vegan challah bread

homemade challah (vegan option and no eggs)

5th October 2017

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I  always look forward to sharing this bread when the four of us are all together.  And, especially if we are lucky enough to have our family or friends join us on these Friday nights. This is where we savour the opportunity to pause, bless and reflect on the week just passed and to light the candles as a reminder of that inner light inside all of us.

What is left-over, we spend the weekend eating with all sorts of delicious spreads.

india - sugarcane juice - 1 (3) india - sugarcane juice - 1 india - sugarcane juice - 1 (1) india - sugarcane juice - 1 (2)
Freshly pressed sugar cane juice – Mysore, South India.

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homemade challah

Preparation – 2½ hours

Baking time -35 minutes

Makes 1 large, challah or 2 small.

The recipe uses a mixer with a hook dough, but you can easily use your hands. 


2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed, plus 6 Tbsp/80g water

1 cup/230g warm milk or almond milk

60g butter – room temperature or 6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g wholewheat flour

2¼ cups/350g regular all-purpose flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar/coconut sugar

1½ tsp fine rock salt


1.  In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Whisk together the flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water – allow to sit for 10 minutes.

2.  Add the warm milk, butter/oil and yeast, leave undisturbed until the mixture is foaming, about 5 – 6 minutes.

3.  Measure out the flours, sugar and salt, whisk together and add to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine on the lowest option and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if seemly too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

4.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled its size.  The longer it sits the better the final bread. I usually prepare the dough in the early morning, and let it sit until about 1 o’clock when I come back from errands.

5.  Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough

6.  Divide the dough into three equal pieces with a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Using your palms, and starting from the centre and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope the desired length.  Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces.

7.  Place the three, side by side and pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you would if you were braiding or plaiting hair.  As I braid, I gently pull them length-wise to keep them as even as possible. Pinch together the ends and tuck them slightly under.

8.  Transfer the plaited loaf to the baking tray and brush with ghee/oil and sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.

9.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

10.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into it.

When it is just the four of us, we have been enjoying the challah with a simple vegetable soup, a salad and a bowl of guacamole, and for dessert, slathered with homemade jam.


  • replace the wheat flour with spelt, may need to reduce the amount of liquid used.

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