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+ servings

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Fig Challah Buns + Fig Challah Bread

Festive fig challah buns with fresh cranberries are perfect for your holiday table or bake a batch of these challah rolls for Shabbat.
Course: Bread
Keyword: challah buns, challah rolls
Servings: 8 rolls plus 1 loaf OR 2 medium loaves


  • 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.


Recipe and photos by Paula Shoyer