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Michelle Walker September 29, 2008
Can I Get a CHALLAH?!?
by Michelle Walker

vegan challah

This week in my “green” kitchen I will be making vegan challah in honor of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. For those of you who are not familiar with challah, it is a yummy sweet egg bread that is braided and baked. It is divine and scrumptious and has a beautiful presentation. When served fresh and steamy, you will ensure that your guests remember that first bite for a very long time.

Traditional challah uses a large amount of eggs, white flour and sugar. However, with our vegan challah, we will not only be omitting the eggs, but also making it much healthier with using spelt flour and reducing the amount of sugar by adding more agave nector.

I will be enjoying this bread later tonight myself (and making challah french toast with leftovers on Sunday!)


Vegan Challah

Source: “The Jewish Vegan Cookbook”

Yield: 2 loaves

2 packages dry yeast

2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)

3 tablespoons flaxseed

3/4 cup water

7-8 cups spelt flour

1/2 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons salt

3 ounces vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Raisins (optional, but include for Rosh Hashanah challah)

  • In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. Use a thermometer, if possible. Otherwise, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup cold water. Add ¼ cup agave nectar, and allow the yeast to work for about 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  • Place flaxseeds and water in a blender and blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Or grind the seeds in a spice mill or coffee grinder; place ground seeds and water in bowl of food processor and beat to desired consistency.
  • Place 6 cups of flour, salt, remaining agave nectar and raisins (if using) in a large bowl. Add flaxseed mixture, oil, agave nectar, and yeast. Mix until dough forms, adding more flour if needed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flour your hands, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary until the dough no longer sticks to the board or your hands.
  • Oil a deep bowl. Put the dough in it, turning to grease it on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap, and allow it to ruse for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
  • Punch down and allow to rise a second time. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leaves as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Place both shaped loaves on oiled baking sheet. Cover and allow loaves to rise again.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • For a crisp crust, brush loaves with cold water before placing in oven. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. The usual criterion for doneness is that the loaf sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles, or you may insert a thermometer in the crease on the bottom of the bread. It should register 200°F.
  • Cool loaves on a cooling rack. Freezes well.

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