The high holiday, Rosh Hashanah, is at sundown Sunday night and thought to share this before my peach salad post (look out for that next) because it is that good and the holiday is a few days away. For those of you who have been missing challah, this post is for you. It’s been a number of years without challah for us which is why I’m so excited to share this with you!
For those of you not familiar with challah this brioche-like rich bread – known for it’s golden hue and used to make french toast across the land – is the traditional Jewish sabbath and holiday bread. For Rosh Hashanah, it’s baked round to symbolize continuity.
My friends, you will be so glad you reserved some time in the day for this.
Tell me, is it just me or is finding a good (meaning moist and pillowy soft) gluten free challah recipe like finding gold? I have been testing challah recipes a couple of years now. Some have not risen, some didn’t have much flavor, and most were dry and crumbly. Some real flops I’ll tell ya.
Not anymore. My struggle with making a gluten free challah is OVER.
Cue: happy dance
This is it. I can now cross off “learn to bake awesome challah” off my bucket list. Still working on the skydiving. I kid.
You need to try this, oh challah lovers … the slightly crisp crust embedded with a textural layer of poppy seeds and soft center is exactly what you want to dip in your honey (okay, maybe that didn’t sound right but you get the idea!) and will make the finest french toast (those diners are onto something if only they made it gluten and dairy free!!), bread puddings, or even simply as toast with a good shmear should you have any left over.
As good as french toast and puddings are, I must tell you that when you toast challah and top it with a dab of coconut oil and a good shmear of jam or honey it softens the center yet keeps the edges crisp which to me is pure heaven.
Now I’m hungry again. #writingaboutfoodproblems
I included some notes below that may be helpful to read through before working with gluten free challah dough. Sorry about the lack of step by photos, but hopefully the notes will be helpful.
This is one wonderful challah that I am happy to share with you and proud to serve for Rosh Hashanah, Sabbath, as well as rich carb-filled lazy mornings.
For those celebrating Rosh Hashanah, Shanah Tovah!!
- Makes 1 round 9-inch challah
- You will need a 9-inch round springform pan, greased. Round challah is traditional for Rosh Hashanah, a.k.a Jewish New Year.
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) warm water - should be at 110 degrees F
- 1 heaping tablespoon GF yeast (quick-rising)-I use yeast labeled gluten free
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 454 grams GF flour (this is the total for the four right below)-see note under ingredients
- 151 grams fine brown rice flour
- 103 grams tapioca flour
- 101 grams white rice flour
- 100 grams sorghum flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature (
Egg freeoption in notes)
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- poppy seeds for the topping (or sesame seeds)
- 1 whole egg, whisked, for brushing on before baking
- * To yield best results I weigh each flour. If using your own GF All Purpose flour mix, use total weight. Also, if your flour blend contains gums omit from the recipe.
- ** Prep Time includes proofing **
- Combine yeast with the warm water and sugar, gently mix up by hand, and proof about 5-10 minutes until really foamy. Add honey when yeast mixture is foamy, and stir. Set aside.
- Dry blend the flours, gum, and salt VERY well, for 2 minutes in the mixer.
- Meanwhile, boil water 2-3 cups in a saucepan (just eyeball this), then transfer the saucepan into the oven on the lower rack (no heat) to prepare for proofing. The moist, warm environment will help proof the dough and prevent it from drying. This technique has been the most effective.
- Weigh the flours one at a time and transfer to a stand mixer bowl. Once all flours have been weighed and added
stand mixer bowl, then add the salt and xanthan gum. Mix on medium for a minute. the the
- Meanwhile, whisk 4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks with oil in a small bowl. Add the yeast mixture and then egg mixture to the bowl. Mix on medium-low until the flour has incorporated into the wet ingredients, 1-2 minutes. Scrape down sides and mix another 10 seconds or so.
- Gently rub some oil on the exposed areas of the dough then let it proof on the upper rack of the oven you have prepared with. It should feel warm and moist when you open the oven door.
- Proof for 1½ hours, or until double in size. Transfer into greased 9-inch round springform pan.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (20-30 minutes before proofing is done).
- Whisk the egg reserved and brush liberally on the challah. Sprinkle on poppy then bake 30-35 minutes until bread sounds hollow and top is golden brown. My wall oven took 30 minutes exactly. Let it sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then rub a dull butter knife along the edges to catch any stuck-on areas. Remove challah bread from the pan. Let it cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Serve warm or room temperature. Wrap any leftover bread in a cotton towel; plastic wrap will make it soggy.
- For storing:
- Make sure you cool the challah on a rack completely before storing in the freezer. I plastic wrap my cooled challah (after a couple of hours) two layers then insert into a
gallon sizedfreezer bag. It can stay in the freezer for two months. Before serving, warm the bread in a 300 degree F oven for 5-7 minutes before serving.
- If you want to bake the bread as loaves during the year, oil (generously) two standard sized loaf pans. Let rise until they are almost to the top and bake. Note: I have not baked it as a loaf yet, adjust baking time accordingly to the time needed for a loaf. I’d say 45-55 minutes but have not done so yet; if you do, let me know how it came
out-roundchallah bread or loaf!
- SOME NOTES:
- All ingredients should be room temperature. Chilled ingredients inhibit the yeast from colonizing, which will prevent your dough from rising resulting in stale tasting challah bread.
one halfcup differs from another personshalf cup, even grains have different weights so I took note to weigh everything for consistentlyresults. Scales these days are less than $40 and can be bought online, a great investment when baking! Over mixing the dough will make this gummy and chewy due to the gum. I know some are opposed to using gums; I have tested this recipe without xanthan gum (my preferred way to bake) and found it to be too crumbly, if you do not mind that then leave it out.
- I have tried to braid it then make it
roundand found that I was workedthe dough too much trying to shape it without much binderin it that it resulted in less-than-moist results. If you feel you must have it braided,and want to go the extra mile here, may I suggest making extra dough to set aside and then add more flour to that so you can braid a small portion then top the challah with it. Email me and I will explain further.
- Don’t press the dough into the pan like you would a pizza crust, rather more of a gentle hand to prevent the dough from becoming dense.
- Gently brush egg (optional) on the challah without added pressure to prevent deflation. Sesame seeds, the traditional option, is a nice alternative.
- EGG FREE OPTION: My oldest son cannot tolerate egg since last year so I cut the recipe in half and omit the egg. Instead, I use a ⅛ cup of applesauce (chunky) and 2 tablespoons of BPA Free canned chickpea liquid. It binds well when making a smaller challah. Use a 6-inch springform pan and adjust baking time to 25-30 minutes. Ovens do vary so keep an eye on it and check for doneness with a toothpick.
- This is gluten free and dairy free, so it will not result in a traditional “ball of dough”, that’s okay, it will be delicious and like challah. What you should have is a very sticky dough that is shapeless. I found that the bread doughs I have made in the past, that did take shape, were dry and more like stale bread.
- You will need to plop (yes plop) the dough into the springform not scrape it out (again, this will add pressure to the dough thus deflating it) then scrape what sticks to the bowl with a non-stick spatula. Forget the wooden spoon, it will stick too much unless you choose to dip your spoon in oil first.
- Best made on the same day as serving.
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