Challah isn’t limited to traditional loaf shape

Most people know challah — a Jewish egg bread — as a braided loaf. But truth is, it can take on a variety of shapes.

At Rosh Hashana, which starts Thursday, it often is formed into a spiral, which is meant to symbolize the circle and continuity of the Jewish new year.

To make this delicious celebratory bread a little easier, we gave our version of spiral challah a boost thanks to a bit of help from baking powder.

To make it easier to shape and faster to bake, we divided the large loaf into mini rolls shaped in muffin tins. The result tastes like challah, but looks like a beautiful popover.

If desired, you can add raisins to the spirals, then drizzle them with honey after they come out of the oven for a great breakfast.

Speedy challah muffin spirals

2/3 cup warm water

4 whole eggs, room temperature

3 egg yolks, room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons instant yeast

4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour

For the egg wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, 4 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, oil, honey, salt, baking powder, yeast and 4 1/2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should be very soft and slightly sticky. If it feels too sticky, add the remaining flour 2 tablespoons at a time.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Dump the dough out onto the counter and divide into 16 even pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-inch long snake.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Spiral 1 dough snake into each muffin cup. Cover the muffin tin loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place for another 45 minutes, or until puffy.

After the dough has risen for 30 minutes, heat the oven to 375 F.

To prepare the egg wash, in a small bowl beat together the egg and water until frothy. Brush gently over the spirals, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Makes 16. Per serving: 230 calories; 80 calories from fat (31 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 30 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 6 g protein; 330 mg sodium.

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