Challah bread is a beautiful, shiny, delicious and slightly sweet Jewish braided bread. Traditionally, this bread is made with enriched dough. This means that the dough contains eggs, and for Israeli challah, oil, which add to its taste, texture and appearance. Therefore, conventionally made challah bread is not vegan (to the dismay of those who have tried it before) although unlike European enriched doughs, it is parve (it does not contain dairy).
Today, we are going to share our tried and tested delicious challah bread recipe with you. It is beautiful, delectable, flavoursome and will be the perfect addition to your dining table at any time of the day. This is the one bread recipe that will have your friends and family thinking you are a pro-baker and asking for you to make bread especially for them.
We will not keep you away from this recipe much longer. So, here’s our vegan challah bread recipe.
700g All-Purpose Flour
185ml Warm Water
180ml Aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
6tbsp Neutral-Tasting Oil (such as rapeseed/vegetable oil)
1.5tsp Kosher Salt
0.5-1tsp Vanilla Extract (optional)
Sesame Seeds (optional)
Chia Seeds (optional)
Flax Seeds (optional)
A Pinch of Ground Turmeric/Saffron (optional, but will give more of a golden/yellow/yolky colour to the inside of the challah)
- In a bowl/large cup, combine the yeast and water with 1tbsp of sugar.
- Pour the aquafaba into a saucepan and reduce it until just 120ml of it is left. By this time, your yeast mixture should be very frothy.
- Combine the flour, remaining 7tbsp of sugar and salt together.
- Stir the yeast mixture to ensure you can pour it into the mixing bowl without any yeast/sugar remaining behind.
- Whisk the reduced aquafaba until it is very frothy (using a fork, whisk it quickly for 30-60secs).
- Pour all the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and combine them fully (add more water or a little flour, if the dough is too dry/wet, the microclimate in your kitchen will affect this).
- Knead the dough in the bowl until the bowl looks clean (or almost clean) and the dough is smooth and springs back up when you press a finger on it. Alternatively, use a standing mixer with the knead/bread hook and knead it for approximately 10mins, stopping to scrape down the dough every few minutes if it rises up the hook.
- Set your oven to about 25°C/75°F. (Unless your house is warm or it is hot outside)
- Form the dough into a ball, rub some oil in your mixing bowl then place the dough back in it.
- Cover the bowl with either cling film, a damp towel or a plate and place it in the oven/on a countertop/outside for 1.5hrs.
- After 1.5hrs, the dough should have doubled in size. Push down on the dough to release the air in it and deflate it.
- Form the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, cover the bowl again and return it to the oven (countertop/outside) for another 1.5hrs.
- Deflate the dough after 1.5hrs and transfer it to a clean floured surface.
- Form the dough into a ball and divide it into two equal pieces. This will give you two challah loaves of bread or one and a few buns or mini loaves or buns (as pictured).
- Divide the dough into three equal parts and roll them out into 10-12 inches long cylindrical/snake-like pieces.
- Lay them side by side then pinch their top ends together to secure them. Braid the pieces together the same way hair is braided and pinch the end to secure it in place. Fold over both pinched areas so they are at the bottom and the loaf does not unravel during baking.
- Repeat with the other half of dough or form it into buns or mini challah loaves.
- Gently transfer the dough to a baking tray lined with parchment/baking paper and cover it with a damp towel for 15-30mins. N.B. During this time, preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F)
- Pour some aquafaba into a saucepan and reduce it by about a third. Transfer the aquafaba to a cup to cool.
- Brush your dough with the reduced aquafaba and sprinkle on the seeds.
- Place the baking tray on the middle level of your oven and let the challah bake for 10mins.
- After 10mins, gently brush more of the reduced aquafaba on to your bread ensuring you don’t brush off the seeds.
- Return the challah into the oven for 15-20mins or until golden brown.
- Let the challah cool completely before cutting into it. The shine is more visible after it cools.
Serving Suggestions: Serve on its own, sprinkled with sea salt, with vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil and salt.
If you try the recipe, upload a picture of it to Instagram with the hashtag #lickyourplaterecipe so we can have a look at and like it.