Friday, June 8, 2012

Strawberry Basil Challah

So, apparently Strawberry + Basil is a trendy combination of flavors.  And all of these look really awesome.  Strawberry Basil Lemonade sounds very refreshing.  However, when I started seeing some baking recipes with this flavor, it got me thinking... could I turn Strawberry Basil Scones and Strawberry Basil Cupcakes into Strawberry Basil Challah?  Well, I gave it a go...
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One of thing things that I love, love, love about warm weather is my garden. The Hazz gave it to me for our first anniversary last year {coming up on two years on June 13th!}, and it's one of my favorite places.
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And one of the best things about the garden is the herbs... particularly... THE BASIL!
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I was very excited to spot these sweetened dried Strawberries at Trader Joe's, similar to the dried blueberries we used in Wild Blueberry Challah in April. A combination of both berries in one challah... definitely coming up in a next few months! Yum!
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1/2 c water
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 tsp white sugar
1 egg (split, I beat it then used "most" in the dough)
3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
Small handful of fresh basil, chopped
Dried Strawberries


I based this recipe off of my REALLY Small Batch Challah, a challah I created to "test" recipes. I was apprehensive about this recipe working... so the yield is low. One small-size loaf.


The method here is similar to other challah, but since the recipe is so small, you might need to mix by hand instead of with a hook if the dough ball is too small for your mixture. Proof the yeast in the hot water with the sugar. While you're waiting, chop the basil and strawberries.
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After the yeast is frothy, add most of the egg (reserve a small amount to be used in the egg wash), vanilla, and oil. Stir in the flour, salt, and basil.

Knead with a dough hook on 2 or by hand until the dough just starts to hold together but is still shaggy. Add the strawberry pieces all at once. Continuing kneading until the dough holds together as a ball.
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Cover and place in a covered, oiled bowl. Let rise until doubled bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Turn the dough out on a floured work surface. Braid as normal, trying to keep the strawberries on the inside of the dough.
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Let rest for about a half hour. Egg wash with the reserved egg. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.
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This challah is really different. The basil aroma comes across much more than the basil flavor. The whole result--the fresh basil marrying the sweet strawberries--is a lovely combination... I completely understand why the flavors are so popular. I think when I make this challah again, I'll add more strawberries and perhaps put a little vanilla in the egg wash to sweeten the whole thing up. I also tried it toasted with a bit of lemon curd... delicious and it made me feel so fancy!
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Are YOU incorporating garden fresh ingredients in YOUR challot?

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