Jewish holidays have wonderful traditions, most involving food. One of my favorites is challah, a yeasted egg bread that is served on religious occasions and at ceremonies. Challah is not just reserved for these special meals, though. It’s a wonderful treat for anyone at any time of year.
In fact, it’s not only a truly delicious bread, it’s also one that will impress any guest or crowd. The braids merely look like it took a skillful baker to weave, but that can be our little secret. With my recipe, you’ll be making beautiful gluten and dairy-free challah that will have everyone marveling at your baking prowess!
The eggs in this bread help to keep it moist and fresh for days, thus, on the off-chance there are any leftovers, enjoy it with hummus, peanut butter, honey, or plain. Fitting that it is the manna that just keeps giving!
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 package rapid rise gf yeast (Red Star®)
- 1 tsp. granulated cane sugar
- 1 cup vanilla dairy or non-dairy yogurt, at room temperature (So Delicious® Vanilla Coconut Yogurt)
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 5 large egg yolks at room temperature (slightly mixed)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 Tbs. honey, agave nectar or molasses
- 4 cups Jules Gluten Free™ All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Tbs. + 2 tsp. granulated cane sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
- 1 large egg, mixed
- poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, diced apples or other toppings (optional)
Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn it off; if you have a warming drawer, you may set that to low/moist setting instead. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. After 5 minutes of proofing, stir in the yeast-water mixture into the wet ingredients (note: if your yeast isn’t bubbling at this point, throw it out and start again with fresh yeast). Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until fully integrated, then mix 2 minutes more on medium speed.
Using either method, once the dough is combined, divide it in half and divide each half into three equal-sized balls (6 balls total). Roll each ball out into an 18-inch coil or log on a clean, flat surface dusted lightly with Jules Gluten Free™ All Purpose Flour. Pinch together one end of each coil, wetting them slightly with water to help them join together at the top, then braid them, finishing by connecting them to the top of the other end in order to form a long braid.
Gently transfer braid to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the second set of three balls. You may divide the dough into as many balls as you like, counting on at least 3 balls per loaf. Roll each to equal lengths of coil and braid into 1, 2, or 4 loaves.
In a small bowl, mix the extra egg together with a splash of water and brush over each loaf well, coating the entire top surface. Sprinkle the fruit or any toppings at this point, then place the tray (covering the loaves with wax paper sprayed with cooking oil) in a warming drawer set to low heat, or into the preheated oven for at least 20 – 30 minutes.
Once risen at least slightly, place the uncovered tray in an oven preheated to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection) for 20 minutes (less time for smaller loaves). Remove to cool on a wire rack.
This recipe and 149 more great gluten-free recipes can be found in my newest book, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy.