· 2 large eggs, at room temperature· 1/2 cup room temperature water· Cooking spray or room temperature butter· 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour· 1 1/2 cups bread flour· 1 (1/4-ounce) packet instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)· 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt· 3 tablespoons honey· 3 tablespoons vegetable oil· 3 cups peeled and diced apples (from about 3 medium apples), such as Granny Smith and Galas· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter· 1/2 cup granulated sugar· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more as needed· 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter· 1/2 cup honey· 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Step 1Make the dough: Let 2 large eggs and 1/2 cup water sit out to come to room temperature. Coat a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or softened butter. (If you would like a loaf that dramatically climbs out of the pan, use an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan instead.) Line the pan with a parchment paper sling, making sure it hangs over the 2 long sides.Step 2Place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups bread flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and add the eggs, water, 3 tablespoons honey, and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Continue to beat until a shaggy dough forms.Step 3Remove the paddle and scrape off any dough back into the bowl. Attach the dough hook and mix on medium-high speed until a smooth mass forms that comes off the sides of the bowl and sticks only a bit to the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes.Step 4Coat a medium bowl with butter or cooking spray. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the honey glaze and apple filling.Step 5For the glaze: Heat 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 cup honey, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted, combined, and smooth. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.Step 6For the filling: About 30 minutes before the dough is ready, peel, core, and dice until you have 3 cups apples and place in a medium bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and add to the bowl. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and toss with your hands to combine. Taste and add more cinnamon if desired.Step 7Assemble the challah: Turn the dough out onto a clean, unfloured work surface. Roll the dough into a rough 20x15-inch rectangle with a long side closer to you. Transfer the apple mixture and any accumulated juices onto the dough and spread it into an even layer. Lightly press the apples into the dough with your fingers.Step 8Cut the rectangle into 36 pieces: cut the dough lengthwise into 6 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. Stack 6 pieces together, then repeat to form 6 stacks total. Transfer the stacks to the prepared pan, lining them up like dominos. You will have to squeeze them in tightly and the apples may fall off as you do so, but don’t worry. Just pick up any fallen apples and tuck them between the pieces of dough in the pan.Step 9Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until about 1 1/2 times its original size, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Step 10Place the pan on the baking sheet. Uncover the challah and brush with warm glaze (rewarm it first if needed). Bake 20 minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake until golden brown, with an internal temperature of about 200°F, 10 to 20 minutes more. If the ends of the loaf start to brown too quickly after the first 20 minutes, cover them loosely with aluminum foil.Step 11Place the loaf on a wire rack and let cool 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edges to loosen the loaf, then remove the bread from the pan. Brush the top and sides with more warm glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature, with softened salted butter and/or more glaze if desired.