This post was originally published on 10/10/2012.
Years ago, I was a bread baker at a trending cafe/restaurant in Michigan. The restaurant is now, sadly, closed, but in the years that I baked bread for them, I learned valuable lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
One of our most popular bread was our homemade challah. We used it in our french toast, on our sandwiches, and in our bread pudding recipes. Later, I moved onto other bakeries and continued making and perfecting challah. However, it wasn’t until I quit working for other people that I started experimenting with vegan challah.
I knew the bread was so popular and well loved and I wanted to try it for myself. This recipe was one of the first recipes I created for this website, back in 2012. Since then it has been made many times by my readers and at home. It was time to give it a little makeover.
What is Challah?
Challah is a special yeasted egg bread in Jewish traditions. It is braided and typically eaten on ceremonial occasions and major Jewish holidays. Over the years, challah has become a mainstream item that you can easily find at bakeries, grocery stores, and restaurant menus.
Challah is a soft, slightly sweet, enriched bread. Challah relies heavily on eggs and fat to give it that decadent texture. It took me several years to perfect this vegan challah recipe and friends, I think you’re going to love it!
How to Make Vegan Challah
It’s important to note that this recipe requires some time. The bread has two separate rises as well as a 35-minute bake. But good news, if you are short on time, this vegan egg bread can be made in advance.
Let’s take a closer look.
Step One – Make the Dough
Enriched yeasted dough often sounds far more intimidating than it is. While it takes time, the process is quite simple. To start, activate the yeast in warm water. Note: it is very important that your water is warm but isn’t above 120F. Too hot and it will kill the yeast, making it unable to activate. This is best done in a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment.
Slowly add the oil and chickpea egg, whisking while adding. Add the remaining sugar and salt.
Gradually add flour until dough begins to come together, but is still soft. Once the dough begins to pull away from the sides, flip it out onto a floured surface and kneed it for about 5 minutes. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Roll the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm area to let rise.
Step Two – Shape the Dough
After about 90 minutes, the dough should have doubled in size. Punch the dough down to release the air and flip it onto a clean surface.
Place dough on a floured surface and cut into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into long strands (about 18 inches) and let sit for 5 minutes. Once the dough has rested, braid it together. Cover and let rest the dough rest for an additional 30 minutes.
Step Three – Bake the Bread
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush loaf with soy milk on final time and bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a firm crust has formed.
Remove from the oven and let it cool 10 minutes on a baking sheet before transferring it to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with enriched dough:
- Activate your yeast properly. To do this, make sure your yeast is not expired and the milk is warm but not too hot. Otherwise, the yeast will not activate and you will not get a pillowy rise on the bread.
- Add flour slowly. The dough should be soft but not so sticky that you can’t handle it. This recipe calls for 4 1/2 -5 cups of flour. Add it 1/2 cup at a time until you’ve achieved the desired dough.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Don’t skip the 2nd rise. Let your dough rise for an additional 30 minutes for soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use all-purpose flour instead of chickpea flour
Unfortunately no. Chickpea flour is uniquely high in protein giving it binding and leavening powers that all-purpose flour simply cannot. You can find chickpea flour in most well-stocked grocery stores in the gluten-free aisle or you can pick some up online.
Can this recipe be made in advance?
Yes, it can!
If you want to make this sweet bread the night before, prepare the bread following the instructions below to the point of the 2nd rise. Once the bread is shaped, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.
Serving and Storing Vegan Challah
Store this bread in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.
More Vegan Bread Recipes
Looking for more vegan bread recipes? Check out some of the most popular ones the website.
But before you go, let’s take a look at this challah recipe below.
Vegan Challah, a rich and eggy bread with a golden crust and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Keyword: Vegan Challah
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 197 kcal
Author: Sarah McMinn
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-up 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.