Thursday, April 30, 2015

Vegan challah

vegan challah

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 are some things that seem un-veganizable. Meringue, for one. Oh, but we did that. Or macarons, those dainty French almond cookies made light-as-air thanks to whipped egg whites. And we did that too. But there are more mountains to climb in our journey to banish eggs and butter from baking (cue evil laugh), and challah is one of them.

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.

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Vegan challah

Adapted from The Post Punk Kitchen

Ingredients

Dough

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

For brushing

20 grams • maple syrup • 1 tablespoon

15 grams • nondairy milk • 1 tablespoon

Directions

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.

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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. 

8 comments:

  1. You're on your way to veganised baking domination! Banana in bread, I was gonna say "Strange but sounds delicious" and then I remembered there's a thing called banana bread, which I've actually bloody made and decided to shut up.

    Great recipe!

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    1. LOL! It's true, bananas are actually amazing in (sweet) bread. And you can hardly taste them in here! :)

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  2. I love this recipe! Banana in bread sounds great! About to check the rest of your breads:)

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    1. Yay, thank you! Glad you stopped by :)

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  3. <3 Nothin' like newly baked bread in the morning. I wanna tear that loaf to pieces, yum :D Thanks for the recipe June! And have a weekend of epic proportions x

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you too! Glad you like this recipe, I was thrilled with how it came out :)

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  4. I am impressed by the wonderful bread and the ingredients!

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