Challah (pronounced Ha-La) is a wonderful tasting braided bread. Traditionally, it is eaten on Friday nights during Shabbat. A Challah braided with three strands of dough symbolize truth, peace and justice. I think Superman was eating Challah when he thought of “truth, justice and the American Way!” Regardless, for those of us who are gluten free, we can eat this once again every Friday. But why wait for Friday? Eat this Challah every day!
First, grab a bag of Colette & Frank’s Gluten Free Bread Mix. Start by mixing the dough as directed with the following exceptions/additions:
- Use olive oil instead of canola oil
- Add two egg yokes* to the eggs already added
- Add a teaspoon of vanilla
- Add a tablespoon of honey. Add another tablespoon if you want a sweeter loaf.
*Save the egg whites for later.
Once the dough is properly mixed, all you have to do is to separate it into three strands of dough and braid it. However, that is the challenging part since the dough will be sticky. Although you can braid the dough any way that you like, here is how I do it:
- In order to braid the dough, we need to separate it into three equal pieces. Use olive oil and spread it on a plate. Place the dough from the mixing bowl onto the plate. As best as you can separate the dough into three equal balls. Don’t over think this. Just “eye it up” like I do when separating the dough.
- The next step is to put the dough into a decorator or frosting bag. Since I don’t have either of those, I use three one gallon zip lock bags. On one corner, I cut roughly a hole an inch in diameter. Before placing the dough in the bag, I use Olive Oil to “grease” the inside of the bags so that the dough slides through easier. Wet your hands and place the separated dough into the bags.
- Before braiding, spread a thin layer of Olive Oil on your baking stone. If not using a baking stone, spread the Olive Oil on parchment paper and then place the oiled parchment paper on a baking pan.
- Next is to start braiding! Start with what will be the center braid: Using the first bag, gently squeeze the bag to force the dough out of the cut corner of the bag. Once you squeeze out roughly two to three inches of dough, lay the bag down on the stone
- Grab the second bag. Crossing over the first braid, squeeze out some more dough. Lay down the bag after two to three inches of dough
- Finally, the third bag: squeeze out the dough so that you cross over the second braid of dough and this braid is parallel to the first braid. Lay this bad down.
- Going back to the first bag, pick it up gently so that the bag and the squeezed out dough don’t separate. Begin squeezing the dough out as you cross over the third braid of dough moving to the center. Lay this one down.
- Pick up the second bag, and cross over the first braid, similar to what you did in the previous step.
- Continue squeezing and crossing over until you squeeze out all of the dough.
- Allow the dough to raise for 45 to 60 minutes or until is is roughly double in size.
- Once it has risen, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- While the oven is warming up, take the egg whites (remember those?) and lightly beat. Then, using a brush, spread the egg whites over the top of the Challah dough.
- Place the Challah in the oven for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, cover the Challah with foil and continue to cook for another 25 minutes.
- Check to see if the Challah is a golden brown. If not, add the foil and bake another 5 minutes
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.