Now I’ve done it! Of all the challahs I’ve made – this Jewish star shaped, Nutella filled challah one may be my favorite!
Ever since I started seeing the tutorials for star shaped Nutella filled breads showing up on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to try it. Most of the recipes used premade pizza or bread doughs, or a sweet yeasted bread. Me, I knew I was going to use Challah dough. Specifically – my challah dough in a mixer recipe.
The challah dough recipe I make yields enough for two loaves. Sometimes I give one away. Sometimes, I make the second one a more dessertlike challah – perfect with coffee or for breakfast. This challah resembles a traditional babka. It’s so good. Being gluten free, I can’t say that first hand but if delicious smells and the speed with which food disappears is any indication – this stuff is as good as my challah gets. Good = gone!
- Challah dough, risen
- Nutella (about a half cup to 2/3 c, warmed briefly in microwave to a runny consistency)
- Egg whites
Start with the recipe for challah mentioned above and split dough in half after the first rise. Half will be a normal challah and half this dessert one.
Divide the dough further into three or four balls. These will be rolled into rounds and stacked. I’ve done this with as few as three rounds and as many as 6. It’s a matter of personal preference and patience. It’s a little more nutty/chocolatey, with more layers, obviously. My family prefers it that way. I re-use the excess that I’ve cut away as well – these are enough to usually form at least one additional layer, so keep that in mind.
I like to roll out the base layer on my silicon baking mat, that way when the stack is done it is no trouble to transfer to the baking pan. Roll the dough out as if for a pie crust, then place a good sized dinner plate on it and trace around the outside edge with pizza cutter to form a perfect circle and trim away excess. Note: I set the excess aside and reuse as the last layer!
Spread a thin even layer of softened Nutella on the surface of the first layer.
For subsequent layers, roll the dough on a baking mat and transfer the circles to the stack. Top with more Nutella, until you get to the final layer, which you will not top.
Stack em up on the baking sheet. I like to do five or six layers. They do not need to be perfectly lined up but the closer they are to aligned, the easier the final parts of the process will be. Also, do not overfill with the Nutella. The trick is a nice, even, thin layer or things will get very very messy when you are twisting and pinching the star into shape. It won’t come out as crisp and distinctive. Here’s the whole stack, ready for shaping! Don’t fret, it’s easier than you think.
Place a small cup or bowl on the center of your stack to serve as a cutting guide. Divide the dough into three roughly equal sections, with a sharpknife,sort of like you are cutting in a peace sign. That’s a nice thought. This is a peaceful challah. Do not cut past the cup – the cuts should not go to the center.
Next, make three more cuts – dividing each of the three sections in half. Repeat this process, dividing each of the six in half, so that you end with twelve equally sized sections. Now you are ready to do the twist!
Grab two adjacent sections and gently twist them away from each other, completing two full turns. Pinch the ends together. Move to the next two, and repeat, working your way around the star.
When you are done, the challah will look like this.Seriously, I’m not too worried about perfection. Better it should taste good. Besides, if it is TOO perfect, nobody is going to believe you made it yourself!
I like to let mine rest and rise for a half hour or so while the oven warms to 365 degrees. I then brush the top lightly with egg whites.
Bake for 20-30 minutes till it is golden brown and unbearably delicious smelling. Try not to eat until fully cooled. These are actually even better on the second day.
Sometimes the star come out more distinctly than other times. It’s always fun to see what emerges from the oven every time! Let me know how this comes out if you try it too.