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Egg-Free (Vegan) Challah
Posted By Rachel Ornstein Packer On February 10, 2011 @ 9:25 pm In Jewish New Year | 6 Comments
When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies, (eggs, nuts and citrus), I realized that I, along with so many others, was now faced with a mission…to keep my son safe, and educate others in the process. Food allergies are terrifying and daunting, and for the first few months, I was a deer in the headlights. Slowly, I started to get a handle on things as I researched, experimented, failed and succeeded.
It took a while for a virtual non-baker like me to get the hang of baking without eggs, but I did. One of my first projects was to learn how to bake challah because I wanted my son to continue to enjoy his favorite Friday night ritual, safely. I found that it was easier, safer, and tastier to make it myself, rather, than to relentlessly ask questions at the bakery which only yielded nonchalant responses that could result in a potentially life threatening episode.
Often, my guests ask me for this recipe and as part of my mission, I now pass it on to you. Another benefit of this challah (aside from the fact that it is ridiculously simple) is that it is cholesterol-free for those family members or guests who are on restricted diets. Enjoy!
Egg Replacement (These three ingredients work as a binding agent. The “fizzing” that occurs when whisked together provides the “lift” to the finished product. Make sure you add this right before the flour—see Notes for Great Challah below):
Pour yeast into warm water along with a pinch of sugar in a large bowl and mix until combined.
Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or so until bubbly and creamy (I usually measure out the flour while waiting for the yeast). Add the sugar, salt, and additional 2 tablespoons of canola oil and mix.
Beat the egg replacement ingredients with a whisk (it will fizz) and pour into the yeast mixture.
Add the flour, a cup at a time, until it is difficult to stir the mixture. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic (approximately 7 to 10 minutes). It should be springy.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp cloth or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 90 minutes. It should double in size.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut dough into two equal halves. Divide each piece into three pieces and roll out into 10 to 12 inch ropes. Pinch the ends together and proceed to braid the dough.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet and let rise for additional 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes depending on your oven.
Notes for Great Challah:
Rachel Ornstein Packer is freelance writer. She has been featured in Washington Family Magazine and Atlanta Parent along with websites such as The Jewish Hostess  and Green Diva Mom  regarding food allergies/recipes and nutrition. She has also written personal essays for NPR, Baltimore Jewish Times, Washington Post, and Jewish Week.
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