Challah is one of my favorite breads. A kind of butterless brioche, it has the same flaky texture and lightness as brioche minus the butter. It also has a gorgeous braided look that's pretty easy to achieve with just a tiny bit more effort than is required to shape any old bread.
For a vegan, the chief challenge in baking a perfect challah tends to be the eggs that are such a predominant part of any challah recipe. Tastewise, I had always detested the eggy smell. But the eggs also help form the bread's delicate structure, which made it just a tad scary to contemplate baking a challah without them.
By now, though, I've veganized enough baked goods to never say die. So onward I pressed with my most trusted egg substitute, flax seed powder, which I thought would perform well in this bread because it is rich in fats, like eggs, but also has a deep nuttiness that would go well with the whole wheat I was planning to use in place of all-purpose flour.
I did use some bread flour, which is also refined, mainly because using only whole wheat would make the bread too dense and heavy, which, in a challah, would be self-defeating.The result was beyond my expectations. Not only was the challah extremely flaky and delicious, but it looked absolutely gorgeous with a golden-crisp crust.
In fact, it was a small miracle. (Also check out my vegan challah recipe made with all purpose flour, and my vegan sourdough challah!)
Looking for more vegan bread recipes?
- Vegan Sourdough Challah
- Onion Poppy Seed Rolls
- Vegan Chocolate Babka
- Sourdough Olive Sage Loaf
- Easy French Bread
Vegan Whole Wheat Challah Bread Recipe
Whole-wheat Vegan Challah Bread: Eggless Bliss
- 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 4 tablespoon flaxmeal whisked with 6 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cup bread flour
- Mix the yeast and the warm water in a mixing bowl and leave alone for five minutes to ensure the yeast is alive and frothing.
- Add the flaxmeal mixture, the two vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Mix until blended, then add the flours. Knead on medium low speed in a stand mixer for 5 minutes or about 10 minutes by hand. The dough should be elastic and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turn it once to coat the top with oil, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 2 ½ hours in a warm place.
- Punch down the dough, knead a bit, and then refrigerate for about 4-5 hours until the dough has doubled.
- Divide the dough into three balls and let them rest, covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes.
- Roll each ball into a rope about 12 inches in length. Dust with flour.
- Place the three ropes side-by-side. Now pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you'd braid your hair. For instance, pick the left rope and place it between the right and the middle rope, then pick the right rope and place it between the left and middle ropes, and so on.
- Pinch together the ends and tuck them under the bread.
- Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.
- Brush the top of the loaf with some olive oil which will give it a lovely glaze after baking.
- Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise. In about an hour, it would have nearly doubled in size.
- Brush the loaf again with olive oil, sprinkle some sesame seeds over it, then place it in a preheated 375-degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool the loaf on a rack before cutting in.
For another great eggless, dairyless bread, try my Whole Wheat French Bread, which includes a step-by-step guide, or my butterless Avocado Brioche.
Thanks for the eggless version. I was wondering whether I could use flax seed powder in place of eggs in cheesecakes. Any idea?
I recently got in to challah as well. My girlfriend used to work as a nanny for a Jewish family and the mother always made fresh challah bread. I would always hear about this fresh, chewy bread that you just tore chunks from and snacked on. Well just a few days ago I found a frozen Whole Wheat Challah bread in Fairway, a large gourmet/health/regular grocery store and it is delicious! This one has eggs in it, but I'm not a vegan. I like this recipe though, I may have to make this! By the way, challah is great with a schmear of peanut butter on it! Thanks for sharing!
this crust really looks perfect - as does the entire bread. hmmm 🙂
I so want to try this! Will be coming back to stop by and look at it when I lay my hands on it. 🙂
Bee, Suganya, Miri- Hope you ladies do try it.
Remya, Sunita, Richa,Happy Cook, Trupti, Sagari, Chocolatecoveredvegan, Sandhya, Dhivya: Thanks for your kind words.
Alpa, I agree it would make great French toast.
A cook@heart: Just try it- I know you'll enjoy baking.
Mansi- thanks for reminding! I have emailed you already!
lovely bread...with out eggs sounds great dear
Wow you are so innovative! and BRAVE! I think I will try to make this for my vegetarian Mom while she is here for the next two weeks. Thanks for the recipe...it looks beautiful!
I've never been lucky enough to have a vegan Challah, but it looks terrific.
this looks awesome vaishali! and it's wggless and whole-wheat! perfect:)
btw, this would be a great addition to the WBB-Balanced Breakfast event on my blog...do check it out and send this in if you like!:)
A Cook @ Heart
Gorgeous! i wish I had the courage to bake :(.. maybe on day!
Oh my, Vaish. I am so trying this.
wow, challah without eggs... i hate that eggy smell too, ick... i bet this would make an awesome french toast - without the eggs & dipped in spiced soy milk! yummy, great picture.
bread looks yummmmmyy
Wow u made them without eggs.
it sure looks good! raisin challah is my fav, bookmarked this one, thanks!
Vaishali,that challah is bliss indeed...love your version...thanks for sharing 🙂
cool recipe..bread looks simply elegant...
the eggs were what stopped me from trying challah so far. this is a great recipe.