Fig challah buns are a different way to bring your favorite braided bread to the table. Fresh cranberries meet their match with naturally sweet figs for challah rolls ready for the holidays!
What Kind of Figs to Use in Challah Buns
Our go-to fig to use in the challah buns is hands-down our Orchard Choice and Sun-Maid Figs. Use Mission Figs for their familiar jammy sweetness as a delightful complement to the tart and tangy fresh cranberries. Their dark purple color also provides contrast in these festive buns. For a different way to roll (we couldn’t help but be a little bit punny!), our Golden Figs bring a more delicate sweetness and nuttiness with an amber color to the buns. Both bring their own personality to the bread.
Lots to Loaf
You’ll find that the recipe below gives you the option of making two loaves of challah (perfect for those family gatherings or to gift), or make one loaf and eight challah rolls. Paula Shoyer, aka the Kosher Baker, will walk you through this special bread below. If this is your first time to make challah, this is the season to bake it.
This bread uses active dry yeast and if yeast intimidates you, here are a few things to consider. First thing, the water should be warm—think warm to the touch, but not hot. Hot water will kill the yeast. The temperature range for yeast needs to be in the range of 105-115. If you’re new to baking with yeast, you could try baking with this yeast (they recommend the water temperature be in the range of 120-130F). Adding in 1 teaspoon of sugar is a kind of insurance to help the yeast start feeding and activate them.
Ready to Bake Challah?
Try leftover buns as a sweet bread for breakfast or sliced and griddled into French toast topped with fruit.
Fig Challah Buns + Fig Challah Bread
- 2 envelopes (1/2 oz or 4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup oil , plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the bowl
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 large eggs , plus 1 for glazing
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups Orchard Choice® or Sun-Maid® California Mission Figs , chopped into 1/3-inch or smaller pieces
- 1 cup fresh cranberries , halved
- In a measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water and mix in the teaspoon of sugar. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes, or until it thickens. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the 2/3 cup sugar, salt, and oil and whisk well. Add the boiled water to dissolve the salt and sugar and then add the cold water to cool the mixture. Add the two eggs and whisk in. Whisk in the cornmeal.
- When the yeast is thick and bubbly, add to the mixing bowl and whisk in. Add the 3 cups of bread flour, one cup at a time, and mix in well. Add another ¼ cup of flour and mix in. Sprinkle some of the remaining flour on your counter and turn the dough out of the bowl on top of the four. Knead the dough, adding more flour a little at a time, and mixing it in completely each time, until the dough is soft.
- Grease the bowl with the 1 teaspoon of oil and rub the top of the dough with your oiled hand and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 ½ hours.
- Turn the dough onto your counter, press it flatter, and grab a few handfuls of the figs and cranberries and press them into the dough. Fold the dough over to cover the fruit, flatten gently and then press another handful of fruit into the dough. Fold the dough over and repeat, until all of the fruit has been added to the dough. Dust your hands with flour as needed.
- Divide the dough in half.
To Make Challah Rolls
- Divide half of the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into an 8-inch long strand. Take each strand and twist one end over the other and then press it through the bottom to be visible on top to create a knot.
To Make a Loaf:
- You can divide the dough into three and make a 3-braid challah. To make a 4-braid, divide the dough into four pieces and roll each one into about 10-inch strands. Place the strands into an “X” by pressing the ends of the strands together. Place the top right strand into the center of the bottom two strands and then lift up the bottom left strand to the top right to take its place. Next take the top left strand and place it in the center of the bottom two strands and lift up the bottom right strand to take its place on top. Repeat until you cannot shape any more, and then tuck the ends under on both sides.
Bake the Challah
- Place the challah and/or rolls on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Let rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the remaining egg into a small bowl and add ½ teaspoon water and beat well. Brush on top of the loaves. Bake the loaves for 35 to 38 minutes, and the rolls for 23 to 25 minutes, or until golden. If the top of the loaf browns too quickly, drape foil over the top and continue baking until the loaf sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.