Making these elegant pomegranate challah rolls is something I look forward to all year long. On Rosh Hashanah, my kids and my guests always feel special having their own individual pomegranate challah on their plate; served with a stick of honey, it is just so so special. I truly hope you will make these for your loved ones too.
Place the flour in a mixer bowl and add the dry yeast and sugar. Mix for a few seconds.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and oil.
Prepare a jar of warm water. The water should not be boiling but rather to the point that your hand can touch it.
Place the salt in a small separate bowl.
Now that everything is ready, let’s start making the dough. Start the mixer on a low speed and add half the amount of water plus the two tablespoons honey. Let it work for a few seconds, and then add the oil and eggs to the mixture. Mix for about two minutes. Add more water, but not all of it. Now add the salt. The dough should start to separate from the bowl. It should be smooth and very comfortable to the touch. If you think that it is too dry, add the rest of the water and mix for a few more minutes.
Take a large bowl and grease with a very thin layer of oil. Transfer the dough, flip once, cover loosely with a plastic bag and a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for one hour. Punch once or twice during the hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust your counter with flour, transfer the dough onto it, and cut the dough into about eight to 10 portions. Shape eight portions into smooth balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then further divide the remaining two portions in fourths and form small balls form the dough (leaving you with eight large and eight small balls of challah).
Using a pair of kitchen shears, make four intersecting snips on one side of a small dough ball, similar to how you would slice a pizza, but do not cut all the way through the dough. This will be the crown of your pomegranate. Place on top of a large dough ball. Continue until all the dough is used. Let rise for another two to three minutes.
Brush the challahs with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes.
For very soft and airy challahs, place a small tray with hot water on the bottom shelf of your oven. The steam helps with rising, and the results are amazing.
If you do not have a mixer you can do all the steps by hand. Just be careful to knead very well.