Hello! So, it’s been suggested by many friends, family and community members to start a blog about my veganism and post some recipes. Well, here I am! Of course I’m starting with everyone’s favorite, and now coined The Coveted Harlem Challah. When I first embarked on my conversion to Judaism it was the first recipe I knew I had to veganize and perfect, and I’ve done just that. I make this recipe pretty much every week and it has consistently never disappointed. OK, as per popular demand, here it is!
The Coveted Harlem Challah
3 tbsp golden flaxseed
½ c +1 tbsp hot water
(This is a 1 tbsp flaxseed to 3 tbsp water ratio)
⅔ c lukewarm water
1 tbsp sugar
2½ tbsp dry active yeast
1¼ c water
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ c refined coconut oil (warmed to liquid state)
½ c sugar
7½ c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp grade B maple syrup
2 tbsp plain non-dairy creamer (I use Silk Original Soy Creamer)
Desired amount of poppy seeds (optional)
Combine flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and let cool while doing the next steps. For best results prepare in airtight container and leave overnight in refrigerator.
In an extra large mixing bowl, dissolve 1 tbsp sugar in lukewarm water, then sprinkle in yeast and gentle incorporate with a fork. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size with frothiness.
Meanwhile bring 1¼ c water and turmeric just to a boil in a small saucepan, whisking constantly. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately.
In a medium bowl, preferably glass or stainless steel, combine sugar, coconut oil and turmeric water. Allow to cool down to lukewarm temperature.
Once yeast has doubled in size and turmeric water mix has cooled down just enough so it’s warm, combine in the large yeast bowl and add flaxseed meal-water. Sprinkle in the Tablespoon of salt and start mixing in flour 1 cup at a time with a wooden spoon. By the 6th cup it will likely start getting hard to stir, so I start incorporating it with my hands at this point. Once it’s all mixed, start kneading with some serious muscle on a clean, lightly floured surface, preferably on a pastry mat, for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Let rest for 2 minutes.
While dough is resting wash the extra large bowl and spray with high heat spray oil, like Canola, I use Spectrum’s organic Canola. Place the dough in the bowl and spray the top with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 90 minutes, punching down half way through.
While dough is rising combine non-dairy creamer and maple syrup to make “egg wash” and place in the refrigerator until ready for use.
After 90 minutes, punch down and divide dough in half. Wrap one half back in the plastic wrap while you for on the first one so it doesn’t dry out. Divide the dough according to how many strands you want to braid. I do 6 strands, which is a little advanced/fancy, but it isn’t terribly hard! You can start with 3 strands and work your way up as you get comfortable. Just YouTube search braiding Challah and enter the amount of strands you wish to learn.
If baking both at the same time:
Preheat oven to 350° . Divide and braid both halves, place on parchment paper lined baking sheets (preferably light/aluminum) and allow to rise uncovered for 30 minutes after braiding, they should be just about doubled in size and puffy.
When loaves have risen, brush with “egg” wash and sprinkle on desired amount of optional poppy seeds.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Rotate loaves half way through, if using 2 racks. Turn sheet 180° half way through if using one baking sheet.
Tap the bottom of the loaves at forty minutes, it should sound hollow and the tops should be nicely browned. Cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before slicing. These freeze VERY nicely, if freezing, allow to cool completely before placing in a freezer bag to avoid condensation.
If not using immediately, place in a freezer bag and suck the air out or wrap in plastic wrap until you’re ready for it. Will stay fresh for 2 days this way.
If Baking Separately (RECOMMENDED):
Preheat the oven to 350°. Divide and braid 1st half, place on parchment paper lined baking sheets (preferably light/aluminum) and allow to rise uncovered for 30 minutes after braiding, they should be just about doubled in size and puffy.
Allow a 20-minute lapse in time between braiding loaves. Then punch down second half of dough again, divide and braid. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let rise uncovered.
When first loaf has risen, brush with “egg wash and sprinkle on desired amount of optional poppy seeds.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. (Don’t forget to brush the other loaf after 30 minutes of rising) To check for readiness, tap the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow and the top should be nicely browned. Place on a cooling rack.
Immediately put the other loaf in the oven and repeat.
When they are finished they should cool on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes before slicing. These freeze VERY nicely, if freezing, allow to cool completely before placing in a freezer bag to avoid condensation.
If not using immediately, place in a freezer bag and suck or press the air out before sealing. You can also wrap in plastic wrap until you’re ready for it. Will stay fresh for 2 days this way.
**Note: If making a blessing on your challah, doubling the recipe will use 5lbs of flour.