When I was watching television, I can’t remember what it was, I saw challah bread and it looked so good! I forgot about for a while until it re-surfaced in my mind yesterday. I had to try and make it. For those of you who don’t know (me included, I googled it) challah is a traditional Jewish bread that is eaten during the Sabbath. It’s a lot of egg in this bread which gives it some texture I guess, but we don’t eat eggs do we? So what to do? It must be possible to make braided bread that resembles this without using eggs. I decided to experiment a little, nothing out of the ordinary though, the base is classic wheat dough, and the thing I was interested in was the braiding.
Without knowing how to braid it I started making the dough. This part was pretty straightforward. I let the dough rise for almost 3 hours but as long as it doubles in size I think you will be fine.
First I thought about making a braid with three dough strings. You know the kind of braid you learned how to do when you were little. But then I thought, hey why stop there, I’m going to get professional on this. So I ended up with six dough strings and no plan at all.
Without proper braiding knowledge, I started a “two over-one under” technique that worked great until I got lost. Halfway in I was confused and freestyled the last part. If you find a smart way to braid the six dough strings, let me know in the comments.
The end result looked like this.
Challah is brushed with egg white but I used soy cream. If you don’t have soy cream you should be fine with some soy milk.
Impress your friends with this beautiful braided bread. It looks (and tastes) great.
- 2 1/2 dl (1 cup) water warm
- 3 tbsp water hot
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 10 dl (4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp agave syrup
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp flax seed
- 1/2 dl (1/4 cup) canola oil
- 2 tbsp soy cream
Pour the yeast into the warm water in a medium-sized bowl and add the agave syrup.
Mix the flaxseeds with the hot water in a small bowl.
Pour the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix.
At this point it should be a frothy layer on the water with the yeast, if not your yeast has expired.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the water with the flaxseeds together with the canola oil. Add some flour from the sides to create a stretchy glue like dough.
Pour in the yeast water and mix well with a spatula. When the dough starts to form start kneading it and continue to knead for about 10 minutes until you have a firm dough that is easy to form.
Cover with a kitchen cloth and let rise (the longer the better) until it has at least doubled in size.
Take the dough out of the bowl and cut it into 6 bits. Roll each bit out to strings of equal length.
Combine the top parts of your strings and squeeze them together with our hand and then start braiding.
When finished, lift the loaf to a baking sheet covered oven tray. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes.
Brush the loaf thoroughly with soy cream; make sure to get some in every crack and corner.
Put the loaf in the oven at 175 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 and bake for about 30 minutes.