Gluten Free Challah Crown

Gluten Free Challah Crown

This gorgeous gluten free Challah Crown is definitely a show-stopper, and it’s not difficult to make! Really. Just make sure you’re not using a dry, gritty, rice-based flour — so it’ll hold together! It’s another recipe where my award-winning gfJules Gluten Free Flour really shines because it’s so fine and light, but it also adds stretch to doughs like this, allowing you to actually braid gluten free bread dough!

Although associated with important Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, challah is not only a culturally significant bread at these times of year, but is also a delicious and impressive bread to serve at your table any time.

soft gluten free challah - gfJules

This soft and moist bread is one that will be hard to resist!


We had friends over last weekend and I served these yummy round loaves because it’s one of our family’s favorite bread recipes, but it also happened to be the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah. They were blown away by my gluten free challah, having made their own GLUTEN-FULL challah the week before, and not loving the results. 

It’s true folks: gluten free bread can be better than gluten bread. It happens all the time.

round gluten free challah crown sliced

At Rosh Hashanah, challah takes on symbolic importance for those of the Jewish faith who partake of this honey bread as a representation of the sweet new year we all hope for. Add in the extra sweetness of raisins, and dip a piece of the braided bread in honey, and it is even more fun to wish for sweet things in the coming year.

The challah is formed into a round shape at this time of year to symbolize the circle of life and the cyclical pattern of the seasons that shape a year. At Hanukkah (the Festival of Lights), challah feeds the body and the soul, as families gather over the course of 8 days to light the Menorah, savor wonderful meals together, and  to exchange gifts in celebration.

To see this bread in braided loaf form, hop to this recipe.

Reader Barbara S. sent this photo of her gluten-free challah made with my recipe and gfJules Flour.

Reader Barbara S. sent this photo of her gluten-free challah made with my recipe and gfJules Flour.


All of you who have seen me at gluten-free cooking classes or demonstrations making yeast breads already know the dirty little secret about gluten-free bread. Shhhh…. don’t tell the gluten-eaters! Seriously!

It is super quick and shockingly easy to make homemade gluten-free bread! Impress your friends and shock the neighbors with this recipe too: not only is gluten-free challah delicious and fast, it’s almost too beautiful to eat!

round gluten free challah crown with knife

Watch this quick video below to see just how easy it is to braid this gluten free dough with this recipe made with my gfJules Flour.

making gluten free challah

Click on photo to see a quick video on how to braid this gluten free bread.


No matter what your reason for making this delicious bread, celebrate that this impressive recipe is at your gluten-free fingertips any time you feel like having a sweeter day.

Gluten Free Challah Crown

Gluten Free Challah Crown

Yield: 2 crowns
Prep Time: 55 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. warm water
  • 1 package rapid rise gf yeast (Red Star®)
  • 1 tsp. granulated cane sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla dairy or non-dairy yogurt, at room temperature (So Delicious® Vanilla Coconut Yogurt)*
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 5 large egg yolks at room temperature (slightly mixed)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil, non-GMO canola oil OR extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbs. honey, agave nectar or molasses
  • 4 cups (540 grams) gfJules™ All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tbs. + 2 tsp. granulated cane sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg, mixed
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, or other topping or mix-in (optional)


Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn it off; if you have a warming drawer, you may set that to low/moist setting instead. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup (5 Tbs) warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients (including 2 more tablespoons warm water) and mix until combined. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

After 5 minutes of proofing, stir in the yeast-water mixture into the wet ingredients (note: if your yeast isn’t bubbling at this point, throw it out and start again with fresh yeast). Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until fully integrated, adding more warm water by the tablespoon as needed to get the dough soft and so that the dough is not tight or stiff — you should be able to pull the dough gently without it feeling tight or like it would bounce back — if it’s stiff, then add more warm water then mix 1-2 minutes more on medium speed.

Using either method, once the dough is combined, divide it in half and divide each half into three equally-sized balls. The dough will be sticky, so use extra gfJules™ flour on your hands and rolling surface (I like using a bench scraper like this oneto help me cut and roll the sticky dough).

Roll each ball out into an 18-inch coil or log on a clean, flat surface dusted lightly with gfJules™ Flour. Pinch together one end of each coil, wetting them slightly with water to help them join together at the top, then braid them, finishing by connecting them to the top of the other end in order to form a crown, or circular shape, or simply leave as a long braid.

Gently transfer it to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the second set of three balls. In the alternative, you can simply divide the dough in half, roll out into a flattened coil, then twist upon itself and join at the ends to form a circular loaf; repeat with the other half of the dough ball.

In a small bowl, mix the extra egg together and brush over each loaf well, coating the entire top surface. Sprinkle the seeds or any toppings at this point, then place the tray (covering the loaves with wax paper sprayed with cooking oil) in a warming drawer set to low heat, or into a warm location for 20 – 30 minutes. (Don’t expect the bread to rise much at this stage).

Once risen slightly, place the uncovered tray in an oven preheated to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection) for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out dry, or with some crumbs attached but no wet dough.

Remove to cool on a wire rack.


*If you don’t have yogurt on-hand, another good dairy-free substitute is 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (shake it well before measuring) + 1 tablespoon vinegar (not malt vinegar) or lemon juice.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

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This gorgeous gluten free Challah Crown is definitely a show-stopper, and it’s not difficult to make!

Is there any bread more beautiful than challah? This gorgeous gluten free Challah Crown is definitely a show-stopper, and it's not difficult to make!
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Gluten Free Challah Crown
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161 thoughts on “Gluten Free Challah Crown

  1. Hi! I tried making this challah today. It tastes delicious but did not rise very much. I used my bread machine to make the dough and put the wet ingredients in first, then added the blended dry ingredients. I’m wondering if I should have simply added the yeast without proofing it with the water and sugar? Normally when I make a bread dough recipe in my bread machine, I just add the yeast dry. Thank you.

  2. Jules,
    Did I see somewhere that you said you could make the bread, let it rise then cover it and refrigerate until the next day, let it come to room temp & bake?

    • Hi Pat, it’s definitely possible with any of the yeast bread recipes. It slows the activity of the yeast overnight to refrigerate it; I wouldn’t let it rise all the way, as it will still rise some overnight. But yes, cover well to keep it from drying out and then let it come to room temperature and then brush it with egg wash or milk then bake it. Enjoy!

    • Yes it does freeze well if you squeeze all the air out of the bag and freeze when totally cooled. I like to bring it slowly to room temperature or wrap in foil and gently heat in a warm oven. Enjoy!

  3. My 17 year old daughter recently went gluten-free as part of aLow FODMAP diet and although she does not have Celiac’s (my sister-in-law does) she doesn’t tolerate gluten at all. Our Jewish lineage is very important to us and giving up Challah had been extremely upsetting for her so I was intrigued and grateful to find this recipe. I’m a very experienced and accomplished ametuer baker but gluten-free baking is VERY different. Thank you so much for putting this recipe online for all to try so that my daughter can still feel she is honoring get heritage and I can learn gluten-free baking.

    • Hi Heather, thank YOU for taking the time to write me a note and let me know that the challah recipe and how-tos are helpful to you both. Challah is one of the foods that I hear the most about from folks because it is so different to make gluten-free, technique-wise, and it’s so very important culturally and religiously for so many. It was important for me to nail this recipe early on, as I know many dear friends who need a great GF challah recipe! I have two recipes for challah on my site, so be sure to check them both out. I also have videos and of course the how-to photos. I hope that you and your daughter make many wonderful memories of making GF challah together. All the best to you both!

    • Great question, Katherine! I’ve never been asked that before – perhaps I should be making that more clear in recipes. One packet is just one of the square packets of yeast, not 3 of them in a strip. It’s also equal to 2 1/4 teaspoons. Hope that helps!

  4. Delicious, I actually use this dough for cinnamon and sometimes orange rolls. Its generally easy to work with. Again, where would I be without you and your recipes. My daughter was a freshman in high school when I first discovered you and she is now a healthy first year teacher. Thanks Jules, time flies but you remain my go to flour for the special baked yummies you just cant get anywhere but your own home kitchen,

    • Oh Chari, that is so sweet of you to share with me. I’m so happy to hear how well your daughter is doing and to feel like I’ve been a part of yours and her success in living gluten free means so much to me! Wishing you both all the best!

  5. To make a gluten free challah that qualifies for a Shabbat bread blessing (hamotzi challah) more than half the flour must be one of the 5 grains. You did not appear to be aware of this, and it important to know when hosting a gluten-intolerant religious guest.

    I’ve had great success using oat flour from grinding instant oats in the processor. I add xanthan gum, but I have since learned (aside from flax eggs) you can substitute with pectin.

    Posted by: [email protected]

    • Some celiacs cannot handle oats – also from what I know oats aren’t one of the Five Grains which are wheat, barley, spelt, rice, or rye, only one of which a celiac could consume.

    • We attend a conservative synagogue and spoke with Rabbi about gluten free dietary concerns. He said that whenever possible one should adhere to all of the various dietary laws but that it really is OK when food allergies and other health issues prevent someone from following them. Yes, stay kosher, but otherwise it’s ok to make adjustments that will allow everyone to participate.

      • Thank you for sharing, Heather. I would think that this approach is the one that certainly makes the most sense, however different Rabbis certainly have different opinions on the matter. I hope you can enjoy this amazing recipe!

        • I am an orthodox Jew who usually does not eat gluten because of an autoimmune disorder. Oats are the only grain upon which we can make a special blessing that is gf. Gluten free oats are readily available but, as you know, some people cannot eat oats even if the oats are gf. For those who are gluten sensitive but not intolerant, spelt is a lighter gluten. I personally eat the minimum amount of spelt matzos on the Sabbath if I don’t have a gf alternative (such as when I’m traveling and didn’t bring gf challah). I just discovered your site and it’s wonderful.

  6. Hi Jules!
    This challah looks amazing! Can the dough be baked in a silicone challah mold instead of hand braided?


  7. I made this recipe today except I left out the baking soda, baking powder, and vinegar. I put an extra teaspoon of yeast and let it sit for 2 hours. I made two braids and filled each one with an apple raisin sauce. I also topped it with a confectionary drizzle. It was soooo delicious and the texture was perfect. Pleasantly surprised!

    • WOW Charlotte, that sounds delightful! Thanks so much for letting me know what you came up with – I can’t wait to try it your way! (So happy when folks are pleasantly surprised at what great gluten free recipes can do!!!). Happy baking!