Sweet Challah with Agave Syrup

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In our home, my girls often help find new recipes that they want me to try. So you can imagine my surprise and delight, when my 8-year-old son came home with a new challah recipe to try. He got it from his friend Jake’s mom, Aviva, who got it from someone else but my son said it was the best challah in the Five Towns. Wow! I’ve tasted a lot of good challahs here so I had to give it a try…and yes, it is delicious and really cool because it is sweetened with sugar and agave syrup (you know, the natural liquid sweetener that has popped up at many local coffee houses- anyway, the supermarket and Trader Joe’s carry it and its in a glass bottle). The original recipe has a little more oil, a little more yeast, and no vanilla extract. I made a few changes and we love the results and I am getting so many compliments on it. I have included both versions.

5 pounds bag hi-gluten flour
5 packages active dry yeast (original recipe: 4 ½ tablespoons yeast)
4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoons salt
2 squirts agave syrup
3 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (original recipe omitted vanilla extract)
2 cups sugar (I use a bit less)
1 ¼ cups oil (original recipe: 1 ½ cups oil)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar. Let proof (rise) for 15 minutes.

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, agave syrup, vanilla extract, and the oil. In a mixer fitted with a dough blade, make sure the dry ingredients are well mixed. Slowly add the egg mixture and blend well. Add the yeast/water mixture and mix until incorporated. Knead the dough for 10 minutes in the mixer.

Take out the dough and put it in a greased bowl. Cover with a delicate cloth and place in a warm spot. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes to one hour. Punch down the dough and braid it.

Let it rise for another 30 minutes. Brush gently with an egg wash (1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds. Or make a sweet crumble topping and sprinkle it on top.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Enjoyed this sweet challah recipe? Try another of our great challah recipes.

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