For December the HBinFive group is making a whole grain challah with cranberries and orange zest. It was easy and yummy.
I followed the recipe exactly as written, using melted butter. One batch as written just about filled up my Kitchen Aid mixer. I added the water with the mixer on a lower speed, and there were no overflowing issues at all. I ended up with just under 5 pounds of dough, so was able to make 5 braids. I did a one-stranded braid, following the directions on this YouTube video. It wasn't as easy as they make it look, and I still wouldn't be able to do it without watching the video and pausing it midway through. But the end result looked great, if I do say so myself! And was pretty tasty too.
I've never eaten challah bread before, so I really have nothing to compare it to, but this whole grain version was not dense and heavy as you might expect. The cranberries and orange zest give it a nice holiday flavor.
One of the things I have enjoyed about both this recipe and the November pumpkin bread recipe is having the dough on hand in the fridge. It makes it so easy to whip out a loaf of delicious home-made bread pretty darn quick. I whipped up a batch last Wednesday evening, baked one loaf on Thursday, one on Saturday, and three on Sunday.
The last three loaves I made all at once and being in a hurry, forgot to put the egg/sugar/orange zest glaze on. Which was too bad because that added a lot to the bread, in my opinion, so I'll have to be more careful in the future. All in all, this is a great holiday bread for eating at home or giving as a gift.