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I have finally figured out how to make a delicious gluten-free challah recipe 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 sit 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 certified gluten-free oats. (Read more about why oats may or may not be gluten-free in this article, Are Oats Gluten-Free?)
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.”
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, which is what will give the sticky challah its shape. Unfortunately you cannot braid this gluten-free challah recipe, it’s just to sticky! If you do not have the following challah-shaped mold pan, you can use a basic loaf pan.
Alternatively, I found this non-stick challah mold pan on Amazon. I really like this one and I have a feeling it is easier to clean than the silicone one I have.
I also often make this gluten-free challah recipe in my mini loaf pan too. I simply double the recipe so I can fill up all the cavities in this 18 cavity mini loaf pan. This allows me to create mini-gluten-free challahs for all my gluten-free guests to enjoy in lieu of bagels during break-fast on Yom Kippur, Friday night for Shabbat, or whenever.
I should warn you – 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). Your friends will all want a copy of the recipe, and they’ll beg you to make it again and again!
Gluten-Free Challah Making Tips
You can make this gluten-free challah recipe with eggs or with flax eggs. I’ve made this recipe with eggs and personally I don’t think it’s as good as when I make it with the flax egg mixture instead. The flax egg mixture really adds a nice chewy texture to the bread.
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. Instead of water, you can make a flax egg with applesauce – I like to do this for Rosh Hashanah when I want to make a sweeter challah bread for my guests.
I borrowed my friends round challah mold pan (pictured below) so I could make my challah round (sorry, I can’t find this challah pan anywhere anymore, but you could use a bundt pan or angel food cake 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.
The next time you want to make gluten-free challah, I hope you’ll try this gluten-free challah 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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