Sweet & Salty Chocolate Chip Challah Buns

Remember when I recently showed you the Apple Fritters my friend and I made one random Saturday? Well, there were Apple Fritters – and then there were these darlings here: Chocolate Chip Challah Buns. With honey inside. And sweet and salty sprinkles. Doughy and nice. Very fluffy. In one word: heaven in a Bun.

Well, I admit it right here and now: I am shit at making doughs. I am in panic whenever I just hear the word “yeast”. Yeast and I are not (always) friends.

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And I am by no means an expert when it comes to baking bread and buns and stuff. J & I were sort of in panic all day long, while making these here, waiting impatiently and somewhat desperately for the dough to rise, hopping from one foot to the other, checking every second minute on their state and occasionally all of the time doubting their successful outcome. Which, turns out, was so very superfluous! Don’t waste your energy on yeast and dough complexities! It’s so not worth it. You simply can’t control it. You can have your water tepid and the yeast at room temperature and knead it properly by hand and let it rise in the perfect sunlit, warm spot and still end up with a crappy, dry, not fluffy at all dough. And you won’t even know WHY. And it will drive you mad, positively mad. On other days, you won’t give a fuck and not work so carefully and your buns will be perfect. Baking is sometimes fickle like that. Who’s with me? Hands up, baby! And hands down; i sometimes hate the fickleness of it all. But then again; it’s good for my inner OCD; like therapy. Everything can’t be perfect. Just go with it and embrace the crazies.

And also, pretty obviously, in case you haven’t already noticed: our Buns don’t look as perfectly pretty and neatly knotted as their inspiration source – and you know, it’s not a competition, right? Although Social Media might at times make you feel like it is (Hello, Essena O’neill!). All that matters though is the output. And whether YOU like it. And really: they’re definitely as completely delicious as can and we and our entourage completely loved them.

So, if you’re a worrier (about dough trickiness) and otherwise, like I am, too – then don’t despair: Completely Delicious guides you through it, step by step. And she even features a nice “How To” knot the Buns, which comes in really handy. I’d give the Buns a 9 out of an overall achievable 10 (and yes, judging and rating food is now officially a thing around here on F&F, so hide your ugly Buns, y’all!).
 

This one is for you, dear J, and for little K.

xx

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Chip Challah Buns

Recipe and more detailed instructions by Completely Delicious* 
* Note: I mainly skipped the Kitchen Aid for this, since I believe in hand-kneaded dough – well, at least most of the time… Of course, the kneading by hand will take you somewhat longer. But that’s alright. Apart from that, we pretty much stuck to Annalise’s perfect guide. Omit the self-doubt and skepticism, and you / your Buns will be fine.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter

1/3 cup (113 grams) honey

1/2 cup (118 ml) water

2 1/2-3 cups (300-360 grams) bread flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoon (1 package, 7 grams) active-dry yeast

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (85 grams) mini chocolate chips

1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash

Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Coarse salt, for sprinkling


Directions:

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the butter, honey and water until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, until handwarm. In the bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the salt and yeast. Add the butter mixture, mixing until combined, followed by the eggs. Start to combine the dough by hand or with a wooden spoon, adding the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is sticky, but does not come off on your hands when touched. You may not need all 3 cups of the flour.  Add the mini chocolate chips. Continue kneading dough until smooth and elastic for about 8-10 minutes. Put dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Note: it might take a little longer than one hour, but don’t despair!
Punch down dough gently to release gases. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, cover with the kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. This will make it easier to roll out the dough. Working with each piece at a time, divide them again into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch / 15 cm long rope. Lay 2 of the ropes out in front of you and place the other 2 on top, perpendicular to the first two. Alternate over and under (similar to a pie lattice). Take the 4 ropes that are “under” and pull them over the “over” ropes to their left. Tuck all rope ends under, creating a round braided bun.
Or, you know, just go about and make a messy knot, randomly. Wobbly is gorgeous, is my new mantra.
Place the braided buns on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled again, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 C / 375 F degrees. Brush with egg wash again and sprinkle generously with the coarse sugar and salt. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Buns are best the day they are baked, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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