Pumpkin spice, apple and raisin New Year challah

This sticky, sweet challah is packed with spiced apples and juicy raisins and will fill your home with the most gorgeous aromas as it bakes.

  • place PRE 30 mins + rising
  • place COOK 30 - 45 mins
  • place SERVES 12
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  • Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, spice and salt in a large bowl. Make a well and add the beaten eggs and oil.
  • Measure out 300ml of lukewarm water — it should feel slightly warm if you dip your finger in, but not too hot, as that would kill the yeast.
  • Add about 250ml of water to the flour mixture and stir, initially with a spoon and then with one hand. Keep the other hand clean until you start kneading.
  • The dough should start to come together. If there’s a lot of dry flour, add a little water, gradually, so the mixture is not too wet and sticky. The dough should be moist not soggy. If you add too much, add a little flour to make it easier to handle, but try not to.
  • Once the dough has come together, turn it on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, silky and springy (10 minutes). If it gets very sticky, add a little flour — again, as little as possible. A dough scraper is useful if dough sticks to the worktop.
  • Once the dough is smooth, knead in the raisins until evenly distributed. Roll into a ball, stretching the sides down and pulling them together to form a taut surface. Lightly oil a large, clean bowl, then roll the dough ball lightly around the bowl so the surface is coated in the oil. Cover with cling film or a clean, tea towel, and leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size (2-3 hours). You will know it’s ready if, when you press it lightly with your finger, the indentation does not fill out again.
  • Towards the end of the rising time, mix the chopped apples with the sugar, flour and Cook With M&S Pumpkin Spice Seasoning. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • Turn the risen dough out on to a clean surface, weigh it and punch the dough down to push out the air.
  • Divide the dough into equal halves. Take one piece and roll into a large rectangle. Scatter about half the apple mixture over the dough, leaving a border of about 1½-2cm around the edges. Roll it into a long sausage (to make a long thin swiss roll, not a short fat one), keeping it as tight as you can. Coil into a spiral, tucking the end under the outside of the loaf. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
  • Carefully place the loaves on the baking sheets and loosely cover with clingfilm or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a draught-free place until puffy and billowy (30-45 minutes).
  • While it’s rising, heat oven to 180°C (fan) or 200°C in a regular oven.
  • When risen, carefully glaze with the beaten egg, getting into all the crevices. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it. Check after about 15 minutes and if the top is too dark, cover with foil while it bakes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 2 medium loaves

650g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading/shaping

2 sachets (14g) fast action dried yeast

100g caster sugar

2 tsp Cook With M&S Pumpkin Spice Seasoning

15g salt

2 eggs, beaten (plus a third beaten egg to glaze)

70ml sunflower oil

150g raisins

For the filling:

3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1cm dice

3 tbsp soft light brown sugar

1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp Cook With M&S Pumpkin Spice Seasoning

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