It was so fun making this water challah with Cookie at Aleeza’s house and having the honor of tasting her vegan treats. (You’ll notice by the end of the video how I look almost tipsy off all the sugar !) In addition to Cookie being a baker who makes tasty cookies, she has a lively personality that makes cooking together super fun!
When I was a little girl in Hebrew school, we used to make the greatest challah bread ever. It was so delightful making it with other little kids and then getting to eat it — it was so good. So you can imagine how excited I am to share this vegan challah recipe with you since most of the time it’s made with egg.
Take note that we made a huge batch, so please adjust the proportions as necessary. Also, in the video you will notice we did not use a food processor. However, Cookie has been making this water challah for years and is a pro- so we’re giving you a more simple way of making it. It was challenging for me to knead the dough since it’s so heavy!! Additionally, making the challah not stick while braiding it was super fun but definitely requires some practice so don’t be surprised if you find it tricky!
Prep time: 2 hours | Cook time: 45 minutes | Makes: 10+ Loaves
- 1 bag whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup sugar (can use sucanat or agave nectar)
- 3 tablespoons salt
- 4 tablespoons yeast (on opposite side of salt in processor)
- 1 cup oil (grape seed or vegetable oil)
- 5-6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave)
- 2 teaspoons poppy or sesame seeds
Set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the whole wheat flour into a large food processor. Add the salt and yeast and process for about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the sugar and oil. Continue to mix thoroughly, slowly adding the warm water. The dough should be defined and able to make a ball. If it is too dry, add more water (1 tablespoon at a time). If too wet, a more flour (tablespoons at a time). Place the mixture into a large bowl and set aside, allowing it to rise until it doubles in size.
Once it has risen, punch the dough down to knead it. Do this to ensure that the dough has a smooth, bouncy, and elastic feel. It should spring back when you press it down. Next, take the dough and design it into braids or whichever shape you prefer. To braid the challah, flour your work surface and divide half the dough into 3 equal pieces. Using both hands, squeeze each piece into a rope 1 inch thick and 12 inches long. Roll out each rope so you have 3 ropes about 15 inches long. Place the three ropes side by side on your work surface and pinch the three ropes together at one end. Starting from this pinched end, braid the three ropes together. When the braiding is complete, seal the braid by pinching the ends together.
Once braided, mix the almond milk, maple syrup, and seeds into a small bowl (if you prefer less sweet, leave out the maple syrup). Take a brush and brush the mixture onto the surface of the hallah. When completed, place the challah aside letting it rise one more time for about 45 minutes.
Once it has risen, place the challah on lightly greased baking sheets. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, until it has a golden brown color on its surface. Remove from cookie sheets at once and set loaves on a rack to cool. When ready to serve, break apart the bread by hand and enjoy!
What’s your go-to Challah recipe? What other holiday dishes do you love for Hanukkah, Passover, and more? Check out our favorites here.