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Friday, December 24, 2010


Cranberry Cocoa Challah

We love Challah at our house in fact, we love all kinds of breads although we do try to eat bread in moderation. For this week's theme on the Preparation Day Link Up, Challah Bake Off, I decided to try a new Challah recipe. I used my main Challah recipe here and added some organic cocoa along with some sweetened dried cranberries. It turned out tasting pretty good but I think the next time I will add a bit more cocoa. I still plan to add some kind of cocoa/coconut drizzle on top.

4 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup cocoa (I plan to increase to 3/4 cup next time)
3 TBSP granulated sugar (we use honey)
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 tsp instant yeast (we use regular yeast)
2 TBSP oil
3 eggs
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
¾ cup plus 2 TBSP to 1 1/3 cups water, at room temperature
1 egg white, whisked until frothy, for egg wash (optional)

  • Stir together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and yeast (because we don’t use the instant yeast, I usually proof my yeast with the water first, and once its ready then I add the dry ingredients)
  • Using another bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and yolks and ¾ cup plus 2 TBSP water. Poor the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a spoon or low speed with paddle attachment in mixer until the ingredients gather and form into a ball. You can add the extra water if need.
  • Sprinkle flour on the counter and place the dough on the counter. Knead for about ten minutes (or mix at medium-low speed for about 6 minutes with the dough hook), sprinkle more flour if you need to make the dough more soft and supple but not sticky dough.
  • Oil a large bowl, form the dough into a ball and place it into the bowl. Make sure to roll the ball around to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. (we’ve also used a dishcloth in the past). Let ferment for one hour at room temperature.)
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for about 1 minutes Add in the dried cranberries and knead to ensure the cranberries are somewhat evenly distributed in the dough. Re-form it into a ball and return the ball to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or whatever you are using and let ferment for another hour. It should be at least 1 ½ times its original size.  I usually form my loaves at this point, I don't reform into a ball)
  • Remove dough from the bowl and divide it into 6 pieces for 2 loaves. Form each piece into a ball and cover them with a towel and let them rest for ten minutes. (I’ve been omitting this step, and my bread always turns out.)
  • Roll out the pieces into strands, each the same length, thicker in the middle and slightly tapered toward the ends. Braid them using the 3-braid method. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment and transfer the loaves to the pan. Brush the loaves with the egg wash. Mist the loaves with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or place the pan in a food-grade plastic bag.  Here's a short video for 3 braid instructions.

  • Proof at room temperature for 60 to 75 minutes or until the dough has grown to 1 ½ times its original size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F with the oven rack on middle shelf. Brush again with egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.”
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 190 degrees and continue baking for 20 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the loaf. The bread should be a golden brown.
  • When done, you can transfer the bread to a rack and let cool for at least one hour before slicing or serving.

Adding a glaze on top can add more sweetness if you desire.

If you have a favorite cocoa or carob challah recipe, please share, i'm always open to trying something different.


  1. Shalom,
    This recipe is very different! I love cocoa, I will have to try it as a dessert some time!

  2. The next time I make this, i will definitely add more cocoa. It would go well with some kind of homemade nutella.

  3. I realize that this will sound really naive, but in 3 1/2 years of keeping Shabbat and making challah, I had no idea there were different *kinds*. I knew lots of folks have their own special recipe, but *kinds*????

    You have opened up a whole new world for us...this is going to be so fun! Thanks!

    BTW, I am so glad to *meet* you and your family.

  4. Hello Julie, thanks for stopping by. It is amazing how recipes can be adapted. Make sure to check out all of the other challah recipes at http://pebblecrossing.blogspot.com/2010/12/preparation-day-link-up-no-5-challah.html .
    Come visit again when you've got time. Nice to meet you too! blessings ~ Carmen


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