Yes ma’am / sir, you read that right—what I have for you today is vegan challah. The bread of the gods, without a drop of egg or pinch of butter. Vegan. Challah.
There really is nothing like fresh challah. It’s soft and chewy and lightly sweetened, all wrapped up in a golden-brown crust, just a little bit yellow from the generous egg yolks in the dough. I’ve eaten it from bakeries, but honestly it was better that one time a Jewish classmate brought some homemade stuff to school. Oh lawd. Praise the heavens.
|It looked something like this, but in 3D. source|
So obviously I had to try making it at home. I’ve made vegan pulla before, so why not challah?
|Why not indeed.|
You can thank vegan extraordinaire Isa of the Post Punk Kitchen for this little recipe. Instead of eggs, this bread uses a great but not often used egg substitute—bananas. The fruit adds to the sweetness of the loaf and gives it a great soft texture. The recipe also uses turmeric to get that typical challah color, but it’s only for looks, so don’t feel obligated to add it if you don’t want to.
But the most interesting part of the recipe is the “egg wash”. Traditional challah is usually brushed with some kind of rich egg yolk mixture that turns an ordinary loaf into a deep golden nest of deliciousness. How to replicate this effect with vegan ingredients? Simple—milk and maple syrup. I, of course, did not invent this technique (though I wish I did), but I have used it several times in other recipes and it works like a charm. Yes, the brown isn’t quite as deep, but whatever. We don’t judge bread by the color of its crust, but by the content of its character—don’t we?
|All breads are beautiful.|
And I’ll have you know, this bread has quite the character. While I had hoped to try making French toast with this, we gobbled up the loaf before breakfast rolled around (okay, almost). Though I imagine that using some (toasted) slices would work really well in any French toast recipe. I certainly will try that in the future.
Anyway. Here’s the recipe.
Adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen
180 grams • water • ¾ cup
0.5 grams • ground turmeric • ¼ teaspoon
54 grams • coconut oil • ¼ cup
56 grams • granulated sugar • ¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons
40 grams • warm water • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
15 grams • active dry yeast • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon
120 grams • banana, well-mashed • 1 medium
476 grams • all-purpose flour • 3 ½ cups
9 grams • salt • 1 ½ teaspoons
20 grams • maple syrup • 1 tablespoon
15 grams • nondairy milk • 1 tablespoon
Place water and turmeric in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn off heat; add coconut oil and 50 grams • ½ cup sugar, stirring to melt coconut oil. Let cool until it is no longer hot to the touch but still warm.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine warm water and remaining 6 grams • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar. Add yeast and set aside to proof, about 5 minutes.
Add mashed banana to the yeast mixture along with coconut oil mixture. Stir to combine. With mixer on low speed, add flour 1 cup at a time, adding salt as well. Knead with dough hook for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the dough is nice and smooth.
Gather dough into a ball and place in a greased mixing bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, punch down gently, knead a little, and divide into thirds. Roll each section into a rope about 18 inches long. Braid the ropes together to get a nice classic challah shape.
Place the braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and combine maple syrup and milk under “for brushing”.
Brush loaves with syrup milk mixture and bake for about 40 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. Let cool for about a half hour before slicing and munching.
|Blonde and beautiful.|
While you’re here, check out some of the other breads I’ve made.
Chocolate babka. What if you made French toast out of this? Oh my god.
Chocolate peanut butter swirl bread. Toast it, add some peanut butter, munch.
Cinnamon swirl bread. Better at home than at the bakery.
King cake. Like cinnamon rolls, but in a ring.