This beautiful vegan challah is the perfect twist on a holiday classic. The addition of marzipan adds a kick of almond sweetness, which makes it feel like you’re eating a Danish pastry. While this recipe might look a bit complicated at first, it’s actually fairly easy to make once you get the hang of the braiding, and it’s so worth it the moment you bite into a piece of the warm and fluffy deliciousness!

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Cooking by Kirsten Kaminski, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Kirsten Kaminski

Marzipan Challah [Vegan]

Advertisement

Serves

10

Advertisement

Ingredients

For the Challah: 

  • 1 tablespoon (10 g) instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup (48 g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (285 ml) warm water, divided
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) vegetable oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon (11 g) baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Marzipan:

  • 1/2 cup (48 g) almond flour
  • 1/4 cup (33 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup

For the Vegan Egg Wash: 

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup

For the Topping: 

  • 1/4 cup (28 g) slivered blanched almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of powdered sugar (optional)
Advertisement

Preparation

For the Marzipan:

  1. Combine the almond flour, powdered sugar, almond extract and maple syrup in a food processor and pulse until a sticky mass forms.
  2. Wrap the marzipan in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.

For the Challah:

  1. To make the challah, place the yeast, a pinch of the 1/4 cup (48 g) of granulated sugar and 1 cup (240 ml) of the warm water in a medium bowl and whisk lightly. Let the mixture rest for 3 to 5 minutes, until creamy.
  2. In the meantime, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of warm water with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil in a small bowl. Add the baking powder and stir with a spoon until the mixture is fizzy.
  3. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups (360 g) of the all-purpose flour, the remaining 1/4 cup (48 g) of granulated sugar and salt and whisk well.
  4. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of oil to the yeast mixture and combine. Add the baking powder mixture to the oil-yeast mixture. Add the liquid mixture to the all-purpose our mixture while stirring well with a wooden spoon, then knead with your hands until the dough is smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup (60 g) of all-purpose flour a little at a time as you knead. The dough is ready once it doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
  5. Lightly grease a large bowl with additional oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and gently roll it around in the bowl to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the dough has risen, place it on a floured surface and knead it for 2 minutes to get rid of any air bubbles.
  7. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Pat and stretch each piece into a long rectangle, making sure they are all the same length, and place about one- sixth of the marzipan in a long strip in the middle of the rectangle. Roll the dough around it and pinch it closed, making a rope that is about 16 inches (40 cm) long. Repeat this process with the remaining 5 pieces of dough.
  8. Arrange the 6 dough ropes next to one another on a work surface. Connect the ends on the top and use your palm to pinch them together so they’ll hold well, then tuck them under a bit. For easier braiding, move the A and F ropes up a bit on the work surface so that they form a horizontal line, then move the E and D ropes to the top left a bit and the C and B strands to the top right so there is an empty space in the middle.
  9. Pick up the A rope on the far right and move it all the way over to the left side. Pick up the F rope on the far left and move it all the way to the right side. The F rope should be on top and the A rope below. Then take the F rope from the right side and move it down in the middle between the D and C strands.
  10. As you braid, when you bring the rope down from the right side, you’ll replace it with a rope from the left side (and vice versa). Hence, to replace the F rope you just moved, take the second strand from the left (the E rope) and move it all the way to the upper-right side. Then move the D and F ropes to the top-left side to fill the empty space.
  11. Now move the A rope from the upper-left side down into the middle and replace it with the second strand from the right (the B rope). Then move the A and C ropes to the top right to fill the empty space. Now simply continue braiding with this method: Bring the rope down from the right and replace it with the second rope from the left, then bring down the rope from the left and replace it with the second rope from the right until there is no more dough to work with, then pinch the ends together and tuck it under the end.
  12. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, cover the dough with a damp cloth and let the dough rise for 45 minutes at room temperature.
  13. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).

To Make the Vegan Egg Wash:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and maple syrup.
  2. Gently brush the wash all over the braided challah and sprinkle the almonds and cinnamon on top.
  3. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown on top. Place the challah on a cooling rack to cool. Dust it with the powdered sugar (if using) prior to serving.
Advertisement
    Advertisement