Chocolate Cream Cheese Challah

I shared a photo of this on my personal Facebook wall, and y’all went nuts!  Several requested the recipe…  So, here you go!

I’ve been making Challah in various forms for 2.5 years.  I don’t make it every week, some weeks I make a couple of kinds.  This one is intended as a breakfast Challah for Saturday, or Shabbat, morning.

If you’ve ever made Challah before, this will be simple.  If you’ve ever made bread before, this will be simple.  If you’ve ever baked before, this will be simple.  If you can follow directions… this will be simple!  So, let’s go make a mess in the kitchen!

I like to avoid sugar wherever I can… that said, Challah is one place I have surrendered to the 1/4 cup it takes per loaf.  I have tried my go to sweeteners like Honey and Sucanat and they just don’t create the rise I like.  So, go play with your favorite sweetener and report back if, like us, sugar is something you avoid.

Any basic Challah Recipe will work.  I have used a few, so here’s what I typically use anymore.

Basic Challah

3/4 Warm Water (120ish degrees F)
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
2 Tbs White Sugar (in Total, you need 1/4 cup.  I measure that out, then pull the 2 Tbs off at this point)

Combine all in a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer or similar and let sit 10-20 minutes until bubbly.

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Proofed Yeast Bubbles

While that’s proofing, I like to combine the other ingredients, minus the flour for ease when the yeast is ready.

2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Any cooking oil will work, but if you don’t have some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you need to get some.)
1 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt (Don’t Skip the minerals!)
Remaining Sugar.

Once you have lots of yeasty bubbles, add the above ingredients and mix briefly.

Next begin adding flour.  About 3 3/4 Cups Bread Flour.  We use King Arthur in this season of my life.  Go slow as your climate may take less or more.   You want an elastic consistency that doesn’t stick to your fingers very bad and cleans the sides of your mixer bowl.

Place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let raise in a warm place.  Come back in an hour and punch it down.  Let raise another hour.

Sometime during those rises, make your filling.  It is easiest to work with warm cream cheese, so room temperature is best, but not necessary.

Combine:
3oz Cream Cheese (Whipped is what I had.  But any cream cheese will work!)
6 Truvia Packets or other sweetener of choice (You can add more.  Just whatever sweet level you’d like)
1 Tbs butter
1.5 Tbs Cocoa Powder.  You can judge this.  More if you want it…
Pinch Mineral Salt

Mix vigorously!  You want it combined well.
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After your dough has undergone 2 rises you’re ready for the fun part!  Stuffing and braiding!

On a clean surface with plenty of space, divide your dough into 4 equal pieces.  Set 3 aside.  With 1, roll into a long snake… go back to your playdough days ;)!  Approximate length is 18-20″.  Flatten it out so it is a bit like a boat.  And spoon 1/4 of your filling into it!  Spread it the whole length.  Then you’re going to fold your sides together to trap the filling within, creating a yummy chocolate dough log.

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Set aside and repeat 3 more times.

Next, even more fun!  Braiding!  I enjoy making pretty challah… but I’m not the best braider.  This is the second time I ever I attempted a round loaf and the first time was more than a year ago.  There are some great Pins on Pinterest that show you braiding.  Go take a peak!

This is a 4 strand round braid and since my hands were messy, I didn’t even think of getting a photo mid braid.  Here’s the final product!

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If your filling peeks out, that’s just fine!  It makes it pretty!

Transfer to a greased baking sheet or in this case, round stone.  Use 1 egg and brush the whole loaf with eggwash.

Let rise in a warm place 1 hour.  About 45 minutes in, preheat your oven to 350*F.  At the one hour mark, you can brush with more eggwash.  I didn’t but it is recommended.  Turn your over down to 275 (this prevents over cooking while allowing the middle to get done.).

Cook 30ish minutes.  Mine always take longer because I use the lower cooking temperature.  Honestly, this was probably in the oven 50 minutes… that said, I think our oven may be on it’s last leg.  Watch it… and don’t let it get much past this color.

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Ingredients

Dough
3/4 Cup warm water (120*)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 Cup sugar divided
2 Eggs plus 1
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Mineral Salt

Filling
3oz Cream Cheese
1.5Tbs Cocoa Powder
6 Truvia Packets +more if you want
Pinch Mineral Salt
1 Tbs Butter

  1. Proof yeast, water, and 2 Tbs sugar for 10-20 minutes.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients minus flour.  Salt, Sugar, Eggs, Oil,
  3. After Yeast is bubbly, add combined ingredients and mix briefly.
  4. Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a nice elastic consistence that cleans the sides of the bowl.
  5. Place dough in greased bowl and let rise in a warm place 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and let rise another hour.
  7. Combine filling ingredients until smooth.
  8. Take twice risen dough and divide into quarters.
  9. Roll out into long snakes.
  10. Press flat and spoon 1/4 of the filling in.  Pinch closed and set aside.
  11. Repeat 3 more times.
  12. Braid in chosen fashion.
  13. Transfer to greased baking sheet and brush with egg wash.
  14. Let rise 1 hour.
  15. Bake in oven preheated to 350* and reduced to 275* when the loaf goes in.
  16. Bake at 275* for 30 minutes before you begin checking for done-ness.  Could take 10-20 minutes longer.

Prep time 45 minutes.
Rise time 3 hours.
Total Time 3 hours 45 Minutes.

This is super Yummy.  Like I said, I prefer this as a breakfast Challah and we don’t do it every week.  I look forward to your feedback.  If you intend to use this recipe, please Pin it and Share it with your Facebook community!


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