Honey challah bread with currants

  • 240ml hand hot water, about 45C
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps active dried yeast
  • 600g white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 80ml clear honey
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 100-140g currants
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds, optional

Serves: 1 (900g) loaf

1) Combine water and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Set aside until foamy, about 8 minutes.

2) Put 150g of the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Whisk together the honey, one whole egg, the yolks, olive oil and salt in a small bowl and pour into the well. Stir to combine. Add yeast mixture, remaining 450g flour and currants and stir to make a soft, shaggy dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and supple, about 10 minutes.

3) Shape dough into a ball and place in lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead for just a minute, shape into a ball and return to bowl. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.

4) Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into a rope 30-38cm long. Arrange the ropes side by side vertically on the work surface. Starting at the far end, pinch the the ropes together and then plait to the end.

5) Transfer the loaf to the prepared baking sheet and neatly tuck both ends under. Cover with the tea towel and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

6) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas5. In a small bowl beat the remaining and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired. Bake in the centre of the oven until golden, about 35 mins. Transfer to a cooling rack.

7)Serve sliced and toasted, dusted with icing sugar and drizzled with maple syrup if desired.

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