Zopf Challah Bread Khaman Nu

Recipe contributed by: Kainaaz Patell

A baker, artist, lifter and a maniac put together, Kainaaz loves experimenting in the kitchen. You can buy her amazing baked goodies by contacting her on Facebook.

Braided (Zopf) Challah stuffed with coconut

Z for Zoph (Braided) Challah Khaman Nu

Z…not much in the food world starts with Z. But I was given this letter for the #AtoZofParsiFood Challenge and the one request the Bawi Bride had of me is that it should be something to do with bread. So the challenge was a Bread starting with Z to be initiated into the Bawa world.

Google threw me one bread. ‘Zopf’ or ‘ Zupfe’ is a traditional  sweet Swiss Braid to be eaten on Sunday mornings with choi. Zopf literally means braid, like it’s more popular cousin Challah, a Jewish Sabbath bread. We decided to try stuffing it with Kopra Pak. Since I had tried Niloufer Mavalwala’s recipe for Coconut Cake which also used the same filling somewhat, I decided to begin this experiment by first making the ‘khaman’.

Zopf Challah with sweetened coconut

Challah with Sweetened Coconut Filling

I had to decide on a bread recipe which wasn’t too sweet or too heavy for this filling and Peter Reinhart’s Challah recipe fit the bill perfectly.

The challenges faced with making this was the heat and humidity while rolling out the dough and filling it with the sweet khaman which I had made a day in advance. Even though I used the khaman directly from the fridge, after placing it on the dough, it made it very difficult to seal the edges without the syrup seeping through. Sweating through the process, somehow the braid was ready and set aside to proof (second rise). After this, it went into the oven to bake and I prayed that the filling wouldn’t seep through the crust of the bread.

Stuffing the Challah with Khaman (Coconut)

Stuffing the bread and braiding it

Surprisingly, this experiment worked a treat and the combination of flavours was amazing. Ofcourse, if you are daunted by the braiding you don’t have to make it elaborate and can also just stuff it into half moons and bake it like hand pies.

Without further ado, here is the recipe.

Zopf Khaman Nu

Zopf_300x225 A Zoph (braided) Challah bread stuffed with Khaman, this is one bread you will want to learn how to master in your home kitchen!

  • Prep Time: 3h 30m
  • Cook Time: 1h 30m
  • Total Time: 5h

Ingredients

Khaman Filling

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut (pressed down)
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut (pressed down)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (adjust sweetness according to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg cardamom powder mix
  • 4 tablespoons rose water
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon rose syrup
  • 1 drop Wilton's red food colour
  • Pinch of salt

Braided Challah Bread

  • 205 grams flour (sieved)
  • 17 1/2 grams granulated sugar
  • 4 grams salt
  • 2 1/2 grams instant yeast
  • 17 1/2 grams vegetable oil
  • 99 grams water
  • 24 grams beaten egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white

Instructions

Khaman Filling

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan add in all the ingredients except the food colouring. Cook until it is soft and cooked through and the sugar has melted completely. Don't let it dry out too much. Stir occasionally.
  2. Once done, remove from heat, add the food colouring. Cool.
  3. Chill in the fridge overnight as the khaman filling needs to be cool and hard before it gets stuffed in the bread.

Braided Challah Bread

  1. For the egg wash, keep aside 1 egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon of water. Before you begin, do ensure that water and eggs are at room temperature.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, eggs and yolks and the water till frothy.
  4. Pour the egg mixture in the flour mixture.
  5. Mix with a spoon until all the ingredients gather and form a ball. Add more water spoon by spoon only if needed to make a course tacky dough.
  6. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, knead for 10 minutes sprinkling in flour or water if needed to make the dough soft and supple, slightly tacky but not sticky.
  7. Dough should be stretchy and register approximately 77deg F to 81 degrees F.
  8. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the bowl, rolling it around to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Ferment for 1 hour at room temperature.
  9. Remove dough and punch it to de gas. Knead for 2 mins, form a ball, return to the bowl and allow to rise till 1.5 times it's original size (around 1 hour and 20 minutes in Mumbai weather).
  10. Remove dough from bowl and divide into two equal pieces. Form them into balls and let them rest for 10mins on the counter covered with a damp towel.
  11. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin, should be atleast 1/2 inch thick. Remove the khaman from the fridge and put the filling in the centre. Leaving two inches from the top and the bottom. To seal pinch the dough shut tightly, turn the seal portion on the counter and roll gently with palms to make sure the dough spreads evenly. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
  12. Once the strands are ready pinch both of them together at the top and start twisting them carefully one over the other making sure that the khaman doesn\'t ooze out.
  13. When you get to the end of the braid pinch them together again. Place them on a lined sheet pan with baking parchment. Brush with egg wash. Mist them with spray oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap. Proof at room temp for 1 to 1 1/4 hours until the dough has risen to 1.5 times its original size.
  14. Preheat oven to 350deg F, with the rack on the middle shelf. Brush with egg wash again and put in oven for 20 mins. Rotate the pan and continue baking for 20/45 mins. The bread should have a brown/ golden hue and register 190 deg F in the centre.
  15. Transfer to a rack and let cool for atleast 1 hour before slicing.

This post is part of my ongoing series on the blog, the A to Z of Parsi Food which has been curated in collaboration with Parsi food enthusiasts globally. For more interesting recipes follow the hashtag #AtoZChallenge mentioned below.

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