When we were picking apples we were intrigued by the description of the Mutsu apple and decided that we had to find them.
"Mutsu- A great all-purpose green apple- dense, crisp, and juicy- good for pies and eating fresh- makes a coarse, flavorful applesauce- much better than Granny Smith"
Granny Smith is our favorite apple. We buy them every week at the grocery store. "Much better than Granny Smith" totally got our attention. We found the Mutsu grove and saw that they were GIANT green apples. We picked two each with plans to eat and bake them and then moved on.
Sunday evening around 6 o'clock, we pried ourselves off of the super comfy couch and started making the final recipe that I had clipped from my mom's Martha Stewart Living magazine- Apple-Honey Challah. I got the water hot enough for the yeast (the recipe says 100 degrees but we always go between 110 and 115 for our yeast breads) while Brett assembled all the ingredients on the counter. We mixed everything up, and Brett took the lead on kneading. The dough was very sticky, so we ended up adding about 1/2 a cup extra of flour.
After the first rise we sliced up the Mutsu and each snuck a little bite. It was sort of like Granny Smith, not better or worse, but we could tell the difference. The hardest part of the recipe was kneading the apples into the dough. The apples just globbed everything up, making it sticky again. And to make matters worse they didn't really want to stay in the dough. They kept squeezing themselves out.
After the second rise Brett attempted to roll the nice plump ball of dough into a rope so we could coil it in a cake pan. The dough was even stickier because of the apples and all the butter we kept brushing onto the top between rises. The rolling did not go well and we finally gave up and put a very fat "coil" into the cake pan. I don't even think you could call it a coil.
The really annoying part about this bread is that it has to rise three times! Right before the final rise Brett said, "I don't ever want to do anything that has to rise three times. This isn't worth it." Keep in mind that we hadn't eaten it yet. Thinking of the Martha Stewart cream cheese and chive biscuit fiasco I had a couple of years ago, I made some comment about how Martha likes to make things harder than they need to be. We decided that coiling the loaf was totally unnecessary, and if there was a next time we would just plop the ball into the cake pan.
One thing we love about our new oven is that it has a window and a light. We hunkered down by the oven to watch the dough rise for the final time, and then again as it baked.
We had to let it cool for a while in the pan and then a little while longer.
Finally at 11 o'clock, we were blessed with the wonderful deliciousness that is Apple-Honey Challah! It was light and fluffy with a hint of sweetness. It reminded me a little bit of King's Hawaiian Bread (with apples of course.) The apple bites were my favorite. The Mutsu did not disappoint.
Although it was very time consuming, we both really enjoyed the final product. So if you have five hours to spare, I highly recommend making this :)