Joan is a Filipina-Jewish vegan mom and real estate broker. She was born in the Philippines and grew up and lives in San Francisco. She became vegan eight years ago after watching the documentary “Earthlings” and learning more about the realities of factory farming. She and her husband, Devin Benjamin had a vegan wedding in 2011 (you can read their delicious vegan wedding menu here).
Challah is a central Jewish Food
Challah is a central Jewish food as it is served every Shabbat and on most holidays. The bread is visually beautiful and it smells delicious. The classic recipe includes flour, eggs, sugar/honey and oil. The traditional recipe is a very rich food and heavy on our stomachs. If you are serving it out of obligation, here is some food for thought.
Joan Favorite Shabbat Recipe is Challah
Her favorite food to make for Shabbat is challah so she created a soft, fluffy and delicious vegan challah recipe. One time her family hosted a blind taste test with a group of friends. The taste test compared her vegan eggless challah to one with eggs and everyone preferred her vegan challah.
Every Shabbat, she normally makes two, four-strand braided challah loaves. She learned how to make a for strand challah by watching this easy to follow youtube tutorial by NY Bakers.
Leftover Challah for breakfast and a vegan snack
On Sunday morning her husband uses the leftovers to make decadent cinnamon Challah french toast breakfasts for their children. Leftovers from breakfast can be eaten as a favorite vegan snack food!
This plant-based honey cake also makes a good Shabbat dessert especially during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This recipe is oil-free and lighter than traditional Jewish honey cakes. This recipe can also be used to make cute honey muffins. Add fresh lemon juice to the recipe to add an extra zing.
Joan’s recipe is published in the Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselves Cookbook.
Feeding Women of the Bible, Feeding Ourselvescookbook features a short compelling narrative of 20 female biblical heroines from the Hebrew bible, paired with two healthy plant-based kosher pareve recipes inspired by the character’s experience.
This is a community cookbook by Jewish Food Hero and is the co-creation of 40 Jewish women. The twenty biblical narratives are contributed by Rabbis, Rabbinical students, Jewish teachers and emerging thought leaders. The forty-one plant-based recipes were developed by professional chefs, homecooks who are elementary school students, and great-grandmothers.
8 cups unbleached all purpose flour (use last cup towards kneading dough and lightly flouring surface)
3/4 cup organic canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cups ultrafine baker’s sugar
2.5 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
3 packets yeast
Sweet soy milk or agave nectar mixed with almond milk
In a large bowl, combine sugar, water, yeast, and oil. Stir and allow yeast to work and bubble for 10 minutes.
Add the salt and 7 cups (900 g) of flour. Stir well and transfer the mixture onto a clean, lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, gradually adding from the remaining flour, only as needed, to make the dough less sticky.
Lightly grease a deep bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning it gently so all sides are nicely greased – this prevents the dough from forming a crust. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth.
Allow to rise for about two hours or until the dough doubles in volume.
Punch down the dough and allow it to rise for a second time, about another hour.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal parts and form into large strands. Braid the three strands together. Divide the braid into 2 loaves.
Preheat your oven to 350F (180C) degrees.
Allow the braided challah to rise for another 20-30 minutes before transferring into the preheated oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take the challah out of the oven and baste with sweet soy milk, then place back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Let the challah cool completely before slicing and serving.
Thank you Joan for sharing your vegan recipe with the Jewish Food Hero community!
Your turn: Want to share a healthy vegan recipe with the Jewish Food Hero community? Send your recipe submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org