whole wheat vegan challah

challah 008

Inspired by Bean’s Jewish preschool’s enthusiasm for the tradition of eating challah on Shabbat, I ventured into new territory: 1) baking bread 2) exercising a Jewish ritual and 3) breaking a Jewish tradition by baking something that is traditionally made with eggs. I astounded myself with the result: nicely risen, flakey in texture and absolutely mouth-watering in freshness home-made challah sans eggs and white flour.

Eat your heart out, bread luvahs.

Here is the recipe I used taken from VegKitchen, with the following tweaks that made it my own:

I used ALL whole wheat pastry flour (4 1/2 cups). Next, I let the dough rise for FOUR hours instead of 1 1/2 hours. Then, after cutting the dough into pieces and braiding them, I let the dough rise for another HOUR instead of 1/2 hour. Also, I used a mix of agave and sunflower seed oil as the wash on top before baking. Last, I used an artificial sugar replacement instead of sugar, which did not affect the rising or baking process.


  • 2 ½ teaspoons rapid rise yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 4 ¼ cups flour (I use 3 cups unbleached flour and 1¼ whole-wheat pastry  flour
  • 1/3 cup natural granulated sugar (such as Florida Crystals)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Egg Replacement (These three ingredients work as a binding  agent.  The “fizzing” that occurs when whisked together provides the “lift”  to the finished product. Make sure you add this right before the flour—see Notes  for Great Challah below):

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Pour yeast into warm water along with a pinch of sugar in a large bowl and  mix until combined.

Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or so until bubbly and creamy (I usually  measure out the flour while waiting for the yeast). Add the sugar, salt,  and additional 2 tablespoons of canola oil and mix.

Beat the egg replacement ingredients with a whisk (it will fizz) and pour  into the yeast mixture.

Add the flour, a cup at a time, until it is difficult to stir the  mixture. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it until  it is smooth and elastic (approximately 7 to 10 minutes).  It should be  springy.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp cloth or  plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 90 minutes. It should double in  size.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut dough into two equal  halves. Divide each piece into three pieces and roll out into 10 to 12 inch  ropes. Pinch the ends together and proceed to braid the dough.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet and let rise for additional 30  minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes depending on your oven.