Bread Machine Challah the Vegetarian and Clean Eating Way
At our house we love Challah, a rich and delicious Jewish egg bread. I always feel sorry for those who have never tried Challah, and I seriously don’t think you have to be part of the Jew Crew to enjoy this fluffy, moist bread.
Making my own Challah has become a very rewarding and satisfying experience. I truly believe, just like anything else, homemade is better than store bought (mostly because of all the love that goes into it.)
Now, to clarify, when I say homemade, I do not mean hand-kneaded. I’m no hero, and I’m not shy or ashamed to say that I use a breadmaker to take my ingredients to risen dough. I don’t, however, like the taste of bread baked in the machine (plus I like to shape a Challah like a Challah), and so I shape it by hand, let it rise, and bake it off in the oven.
Since I’ve been trying to eat leaner and cleaner, I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of substitutions (like when I used coconut oil to make Mediterranean chicken or no fat at all for vegetable soup.) And so, I figured I’d give it a shot with my regular Challah recipe. I knew that tinkering with a baking recipe was a bit of a crapshoot, as baking is chemistry and I’m not mathematician (or something like that.) But, I figured that the changes I was going to make were with ‘like-for-like’ ingredients, and also, what would I have to lose except a loaf of bread. The only modification I did not make was with the flour. I don’t like the taste of whole-wheat Challah. Some things should not be tinkered with. I did however, use unbleached flour. You could certainly use whole-wheat all-purpose flour, though, if you’re really determined. But, to me, it’s all about balance.
I have to tell you that this Challah is probably one of the most gorgeous-looking ones I’ve ever made. The dough came out lighter and silkier than ever before. It rose to epic proportions (it was LARGER than my sister’s 3 month old baby), and was SO huge that once I had to cool it on two racks. Everyone is very impressed with me.
Look how BIG this Challah was!! It had to cool on two racks
What you’ll need:
1 cup of unsweetened Almond Milk (I used Almond Fresh)
2 large eggs (if you want to make it vegan, go ahead, but I’m not sure how you have egg bread without egg)
3 tbsp Coconut Oil (I finished up one tub of no-odour, but the second smelled like coconut, which made the bread smell amazing, and gave it a lovely hint of coconut taste)
3 2/3 unbleached all-purpose flour (US is 3 1/3 as your flour is more dense)
3 tbsp Coconut Sugar (I use this one, which you can buy at Costco in a huge bag.)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp bread machine yeast or all-purpose yeast
1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water (for glaze)
Topping: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt
What You’ll Do:
Add ingredients to your bread machine in the order specified by the manufacturer’s directions. Set it to dough and come back later.
When the dough is ready, let it rest on a floured surface (if it’s sticky, add a bit more flour). After about 5 minutes, knead the dough slightly. Using a cutter, section the dough into a 2/3 and 1/3 ratio. Set the smaller piece aside. Cut the larger piece into three. Roll them out into even length ropes. Braid them. Do the same with the piece you set aside, and place the smaller one on top of the larger one.
Voila. YOU have braided a Challah!!!
Place your Challah on a large baking sheet covered in parchment. Place a tea towel over it, and put it in a nice, warm dry place for the last rise (I have double ovens so I put it in one of the ovens).
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (if you’re doing the rise in the oven, make sure to take the dough out!) When your Challah has doubled in size it’s ready to be brushed with the egg and water mixture, and topped with any one of the suggested toppings (I use all because I like to.)
Bake for about 45 minutes, give or take 15. Your Challah will sound hollow when tapped when it’s ready.