breakfast challah

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I feel like bacon tends to be more of a buzzword than a flavor these days. We make bacon doughnuts, bacon lollipops and even bacon flavored ritz crackers. While I’m the first one to take a deep appreciative sniff of bacon, I feel like it’s too much, almost.

Then breakfast challah walks in. And boy, does it make an entrance.

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A sweet, eggy loaf laced with bacon and loaded with maple syrup flavor. It’s sweet, salty, maplely fun. Growing up mostly in Vermont, I stand firm in my need for real, thick, maple syrup. Grade A Amber is my favorite, but I don’t really care as long as it actually comes from a tree. You might find that the maple flavor is somewhat hard to coax out in glaze, so I kick it up a notch with some vanilla extract. While I’ve never actually tried maple extract, it seems like that could help boost as well – so do as you wish, seems like you couldn’t possibly go too wrong.

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Feel free to inhale this bread, ten minutes out of the oven, with some salted butter. Or, if your stomach is allowing some semblance of patience, fry up an egg and slap it on a toasted slice of this bread. My dad suggesting french toasting it…. and on that note, I’m off to make more.

breakfast challah
challah recipe adapted from molly on the range
makes two loaves

for the bread:
41/2 teaspoons (about two envelopes) of active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
6 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup flavorless oil (i used sunflower)
1/4 cup brown sugar

maple-bacon mixture: for one loaf. if you’d like two breakfast loaves, double this and the glaze. 
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt
8 strips of bacon, cooked until crisp
3 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

for the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbs half and half (or cream, or milk, or anything. you know the drill).

how to:

In a medium sized bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir it together, and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to foam.

While it’s foaming, mix the flour, salt and remaining white sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and put the dough hook on. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and brown sugar.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and immediately add the egg mixture. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and somewhat sticky. If it is really sticky, add a bit of flour, but try not to add to much, since it will make the dough tough.

Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about two hours.

In a small bowl, place 5 chopped strips of bacon and toss with the maple syrup. Chop the other 3 strips and set aside in a small bowl, for topping.

Once the dough is doubled in size, turn it out onto a slightly floured surface, and divide in two. Keep one half covered while you work with the other. Divide the half into three pieces, and pat/roll each piece into a twelve inch log, and pat out about three inches wide. Divide the mapled bacon between the logs, and roll them up like a jelly roll and pinch to close. Pinch the ends together, and braid down, pinching the ends as well.

Place on a baking sheet with parchment, cover with a dishtowel, and let rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Brush the loaves with egg wash, and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, and an internal temperature of 190°F. Check for completion at about 28 minutes.

Let them cool, eat while warm with butter, fried eggs, and more bacon, or glaze when room-temperature with the maple glaze. To make the glaze, combine the cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Add more maple, cream, or powdered sugar as desired. Top with reserved chopped bacon.

 

lemon loaf cake with basil glaze

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This lemon cake is zingy and filled right to the brim with lemon flavor. Lemon zest is worked into the sugar right at the base, and then the warm cake is poked full of holes and covered in a bright lemon syrup.

In other words, it’s not for the faint of lemon-heart.

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But, with all the lemon flavor, we can work in friends, like the humble vanilla bean and the bright basil. And I know, I know, basil doesn’t belong anywhere near a pound cake like this one – but give it a try, because we all should try something new once in a while. Right?

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Plus, this cake makes two loaves, so feel free to give one to your mother so she can see how together your life is. This cake hides all those corners of adult-hood that no one is ready for yet, plus it feels appropriate for breakfast.

I love a cake that feels like a good choice for breakfast. Cutting the corners of adulthood, one step at a time.

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I liked serving this cake with fresh strawberries – the combination of the strawberries and basil is killer, plus, if you serve this to your friends you will definitely look fancy. I don’t know about you but I need all the help I can get when it comes to fancy.

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lemon loaf cake with basil glaze
lemon cake adapted from joy the baker

for the cake:
2½ cup all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2⅓ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, or two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs
⅔ cup heavy cream
zest of 2 lemons, as fine as you can get it
15 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

for the syrup:
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
juice of two lemons

for the glaze:
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or more, to taste, if you’d like a more lemony flavor)

how-to:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8½ by 4½ inch loaf pans, and cut out a piece of parchment that overhangs both of the long sides. This will help you pop out the cake with ease.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, ensuring that it is totally incorporated.

In a large bowl, put the sugar and the lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar takes on a lemony color and smell. You’ll know when it’s ready. Add the vanilla bean and rub to incorporate (if you’re using the vanilla extract, don’t add it now).Add the eggs into the sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Add the vanilla extract, if using. Whisk in the cream.

Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, using a rubber spatula. Fold in the melted butter until uniform.

Split the batter between the two pans, and smooth the top with a spatula. Place pans on two baking sheets stacked together (or an insulated baking sheet), and bake for 55-60 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

While the cakes are baking, make the syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and heat over medium heat, until the sugar has melted and the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and place in a bowl to cool.

Once the cakes have finished baking, place them on a rack to cool for 5 minutes before turning them out. Poke the cake with a thin object (like a small sharp knife, a skewer, or anything you have on hand) and make lots of little small holes. Slowly brush the syrup over the two cakes, making sure to give it plenty of time to sink in. Let cool to room temperature while you make the glaze.

To make the glaze, place the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, until steaming, hot, and with a ring of small bubbles around the edge. Be careful to not let it boil. Add the basil to the cream, and allow to sit for 7 minutes. Strain, and place the cream in a bowl. Add the powdered sugar in batches, stirring with a whisk or a fork to combine. Add the lemon juice. Adjust with a bit more cream, lemon juice, or powdered sugar to make the glaze thicker or thinner to your preference.

Once the cake has cooled, drizzle with the glaze, reserving any extra glaze for serving. Either top or serve the cake with fresh strawberries, and enjoy!