Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients)
This is Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients) and it came about by accident one morning at 5am when I ran out of one ingredient and had to resort to another.
All about Classic Challah
Challah is an iconic Jewish food. This braided, rich bread is on most Jewish tables during holiday and Shabbat meals worldwide.
Challah is usually pareve so that it can be eaten with meat. However, the enriched dough is made with eggs, sugar and oil or margarine, so it is far from a vegan or healthy choice. It’s time for a modern update! This is Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients) is the update we have been waiting for.
I made this Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients) into a beautiful recipe card as a free download. You can print it at home, and share with friends and use it every week to make Challah for Shabbat. Click here to download it on the Jewish Food Hero website.
5 a.m. Inspiration for Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients)
When I was working on Beyond Chopped Liver, Jewish Food Hero’s third cookbook (which will be published later in 2020) I was inspired to include a vegan challah recipe. Beyond Chopped Liver offers modern, vegan updates to classic Jewish foods from around the world, and challah could be no exception! Check out Jewish Food Hero’s other cookbooks here.
The Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Plant-based recipes for Your Holiday Meals
This Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients) is by no means a compromise on what we expect from our classic bread. This vegan challah:
smells like challah
tastes like challah
pulls apart like challah
is healthier for our bodies and our planet.
At the same time, I would be lying if I told you that it was easy to get these qualities without the usual ingredients. This recipe took a lot of work to develop, and a lot of delicious trial and error! In the end, one of the key ingredients was discovered when I was working on the recipe at 5am, I needed applesauce and the only thing I had on hand was one potato… so I boiled it and mashed it and then….
What are the Two Surprising Ingredients?
So what are those two key ingredients which make this dense, rich bread so satisfying?
Potato puree – yes you heard me – gives moisture and texture to the crumb.
Full fat canned unsweetened coconut milk provides the healthy, plant-based oil needed to enrich the dough
Alongside these plant-based beauties, we also switch out the egg from the original recipe and use an this egg replacer.
or ground flax seed instead.
Taste variations To Try
Personally, one version of Absolutely the Best Vegan Challah Recipe (+ Two Surprising Ingredients) is never enough for me. I need to be able to switch things up depending on what I have on hand, and to vary dishes to keep things interesting.
This was something I wanted to include in Beyond Chopped Liver, so each recipe is presented alongside suggestions of ways it can be adapted.
Here are some options for our delicious Vegan Challah:
Add 1 cup of chopped raisins, cranberries or both, to add chewy sweetness
Make the magic potato puree from sweet potato, or even pumpkin, to add a golden yellow hue to the bread.
Just before the final proofing stage, roll the dough into two long thin rectangles and spread with ¼ cup of apricot jam and 2 tablespoons of applesauce. Roll each into a cylinder (like a Swiss roll) and then twist them together into a double helix shape.
Impressed with this plant-based Challah?
This recipe features in Jewish Food Hero’s upcoming cookbook, Beyond Chopped Liver.
You can find more plant-based dishes in JFH’s already-published titles:
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading step
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup (50 g) natural cane sugar + 1 teaspoon for proofing stage
For the Maple Syrup Wash:
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
Make the potato puree by peeling a medium potato, dicing it and boiling it for 12 minutes. Mash with a fork and set aside to cool.
Proof the yeast: place yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in ½ cup of warm (not hot) water. Mix and leave to sit for about 10 minutes until it is foamy.
In a separate prep bowl, combine coconut milk, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside.
In another prep bowl, combine egg replacer with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside for at least 1 minute.
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bread bowl.
Add the yeast, coconut milk, egg replacer and the potato puree mixtures to the dry ingredients in the large bread bowl. Combine well using clean hands until a sticky dough forms.
Tip dough onto a clean floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Add flour sparingly as needed.
Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Gently push the air out of the dough and divide into strands – two for a round challah and three for a braid. It is worth using a kitchen scale to make sure you have equal parts.
For a two strand round challah: roll each strand into a long cylinder and twist them round each other to form a double helix shape. On an oiled baking sheet, arrange the dough twist into a spiral shape. Tuck the end pieces under.
For a three-strand challah braid: lay the strands side-by-side and pinch together at the top end. Braid and pinch to finish the end. Place on an oiled baking sheet.
Cover the challah with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C).
Optional step: brush sparingly with a maple syrup wash. The aim is to add shine – too much will make your bread soggy.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until bread is golden brown.