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Cheese and Chive Challah

Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Deborah Williams
Yield 24 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
The traditional yeasted egg bread is enriched even more by adding cheese to the dough. We love the flavor of fontina, but Gruyère or another Swiss cheese would also work.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm 2% reduced-fat milk (100° to 110°)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded aged fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 10.7 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 13.5 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (about 3 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Nutrition Information

  • calories 160
  • fat 4.7 g
  • satfat 2.3 g
  • monofat 1.5 g
  • polyfat 0.5 g
  • protein 6.2 g
  • carbohydrate 22.5 g
  • fiber 0.8 g
  • cholesterol 78 mg
  • iron 1.6 mg
  • sodium 210 mg
  • calcium 51 mg

How to Make It

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Stir in butter, salt, 5 egg yolks, and 3 eggs. Stir in fontina and chives. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 7 ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups) and 4 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour to yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms (dough will be sticky).

  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch down dough; cover and let rise 50 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

  3. Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Roll each ball into a rope about 15 inches long. Place 3 ropes parallel to one another; braid ropes. Pinch ends together, and tuck under loaf. Repeat procedure with remaining 3 ropes. Place loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

  4. Preheat oven to 375°.

  5. Combine 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water, stirring well with a whisk. Brush loaves gently with egg mixture. Sprinkle loaves evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet; cool on a wire rack.