• Prep Time: 45 mins
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • Serves: 16

Apricot Challah

  • Recipe Submitted by on

 Ingredients List

  • Sponge:
  • 112g warm water (100°F)
  • 14g active dry or instant yeast
  • 100g unbleached bread flour
  • Dough:
  • 225g water, room temperature (about 75°F)
  • 100g mild-flavored vegetable oil
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk (reserve white)
  • All of the sponge
  • 800g unbleached bread flour
  • 18g fine sea salt
  • 112g dried apricots, diced
  • apricot butter (recipe below)
  • Egg Wash:
  • Reserved egg white
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp water
  • Pearl sugar (optional)
  • Apricot Butter:
  • 2 cups dried pitted apricots
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or apricot nectar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt


To make the sponge, combine the water, yeast and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir with a spatula or dough whisk until no dry flour remains. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes, until the sponge has doubled in size.
Once the sponge has doubled, add in the water, oil, sugar, eggs and egg yolk to the sponge and mix together with a spatula or dough whisk until combined.
Mix in one half of the flour, then add the remaining flour a little at a time, stirring to make sure all the flour is absorbed.
Place the bowl on the mixer, and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes at low speed. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
With the mixer on medium low, sprinkle in the salt and knead for 5-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Toward the end of the kneading time, add in the diced apricots, making sure to incorporate them evenly throughout the dough.
Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and set aside until doubled, about 1 hour.
Once the dough has risen, turn it onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, cut off 1/3 of the dough, then cut that third into thirds again. Take the larger piece of dough (the remaining two-thirds) and cut that into thirds. Round off the pieces, cover with plastic wrap or a lint-free towel and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Let the dough rounds rest for about 10 minutes.
Working with one loaf at a time, with the larger pieces, take each dough ball and roll into a thick rope with your hand, then with a rolling pin, flatten and stretch each rope until it's about 14–15" long and 2 1/2" wide.
Fill a piping bag with the apricot butter and cut a 1/2" opening at the tip.
Pipe a line of apricot butter down the length of the rope, starting and stopping about 1/2–3/4" from the ends. Pinch the dough around the apricot butter, making sure to close it securely, completely enclosing the apricot butter. If needed, gently roll the strands until they're 14–15" long, tapering the ends. Set aside the strand and repeat with the remaining two large dough balls.
Place the three strands together, pinch at the top and braid together, pinching the strands at the bottom end. Set aside.
Take the three smaller dough balls and roll each into a strand that's about 2" longer than braided loaf. Braid these three strands together, pinching the ends to seal. Brush a line of water down the top center of the loaf, then place the smaller braid on top, pinch the ends of both braids together, then tuck the ends underneath. Repeat with the second loaf.
Place the loaves on two parchment lined sheet pans, cover and set aside to rise for about 45 minutes or until the loaves are very puffy.
While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Just before baking, whisk together the reserved egg white, water and sugar, then brush each loaf with the wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar if desired.
Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown (cover with foil if they're browning to quickly) and switching positions if needed for even baking. Internal temperature should be around 190°F.
Cool on the pans for a bit then transfer (with parchment) to a wire rack and cool completely.

Apricot Butter:
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil for about a minutes, stirring frequently.
Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
Uncover and continue to simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Stir frequently to make sure the apricots don't burn.
Remove from the heat and mash completely with a fork or potato masher or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
Cool to room temperature before using. Store leftovers in the fridge.

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