Peach Challah

I recently spoke at the American Culinary Federation Central Region Conference about modernizing traditional desserts.  One of the desserts I demonstrated was my take on the classic peach melba, using peach challah bread in the place of an actual peach.  Auguste Escoffier is credited for creating this seasonal dessert many many years ago at the Savoy Hotel.  When the fruits are in season, fresh raspberries and peaches finished with vanilla ice cream is simple yet wonderful.  With all due respect to Escoffier, I wanted to attempt a more intricate presentation.  I also wanted to showcase an assembled dish without the ever-popular deconstructed style that dominates modern pastry. 
I love this dish.  It is whimsical and has an element of surprise.  Look for more on the modern dessert series as summer continues.  
Peach Challah
Author: Joe the Baker
  • 200 grams peach puree
  • 6 grams instant yeast
  • 75 grams vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 485 grams all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer bloom the yeast in the peach puree. Ensure it is working by smell and a gentle foaming around the sides of the dish. Add the remaining ingredients in order and mix, using a dough hook, on low speed for three minutes. Make sure the dough is fully hydrated. Increase speed to medium and mix until a smooth ball forms around the hook, about 4 minutes. Place dough in new, greased bowl and allow to bulk ferment for an hour. Punch down the dough then use. For the bread peaches, make small buns and fully proof the dough before baking. Bake at 350F until completely baked and hollow sounding. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Trim the bread to fit together to resemble a peach. Hollow the inside of the bun for desired filling.
Recipe Notes

For a modern melba, fill the "peaches" with peach pastry cream, sandwich together, glaze with apricot or peach gel, then dust with coarse colored sugar to achieve that fuzzy look. Allow the sugar to refrigerate for several hours before serving.


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