Meet Molly Yeh—baker, writer, Julliard-educated classical percussionist, and recent North-Dakota-by-way-of-Brooklyn farm-dweller. Yes, that’s right: Yeh is living the Green Acres dream, having fled city life for the quieter country. Unlike Eva Gabor, however, she’s most thrilled to be settled in with her fiancé, spending days doing what she loves most: working on her delicious-to-look-at and fun-to-read website, My Name Is Yeh.
Many of Molly’s recipes are inspired by her Jewish and Asian roots, which is why The Window looked to the creative baker to create an original Rosh Hashanah treat that everyone would enjoy, whether celebrating the New Year now, in January, February, or all of the above. Read on for Molly’s gorgeous sweet challah recipe and give it a whirl on your own.
Ring in the New Year with challah that’s dressed for the occasion. This soft eggy bread with a slightly sweet dough gets an extra bit of flair from a swirl of brown sugar and a pretty pink pomegranate glaze. It’ll look gorgeous on your tablescape and is perfect for noshing on as guests trickle in. Don’t bake it too far in advance because the smell of freshly baked challah filling up your house will make you the world’s best host(ess). And If I were you, I’d totally pair a slice with brisket for that all-star salty/sweet combo. —Molly Yeh
BROWN SUGAR CHALLAH WITH POMEGRANATE GLAZE
Makes one loaf.
3/4 c warm water
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 1/4 c + 2 tsp brown sugar
3 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
A pinch of cardamom
1/3 c vegetable oil
2 c powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp pomegranate juice
1. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the water, yeast, and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Let sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy on top.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together 1/4 cup of brown sugar, the 3 cups of flour, salt, and cardamom. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and 2 of the eggs.
3. When the yeast has proofed, add it to the dry ingredients, immediately followed by the egg mixture. Mix to combine and knead, either on a floured surface, or with the dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until smooth.
4. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, and roll the dough out into a large (approximately 10-inch by 14-inch) rectangle. Sprinkle on the remaining cup of brown sugar, and roll it up like a jelly roll. Pinch the edges to seal them shut and then coil into a swirl shape with the seam side down. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Beat together the remaining egg with a splash of water and brush it lightly onto the challah. Let it rise for 30 more minutes while you preheat the oven to 375.
6. Bake the challah until it’s golden brown and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes. Because this challah is round, it will take slightly longer to bake than a typical loaf. It may look done on the outside after about 20 minutes, but it will still be raw on the inside. If you’d like, you can tent the loaf with foil after 20 minutes to prevent it from getting too done on top.
7. When it’s done baking, let it cool and make the glaze.
8. To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of pomegranate juice. Add more until you reach your desired consistency. Drizzle or pour it on your loaf and enjoy!