Apple Honey Challah Pull-Apart Bread

updated Sep 14, 2020
Apple Honey Challah Pull-Apart Bread

This shareable loaf is made with plush challah bread and filled with lightly sugared apples, then finished in a shiny honey glaze.

Serves8

Prep2 hours 30 minutes

Cook30 minutes to 40 minutes

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Apple challah pull apart bread laid on wax paper and wooden cutting board.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When I’m looking for a really good time with a loaf of bread, I bake up one of the pull-apart variety. It’s the perfect dinner party bread, the perfect holiday bread, and the perfect standing-alone-at-the-kitchen-island-tearing-off-and-eating bread. Here, the pull-apart we’re partying with has Rosh Hashanah written all over it. It’s made from plush challah bread and filled with lightly sugared apples, and the honey glaze on top not only gives it the most glamorous of shines, but also makes for the simplest and most celebratory of dips — for your bread or your apples.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Pull-Apart Bread Is the Shareable Treat Everyone Should Know

For those not in the know, a pull-apart bread is assembled by rolling out and slicing yeasted dough into small squares (or rectangles), then stacking them into a loaf pan. When baked, they smoosh together and climb out of the pan in the most dramatic way, each seemingly vying for “world’s tallest slice.” When the loaf is popped from its pan, you ditch your serrated bread knife for your hands, and invite your pals to tear off a piece (or many).

The one I’m sharing today is sweet from the honey glaze and the lightly sugared apples, but not too sweet, and so it’s just as suitable for a fall breakfast or brunch as it is for a special holiday dinner. But honestly, you won’t want to relegate this glazed beauty to one celebration a year. I’ll be making it around Thanksgiving too, either for breakfast the morning of, or for sopping up gravy and turkey bits during the meal itself.

Apple Honey Challah Pull-Apart Bread

This shareable loaf is made with plush challah bread and filled with lightly sugared apples, then finished in a shiny honey glaze.

Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 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

For the apple filling:

  • 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

For the honey glaze:

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    honey

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook

  • 1

    (9x5-inch) loaf pan or (8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch) loaf pan

  • Rolling pin

  • Small saucepan

  • Mixing bowls

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Parchment paper

  • Aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. Make 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.

  2. Place 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.

  3. Remove 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.

  4. Coat 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.

  5. For 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.

  6. For 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.

  7. Assemble 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.

  8. Cut 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.

  9. Loosely 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.

  10. Place 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.

  11. Place 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.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The loaf is best the day it is made, but is delicious for the next few, if heated up in a low oven or toasted. Once baked, the loaf can be frozen: after it cools to room temperature, place it on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid; wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil before returning to the freezer. Uncover and reheat from frozen in a 350°F oven until warm, 20 to 30 minutes.

Storage: The bread will keep at room temperature, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.