Gluten Free Challah

gluten free Challah bread

I am ecstatic! After 6 years of experimenting with various gluten free Challah recipes, I have finally found THE ONE! And just in time for Rosh Hashanah. I can just taste it now: sweet soft Challah filled with raisins, dripping with golden honey. Awesome.

You see, ever since I was diagnosed with Celiac years ago, I’ve spent a weekend each year testing new Challah recipes with the hope that one would work and I could eat Challah with everyone else, instead of just apples with honey. Not that I’m complaining about apples and honey because I’m not. Apples are delicious but they’re just not Challah.

Where did this miraculous recipe come from? Do you remember back in early August I mentioned that a friend of mine gifted me a great book about living a gluten-free lifestyle? If you don’t remember, it means you haven’t been reading my blog nearly enough so shame on you! In any case, in that post, I tried a recipe for lemon-blueberry muffins using Jules’s Nearly Normal All-Purpose Flour Mix and they were fantastic! Jules E. Dowler Shepard also developed a recipe for Challah which is included in her book, Celiac Diease and Living Gluten-Free: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. When I saw it, I decided it would be this year’s recipe.

Looks like this year’s recipe might be the last one I have to try because I think it’s a keeper! Although I don’t really remember how glutenous Challah tastes, this recipe is delicious and actually tastes like a sweet bread. It’s crusty on the outside, with a soft and airy texture inside. And it’s so quick and easy to make!!!

And now for some Jewish fun facts to know and tell at parties:

  1. Although the traditional Challah shape is a braided loaf, we eat round loaves on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize the circle of life, and the cycle of the New Year.
  2. To celebrate a sweet New Year, some folks like to jazz up their Challah with additional sweet add ins. This year, I’ll make 2 round versions of this recipe: chocolate chip and golden raisin.
  3. To partake in the full experience of the blessing over eating bread, we must break bread made with one of the 5 species of grains: wheat, spelt, oats, barley or rye. You’ll note that only one of these, oats, can be gluten free. So to make sure that I can fully partake, I top my Challah loaves with gluten free oats. So pretty, don’t ya think?

Gluten Free Challah

makes 2 loaves

Note: all ingredients should be at room temperature, except when noted.

Preheat your oven to 200° F, then turn it off. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together:

  • ⅓ cup almond milk (or any other milk sub you like), warmed
  • 1 packet rapid rise gluten-free yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Set aside to allow the yeast to proof, approximately 5 minutes.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine and mix well:

  • 1 cup vanilla soy yogurt
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 4 tbs. agave

In a separate bowl, whisk together:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch (not flour!)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup corn flour
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • 4 tsps. xanthan gum
  • 3 Tbs., 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder

Stir the proofed yeast into the wet ingredients. At this point, add any desired add in such as chocolate chips, raisins, etc… With the dough hook attached to your mixer, gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and combine on medium until all flour is well incorporated. You may need to stop occasionally to scape down the sides of the bowl.

Divide the dough in half and then divide each half into three equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long ropes and using three ropes at a time, braid into a loaf. Make sure to pinch the ends of the three pieces of dough together well.

Place each loaf on the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with an egg wash of 1 large beaten egg. Sprinkle with any desired toppings such as oats, poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Place the loaves in your warmed oven and allow to rise for 20–30 minutes. Please note that the bread will not rise significantly at this stage.

Remove the loaves from the oven and preheat your oven to 350° F (or 325° F if baking in a convection oven). Bake the loaves in your preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Then try not to eat the entire loaf. I ate an almost an entire loaf in the last 24 hours but I’m carb loading so it’s all good, right?

Now gluten-free members of the tribe have another reason to get psyched for the holidays this year! Shanah Tova and Chag Sameach, fellow heebs!