I lived near a Jewish bakery for many years, and one of my favorite things to get there was the fresh challah bread (along with blueberry buns and chocolate babka).
It’s usually made with eggs, so I adapted it to be vegan.
I’d say it’s one of the best loaves of bread I’ve ever baked. So soft, fluffy, sweet, and full of love.
Also, kneading and braiding dough is very relaxing.
If you have any leftovers, challah works very well in French toast or bread pudding.
This was an obvious choice for my signature bread in my first Great British Bakeoff bread week! I hope the judges would have enjoyed it as much as we did.
Great British Bakeoff Vegan: Season 1, Episode 3, Signature Bake
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- ½ cup mashed pumpkin
- ¼ cup vegan butter, melted
- 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- Olive oil for kneading
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp soy milk
In a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, coconut sugar, and hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam.
Then add in the mashed pumpkin and melted vegan butter. Mix gently. In a larger bowl, mix the flour and salt.
Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s mostly a dough, then turn it out onto a board oiled with olive oil and knead with your hands for about 10 minutes until it turns into a nice smooth, elastic ball. It should be sticky as you’re kneading it but not completely stick to your fingers.
Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let it rise for about 90 minutes until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and knead a few times to get the air out. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, roll each piece out to about 20 inches long, and pinch all the ends together at one side. Starting from the right side each time, work the strands over, under, over the other 3 strands. Always start from the right, and you’ll end up with a nice tight braid. Pinch the ends together, cover and let it rise again for about 35-40 to double again.
Gently brush with the glaze. Bake at 375F for 35-40 minutes until the top and bottom are a deep golden brown and the internal temperature hits 190F.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy! This also makes amazing French toast the next day.