Cheese boards are fine and all, but Cara Peterson and Alon Shaya of Saba in New Orleans have a better idea: a spread where challah is the star of the show, just in time to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. "During Rosh Hashanah, it's customary for challah to be round and filled with raisins," Peterson explains. As for the turmeric, she notes how "it adds a deep yellow color, giving the challah a pungent, richer flavor alongside the eggs and yeast."
Make sure you allow time for the different proofing stages, which is the perfect opportunity to make the honey apple butter and put out toppings like grated tomato, dates, labneh and shoug that will complete your bread board.
Rosh Hashanah Challah
Recipe adapted from Cara Peterson and Alon Shaya, Saba, New Orleans LA
Yield: 2 round loaves
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus proofing time
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus proofing time
1 cup orange juice
2 cups raisins
1½ packets active dry yeast, or 1½ tablespoons
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing the bowl
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt
5 large eggs, divided
4 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
Various seeds (such as pumpkin, nigella, sesame and poppy), optional
1. Adjust the oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place the orange juice in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Add the raisins and remove from the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, then drain and discard the orange juice.
3. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar, honey, vegetable oil, turmeric, salt and 3 eggs. Whisk together until everything is well-blended. Gradually add in both flours and soaked raisins until a dough forms. If the dough is still too wet, continue to add flour ½ cup at a time until it's not stick to the touch. Knead well for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth.
4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and leave covered at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
5. Punch the dough down, cover and leave out for another 30 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut in half. Roll one half into a log about 16 inches long. Starting on one end, begin rolling the dough into a spiral until completely round. Tuck the ends in on the bottoms and tops and place onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining half. Cover the dough and allow to rise for another hour.
7. Lightly whip the remaining egg and gently brush it evenly on the surface of the challah. Sprinkle the seeds on the bread, if using.
8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove and let cool, then serve with toppings like honey apple butter, grated tomato, dates, labneh and shoug.