Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vegetarian Challah

The day after Christmas, I called my two older grandchildren into the kitchen and asked if they'd like to help me make bread. They both yelled: "Yes, please Gran!"

I gathered the ingredients together and with their "help" managed to make a new vegan recipe version of Challah. I had been motivated by my dear friend, Yvonne, with whom I spent many a lovely afternoon, watching movies. During our tea break, she always served delectable baked goods which often included Jewish treats. I wanted to try my hand at baking a Challah bread. I posted about my first attempt, which turned out reasonably well, which you can read here.

However, when I made that recipe, I used eggs which is quite normal (and I do eat eggs; no problem there) Personally though, I didn't enjoy the eggy taste in the bread and searched the Internet for an "eggless" Challah.

Not only did I find one, I also learnt how to plait the dough properly. My previous one had popped open at the end so I knew I was doing something not quite right. My granddaughter had the camera ready and took most of these photos. (I think her three-year-old brother took the above photo!)
Everyone enjoyed having a hand in the plaiting and painting with boiling water, not egg wash and helping to lay the creation in the baking tray.

And like children are, as soon as I placed the bread on one side to prove again, they dashed off outside to play. That evening when I served the Challah with our meal, they proudly told their parents that they had helped to make the "plaited bread"

The finished product. It was delicious!

2 1/2 Tbsp dry active yeast
1/3 cup warm water ("wrist" temperature)
6 cups flour
1 cup soy flour (I omitted this)
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 overripe (mostly black) bananas
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
another half cup of boiling water for brushing braids
sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sea salt to top

1. In one small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water, put to the side to stand for 5-10 minutes.
2. Mash bananas in other small bowl.
3. In large bowl mix: oil, sugar, salt, and boiling water, stirring so it's all mostly dissolved.
4. Add the cold water to the large bowl (the mix should be warmish now but not hot). Stir in yeast mix.
5. Add bananas.
6. Add flour, one cup at a time.
7. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 5-10 min, dough should be smooth, not too stiff or too runny.
8. Lightly coat the large mixing bowl in oil, turn the dough in it to just coat it with oil, place a towel over the dough in the bowl and let it rise for about 1 hr, till double in volume.
9. Punch dough down, turn out and knead again 2-3 min. Divide dough into 2 balls, divide each ball into 3 sections, roll each section into long ropes and make 2 braids. Preheat the oven to 350.
10. Let the braids rise 45 min. Boil a little more water. Just before putting braids in the oven, brush them with boiling water, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sea salt.
Bake 30 min. You'll know they're done when you tap them on the bottom and they sound hollow. Allow to cool on a drying rack for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Note: When we broke this bread with our evening meal, John spoke a blessing over the children. It's amazing to see how any human thrives on affirmation, let alone a child! The time I spent with the children that day (one of many during 2009) reminded me once again how important relationships are. I, for one, will continue to nurture these relationships.


  1. I looks similar to a Swiss bread Bill's Mum used to cook but the ingredients are different. This one sounds delicious and I'm going to ask my chef (Bill) to have a go. Thanks for the recipe. What a lovely way to bond with grandchildren.

  2. Yummy Delicious Jo.... Bet the grandchildren enjoyed making the bread as much as they did eating it!!!! There's nothing better than smelling bread when it's cooking.


  3. It almost looks too pretty to eat. How fun for the kids.

  4. It looks lovely... I will have to save that recipe and make it sometime.

  5. Delicious. I can taste it from here :-)

  6. Oh yum, diane;) do tell when Bill makes yours. My dh is doing dinner tonight. Bliss.

    Hi Betsy;) it's true: there is nothing better than bread baking.

    Gaelyn, it's so easy to make, so easy to eat as well!

    Hi uncertainhorizon;) let me know when you do!

    Hi Joyful:) glad to share breaking of the bread with you!

  7. I'll ask my bread machine if he (or is it she?) will plea-ea-se makes it!

  8. Your Challah bread looks delicious. And it sounds like you and the grandchildren had fun making it. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

  9. it looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing Jo. I'll be having my vacation soon and I'll try this , am sure my children will love this challah.

  10. You made a beautiful challah (and story too).
    I still don't know how to make bread.


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