Have you ever stared at your delicious Friday night challah and thought, “Wow, I bet this would be delicious stuffed with cheese, brushed with melted butter and parmesan and then dipped in tomato sauce”? Well, I did and the results were absolutely delicious.
For the dough:
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
½ tsp sugar
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ Tbsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ Tbsp dried basil
½ Tbsp dried oregano
½ Tbsp dried parsley
½ Tbsp jarred, chopped garlic (fresh is fine too)
Mini mozzarella balls or mozzarella cut into 1 inch squares
For the top:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted melted butter
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp salt
Fresh basil (optional)
Tomato sauce for dipping
In a small bowl place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 5-10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and dried spices. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil and jarred garlic. Mix thoroughly.
Add another 1 ½ cups of flour and 2 eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 1 cup of flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining 1 cup of flour into dough until it is firm and elastic. It should bounce back slightly when you poke it.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 2-3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch round pans.
Cut dough into 2.5-3 oz pieces and roll into ropes. (You should have around 12-14 pieces). Place mozzarella on rope and tie challah into a not around it. (You can also tie challah into a knot and then stuff mozzarella in the middle).
Place 6-7 stuffed knots into each pan.
Melt 1 stick butter in the microwave and add parmesan, garlic and salt. Brush on top of challah. Allow to rise another 20 minutes
Bake for 25 minutes or until just golden on top and you can see some of the cheese oozing.
Sprinkle with fresh basil if desired. Serve warm with tomato sauce for dipping.
Pronounced: KHAH-luh, Origin: Hebrew, ceremonial bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.