I have finally figured out how to make a delicious gluten-free challah that even your gluten-eating friends will enjoy.
That’s right, I’ve cracked the gluten-free challah code (with the help of Kveller.com – more on that in a bit).
If you’re Jewish AND gluten-free, it’s likely you miss indulging on yummy, doughy challah every Friday night. In fact, every Friday night I sick back and watch my family devour the challah. The smell and texture of fresh baked challah… oh how I miss thee!
On my quest to find a good gluten-free challah recipe, I found this article on Kveller.com about how challah can only be “taken” if made with one of the five grains mentioned in the Torah, which are barley, rye, wheat, oat, and spelt. The only gluten-free grain of the five is oat. Apparently bread made from other grains can be Kosher, but you cannot say, “hamotzi” or call it a challah. I had no idea!
I understand some people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities cannot eat oats, but fortunately I can, as long as they are gluten-free oats. Verid Meir, the author of the article at Kveller.com, says she consulted with a rabbi who told her “… that while no teshuva (responsum) has yet been written on this topic, the oat flour must be at minimum 51% of the total flour in the bread.”
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The gluten-free challah recipe below consists of 51% oat flour (I used gluten free oat flour by Bob’s Red Mill), along with other ingredients. I make this recipe often but the shape changes each time. I often make it in my challah-shaped mold pan and sometimes I make it as a loaf of bread.
I also often make this gluten-free challah recipe in my mini loaf pan (I double the recipe and fill up this 18 cavity mini loaf pan – fantastic!) and create mini-challahs for all my gluten-free guests to enjoy in lieu of bagels during break-fast on Yom Kippur or whenever. I always get mad compliments when I make this gluten-free challah recipe. It’s become a signature recipe for me (although I’m always telling them I got it on Kveller.com).
I’ve made this recipe with eggs and I don’t think it’s has good as when I make it with flax eggs instead.
To make a flax egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let the mixture sit for five minutes. It will gel and then you have a flax egg to use in lieu of a regular egg. My guests always love the egg-free version, so I just use the flax egg version by default now.
For Rosh Hashanah, I combined the flax with applesauce instead of water to make my flax egg mixture. I thought this would give the challah a sweeter flavor. I’m happy to report it worked perfectly! Here is what my round Rosh Hashanah gluten-free challah looked like (sorry, I can’t find this challah pan anywhere anymore, but you could use a bundt pan for a similar result!).
You can read more about this gluten-free challah recipe and its origins here. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family enjoys it. While it doesn’t taste like challah, per se, it’s a spongy textured, slightly sweet bread that is truly delicious. Enjoy it as gluten-free challah at your Shabbat table or even as a bread substitute as my family did on break-fast last Yom Kippur.
So the next time you want to make gluten-free challah, I hope you’ll try this recipe. It requires a little work, but the effort will be rewarded with a delicious tasting gluten-free challah bread.
I am very grateful to Meir for her research and story in helping those of us who cannot eat gluten still enjoy not only a wonderful gluten-free challah recipe, but also one that we can use to say, “hamotzi,” too. Thank you!
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