Challah that’s vegan, eggless, delicious, and easy to make? Sounds too good to be true? Read on.
This recipe for challah, used by Rebbetzin Kanievsky, ‘obm’, is featured in the Bais Yaakov Cookbook. The rebbetzin’s original recipe has been doubled here to allow for the mitzvah of performing the brocha of hafrashas challah; without going into too much detail, this beautiful mitzvah unites the physical (bread) to the Infinite Source of all life.
While this challah recipe is very popular, because it doesn’t require eggs, it is a perfect choice for vegans who want to make a delicious and sweet challah for Shabbat or the upcoming High Holidays. In adapting the recipe, I eliminated the egg wash the original recipe calls for, and have found all of these substitutions worked fine: water or olive oil, or a combination of the two brushed on the loaves before baking. A word about the shape of the challahs pictured above: my daughter Emily and I created a nice variety to demonstrate the many shapes and sizes possible, and there are many more possibilities that we didn’t make. The round challah is traditional for Rosh Hashanah; for Shabbat at other times of year I generally use either loaf pans or flat cookie sheets. Betayavon! Enjoy.
5 cups warm water
4 Tablespoons dry yeast
1 + 1/4 cup sugar
1 + 1/4 cup oil
1 +1/2 Tablespoon salt
5 pounds all purpose flour- use all white flour or half white and half whole wheat, or any combination of the two
optional: additional oil to brush on top of loaves before baking
Electric Mixer and mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Cotton Cloth to cover dough as it rises
Large counter or board for kneading
Baking pans-can be any shape depending on the shape you want your challah to be
Place warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl of electric mixer. Let it sit for about 7 minutes until it becomes bubbly. Place the mixer on low and add oil and salt. Slowly add the flour, once cup at a time. Continue mixing on low, while adding flour, for about 10 minutes.
Remove dough from mixing bowl and place in a large bowl. Cover with a cloth. I have designated a cotton towel that I use for only this purpose, and I get the towel very hot first by running it under very hot water that I wring out, before placing it over the bowl. Because the challah will rise in bulk and may stick to the towel, I’ve found it useful to use a large piece of plastic wrap that I first spray with no-stick spray that I place between the bowl and the towel. So now allow the covered challah to rise in a warm place for approximately one hour.
Grease your pans and it is at this point that you take challah with a brocha.
Braid the dough and place in greased pans.
Let rise for another hour.
Preheat the over to 350. Brush with oil and water or a spray a bit of no-stick if you like.
Bake for 45 minutes.
You’ll love the smell. You’ll love the taste even more.