Not sure what compelled me to do this but I did. The key to bread is kneading. Also, active yeast but that goes without saying. Some people love making bread, I would not be one of them but for whatever reason the recipe sparked my interest.
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted ( although throughout the process, I ended up melting more butter )
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for the surface
3/4 cup warm water
2/3 cup honey, plus a few tbsps (really good honey it key – I had some from Umbria which is delicious)
2 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 tsp. active yeast
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
First, melt the butter and then let cool. Combine 2 tbsp. melted butter, the flour, water, 2/3 cup honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast and salt in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until this forms a dough. Then pour the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. I put on a timer to make sure I actually stuck with it for 10 minutes. My arms are exhausted!
Put the dough into a buttered bowl and then brush the dough down with another tablespoon of melted butter. I used my hands to coat it. Cover with plastic wrap and put the bowl in a warm place until the dough rises and doubles in volume. 1 1/2 hours.
Now take out the dough and pull/pat it into a 8 x 14 inch rectangle over a floured surface. Pour the apples over the dough, then brush with about another tablespoon of melted butter. Now knead to incorporate. The apples start cutting through the dough but keep going until you are able to make a ball again. Then put this back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, back to the warm area for an hour to rise some more.
Butter a 9 inch cake pan. Roll out the dough into a long rope about 24 inches on a floured surface. Then coil it into a circle and transfer to the cake pan. Cover the dough, again, with plastic wrap, back to the warm area and let it hang out for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375, set the rack at the lowest position. Heat the 2 tbsp. of honey in a pan until it melts, set aside. If this hardens up before you use it, melt again. Brush the dough over half of the honey and put in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. When the challah comes out of the oven, brush down with another tbsp. of the honey.
Let cool and turn out of the pan.