"Challah" is a special type of bread eaten during the Jewish Sabbath and special holidays. This spiraled bread is traditionally made with white flour and eggs. Try this vegan and gluten-free version below.
Challah [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 2 tsp. egg replacer + 6 Tbs. warm water
- 2 Tbs. ground flax (or chia) + 6 Tbs. warm water
- 2/3 cup warm water + 2 tsp. sugar + 1 ½ Tbs. or 2 packets active dry yeast
- 2 ¼ cups gluten-free oat flour
- 2 cups gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbs. guar gum (or xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 cup warm water
- 4 Tbs. melted vegan butter or ¼ cup oil
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- Non-dairy milk or oil for brushing
- Sesame and/or poppy seeds
- In a mug or small bowl, combine the egg replacer with warm water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. In a 2nd mug or small bowl, combine the flax and warm water. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes a thick gel. In a 3rd bowl, combine the warm water with the sugar. Add the yeast, mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes very frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, guar gum, salt and turmeric. Mix well so everything is well combined. Push the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl to form a well.
- In another bowl (yes, there are a lot of bowls to wash but not on Shabbos), mix the warm water, butter or oil and vinegar. It will look a little clumpy from the vinegar. Add these wet ingredients to the well of the dry ingredients but don’t mix yet.
- To the well add the egg replacer mixture, the flax gel and the mayonnaise. Using a whisk, mix these wet ingredients in the well a bit. Lastly, add the yeast mixture to the well. Using a spatula, mix the ingredients in the well, incorporating the flour more and more until all the flour has been mixed with the wet ingredients. It will not form a dough but a very thick and sticky batter. You can mix it with your hand but wet your hand first.
- When the batter is thoroughly mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a damp towel. Put the bowl in a warm area and allow it to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. While you’re waiting, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil the challah mold or baking pan.
- After the hour, wet your hand and mix the batter again for a minute. It will deflate. Fill the mold or pan with the batter between 1/2 and 2/3 full. This is important because the batter will rise again now and again in the oven. If you fill it higher than 2/3, it will overflow. If you have extra batter, put it in another pan to make another small loaf or in an oiled muffin tin to make little challah muffins. Cover the mold with plastic wrap and the damp towel and allow it to rise another 30 minutes or until it almost reaches the top of the mold. If you let it rise to the very top of the mold, it may overflow when it rises again in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the towel and plastic wrap and place the mold on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until the top (which is really the bottom of the loaf) is browned. Take the baking sheet out of the oven. Using potholders (the mold will be very hot), carefully turn the mold over so the challah releases and is on the parchment paper.
- Brush the top of the loaf with milk or oil and sprinkle the poppy and/or sesame seeds on top. Return the challah to the oven and bake for another 30 -35 minutes or until the challah is golden brown and has a hollow sound when you thump on it. The time may vary depending on your oven and the size loaves you are making.
- Let the challah cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving it to a wire cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing or saying prayers over. Shabbat Shalom.