Thanksgiving Challah

The joy of Thanksgiving leftovers begins on a Friday. Just in time for Shabbat.

While challah is a no-brainer container for Thanksgiving sandwiches, it is also an underutilized wrapper for Thanksgiving fillings. My Thanksgiving Challah contained tart cranberry sauce, sweet carnival squash, and buttery turkey because that's what I had handy. But you can (and should) get creative!! The moist, dense challah recipe complements the autumnal flavors of your Thanksgiving leftovers. 

thanksgiving challah stuffing cranberry sauce turkey gravy chefanie stephanie nass

RECIPE

Ingredients 

Challah (inspired by The Challah Blog):

  • 1 1/4 cup very warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dry or instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 eggs + 1 egg for wash
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 6 cup bread flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt

Recommended Filling (although you can use whatever you have leftover!!):

  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup squash
  • 1 cup turkey

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast with the water. Add in the honey slowly. Mix gently.
  • Let the mixture sit until it has developed eruptions and smells like beer.
  • Mix in 3 eggs and canola oil.
  • If you have a stand mixer, use it to mix in the flour.
  • Mix in the salt.
  • The dough should stick together as a ball. 
    • If the dough isn't sticky enough, add a bit of water. 
    • If the dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour. 
  • Punch ("knead") the dough a few times. 
  • Place dough ball in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap; allow to sit for at least 1.5 hours. 
  • Punch out the air bubbles. 
  • Separate the ball into 4 equal-sized pieces. 
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a flat triangle, square, whatever. Maximize surface area but don't make each piece too thin; 1/2 inch is a good thickness.
  • Spoon the cranberry sauce evenly over the dough, avoiding the edges. Add in other fillings (squash, turkey, etc.). 
  • Roll up each piece into a log ("strand"). Pinch the edges so that no precious filling is lost.
  • Make sure each strand is at least 10 inches. (You can stretch it, gently.)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, braid the 4 strands. 
  • Allow the dough to rise 20-30 minutes. 
  • Brush the dough with the 4th egg. (I use the yolk and egg white.)
  • Put the challah in the oven for 35 minutes or until the loaf is a perfect golden brown. 
  • Voilà! Enjoy.
Maria Martinez