Challah, a timeless emblem of unity in Jewish heritage, weaves a rich tapestry of history and flavor. For decades, this braided masterpiece has graced our family's table, its golden allure captivating hearts and taste buds alike. Picture it – fresh from the oven, adorned with honey or apple butter, a culinary symphony of tradition.
Yet, evolution knocks at the door of culinary legacy. Why sacrifice time-honored recipes for the sake of well-being? Introducing the Gluten-Free Challah, a modern twist on a cherished classic. Here, the essence of the original intertwines with the necessity of a diet free from the shackles of gluten and dairy.
Step into the kitchen, whether you're a novice starting on a floury adventure or continuing cherished traditions. This recipe promises more than loaves but a connection to the past and a healthier future.
Feel the warmth of heartwarming flavors, the cultural resonance echoing through each gluten-free strand. As these loaves emerge from your oven, they carry not just sustenance but a narrative – a tale of heritage, adaptation, and the joy of breaking bread together.
Whether it's your first challah or a continuation of a cherished legacy, let this gluten-free rendition become a staple in your kitchen. Bake, savor, and share. We can't wait to hear your chapter of this delicious story.
For bread dough:
3 1/2 cups (490 gm) Better Batter Artisan Flour Blend
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp (10 gm) Fleischmann's Instant Yeast (not Active Yeast)
1 1/4 cups (150 gm) tapioca starch (and some extra for rolling the dough)
4 tsp (12 gm) coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp (185 gm) organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm filtered water
8 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
6 organic, free-range egg yolks (sit out until room temperature)
4 Tbsp local honey
For egg wash:
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp filtered water
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds to top
In a stand mixer, blend all dry ingredients together. Add in wet ingredients and mix using the dough hook attachment for four to five minutes until a smooth ball is formed and everything is evenly mixed. The dough will be sticky but not wet to the touch. (If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour until the desired consistency is achieved.)
Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl or container with a tight lid. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but do not exceed 24 hours in the fridge.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut it into six even pieces. Sprinkle some tapioca starch on a clean surface, and roll each of the six pieces into a strand 18 inches long and 1 ½ to 2 inches thick in diameter. Use tapioca starch to smooth the outer surface of the dough where needed, but don't overdo it – just enough so that it doesn't stick to your fingers.
Place three strands side by side and press the ends together on one end, then fold that end under itself so it remains secure. Braid the three strands like you're braiding hair, as close together and tightly wrapped as you can.
When you get to the end, press the three ends of the strands together and fold under itself again, as you did at the beginning. For the second loaf, repeat the braiding process with the remaining three strands. Carefully slide the braided loaves onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
To allow the dough to rise, set your oven to "Proof" or find a warm place for the dough to sit at around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
If using the Proof setting on your oven, place a small oven-safe cup of water on the bottom of the oven to keep the dough moist while rising, and place baking sheets in the oven. If you aren't using a proofing oven to let the dough rise, then cover the dough with a clean towel and place it in a warm spot.
Let dough rise until it is close to double in size – this can take a few hours, depending on the temperature where it is rising. Once the dough is completely proofed and ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat together the eggs and water to create the egg wash, then use a brush to coat the outside of both loaves. Do not allow the egg mixture to pool in the crevices of the braids. Top with a sprinkle of sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
Place the baking sheets on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the baking sheets 180 degrees, then decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until browned on top. (Watch closely so that the bread doesn't burn.) When baked, the loaves should feel spongy when touched and reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove baked loaves from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve with organic butter, honey, apple butter, or other fruit spread of your choice. (Makes incredible French Toast!)
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