I’ve worked in a range of bakeries over the years, everything from Whole Foods to fine dinning. Although the experiences and menus of each bakery were incredibly different, there was one thing I made in every single one: Challah, the egg bread. The aroma that filled the bakery as these slightly sweet and decadent loafs baked tantalized me as a vegan. Once those golden beauties came out of the oven and the sweetness filled the air, it was hard not to feel a little sorry for myself.
So I did what I know how to do best. I veganized it.
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp + 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour + 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
- poppy seeds for sprinkling
In a stand up mixer or medium bowl stir together yeast, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 cup lukewarm. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow yeast and sugar to dissolve. Meanwhile in a food processor or blender, mix chick pea flour and 1/2 cup water until thick and foamy. Set aside.
Slowly whisk oil into yeast mixture, followed by chickpea mix, whisking while adding. Add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and salt. Whisk together. Gradually add flour until dough begins to come together, but is still soft. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 10 minutes). Alternatively, if you are using a stand alone mixer, with your dough hook gradually add flour until a dough forms. Turn speed on medium-high for 5 minutes until dough begins clearing the sides and forms a smooth ball. You want the dough to feel soft, but not sticky. In order to get the right texture you may find that you are adding extra water or flour during this process.
Remove dough and grease the bowl. Place dough back inside, cover, and let rise in a warm place for one hour (until doubled in size).
Punch dough down, re-cover, and let rise an additional 30 minutes.
Place dough on a floured surface and cut into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into long strands (about 18 inches) and let set for 5 minutes. Braid Challah. Here is a very good tutorial for braiding Challah, complete with pictures.
Brush with soy milk or creamer and set aside to rise for about 45 more minutes, until dough slowly pushes back when an indentation is created with your finger.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush loaf with soy milk on final time, sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown and a firm crust has formed.
Let cool completely before slicing.
There are so many great recipes that use Challah. My favorite: French Toast. Check back on Friday when I turn this beautiful loaf into a divine breakfast.
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