange anyway, it won’t take long to squeeze the juice out. Fresh zest and fresh orange juice will make the flavors sing. Remember to zest the orange before you cut it to get the juice. You can also use bottled not-from-concentrate orange juice. My beloved microplane zester listed below makes the zesting job quick and easy. You can use a peeler but that will not be quick or easy. Trying to scrape the bitter white pith off the peel will put you in a very bad mood. Not a good way to start a new week or a new year.
Do I have to cook it in a dutch oven?
You don’t have to cook it in the pan, but I think the high sides helped it hold the shape. If you decide to use a pan, you want to grease it first. Make sure all parts of the pan are oven-safe. There aren’t too many ways to mess up a challah (burning it, and forgetting to put the yeast in are what comes to mind) but melting a plastic handle onto your oven floor definitely won’t help the flavor or your mood. If you use the pan, it will be difficult to check the bottom of the loaf for doneness so use a thermometer to be sure.
What are those black spots in the picture?
Those are poppy seeds. You could also use sesame seeds. Or leave it plain.
Tools and products used in making this recipe:
AmazonBasics Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven – 6-Quart, Blue
Thermo Pro Thermometer
Parchment Paper sheets
Bellemain Cooling Rack
Olive Oil Challah
Beautiful Round Olive Oil Challah is perfect for Rosh Hashanah. Olive oil and orange juice give it an incredibly rich flavor.
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast one packet
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 3-3 1/2 cups bread flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in center of oven.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine orange juice and water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let rest until frothy. ( If there is no activity in five minutes, your yeast may be old. Don't waste the rest of your ingredients - use different yeast.)
Add olive oil, 2 eggs, egg yolk, sugar, salt and zest. Beat with dough hook until just combined. Increase mixer speed to medium.
Add in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough comes together. It will be sticky. You may not need all of the flour, so add it in slowly, The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl but not be stiff. It is ready when it is slightly sticky and soft.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth (about 5 minutes). Transfer to an oiled bowl and turn dough over to grease all sides. Cover bowl with towel. Let rise 1 1/2-2 hours until doubled in size.
Press down dough to expel air, cover bowl with towel and let rise for 45 additional minutes.
In small bowl beat third whole egg with 1 teaspoon of water.
Shape loaf as desired. For Rosh Hashanah a round loaf is traditional,
Brush top and sides of shaped loaf with egg/water mixture.
Place loaf into greased dutch oven or onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with a second coat of the egg/water mixture.
Bake 20-35 minutes or until a thermometer indicates 205 degrees.
Cool completely on wire rack.
This recipe is adapted from The New York Times and Myrna Aronson.