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!
Yes, you read that right: YOU CAN BRAID THIS GLUTEN FREE CHALLAH! It’s all about the gluten free flour, people.
My award-winning gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour is the secret ingredient to making this gorgeous loaf. Now you know.
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.
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 with my gfJules Flour. I have a whole tab of recipes dedicated to homemade gluten free bread recipes that are arguably better than — or at least as good as! — their gluten counterparts and are certainly quicker and easier to make!
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.
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!
The secret is that compared to making gluten breads, 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!
The dough starts out thick and sticky, but rolled in a light dusting of my gfJules Flour, it’s easy to form long strands to braid.
The final ball twist is stunning.
Then brush with egg wash to help keep the dough soft and moist and for that luscious golden color.
And of course, once baked, it’s hard to resist!
Hamotzi & Baking with a Challah Mold
If you’re looking to make this gluten free challah crown hamotzi (made from the five species of grains — wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oat — oat being the only one that is gluten free) by using 51% oat flour, I would recommend using a molded challah pan since it will be more difficult to braid without using all gfJules Flour.
I have heard from readers that even at only 49% gfJules Flour though, they have been able to braid this dough, just not quite as easily.
If you do choose to use a molded challah pan, you may have too much dough for the pan, so plan to put the extra dough in a loaf pan or even in muffin pans to make extra rolls with it.
Incidentally, I make my own gluten free oat flour when I do use oat flour. It’s super easy to do and that way you can use purity protocol oats which are easier to find in full oat form than in oat flour form.
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
Beautiful, meaningful, impressive and delicious. These words should describe all breads but they don't. Luckily they define this gorgeous gluten free Challah Crown.
Gluten Free Challah Bread Ingredients
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. warm water
- 1 package gluten free yeast (like Red Star -- not platinum! -- or Fleishmann's)
- 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 OR non-GMO canola oil OR extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbs. honey OR agave nectar OR maple syrup
- 4 cups (540 grams) gfJules™ All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tbs. psyllium husk powder (added for smoother texture, but if not using, reduce total water by 2 Tbs.)
- 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, diced apples or other toppings or mix-ins (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 (remaining 5 Tbs water, yogurt, cider vinegar, egg yolks, oil, honey) and mix until combined.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (gfJules Flour; psyllium, 3Tbs + 2 tsp. sugar; salt, baking soda, baking powder).
After 5 minutes of proofing, stir in the bubbling 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 the dry ingredients into the wet until fully integrated, adding more warm water by the tablespoon only 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, add more warm water then mix 1-2 minutes more on medium speed to integrate the additional water. The dough should be workable; keep in mind you will be braiding it, so it can't be too loose or too tight (think of Goldilocks dough!)
Once the dough is combined, divide it in half and divide each half into three equal-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 one to 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. If you have trouble rolling because you've used too much flour, dab a bit of water onto the counter or mat.
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 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 the coil 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 (at room temperature) together and brush over each loaf, coating the entire 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.
**for a vegan egg-substitute, check my comprehensive vegan substitutes article for ideas. I have not tried anything in this recipe yet myself, but one reader used 1 Tbs. Just Egg per yolk and her challah turned out beautifully!
***Another option I've been playing with in this recipe to reduce unsightly pocking from the yeast is to add 1 Tbs psyllium husk + 2 Tbs water and to use regular yeast, not quick rise yeast. I will continue to add notes from my experiments; please add yours in the comments!
Amount Per Serving Calories 145Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 66mgSodium 188mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 9gProtein 3g
Please keep in mind that nutrition information provided is per serving, which may vary. While we have taken care to provide you with the most accurate nutritional values possible, please note that this information may differ significantly depending on the exact ingredients and brands that you choose to use to make this recipe. Additionally, where options are given for ingredients, the resulting calculation may include all ingredient options instead of only one per line, skewing the totals significantly.
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I actually have a question- I have a recipe for your flour, that I found in a magazine. (I think it might have been from America’s Test Kitchen magazine, but I’m not positive.) Would that flour recipe work for this challah recipe?
Hi Gail, no telling where you found a knock-off recipe! LOL I’ve actually shared some modified blends myself before, in case folks couldn’t have some of the ingredients in my blend or lived far overseas where shipping my blend can get cost prohibitive. The important thing is that the ratios are similar in order to be able to exchange the blends for decent results, but the blends are not the same, since the ingredients in my blend aren’t available to consumers otherwise. Have a look at this article on gluten free flour blends and see if the recipe you’re looking at seems like it might work.
That looks amazing! I just wish your flour didn’t have corn starch! That’s why I had to stop using it. So many people with gluten sensitivity and celiac are sensitive to corn gluten.
Hi Sue, I’m sorry to hear that you have problems tolerating corn. I do have a phenomenal gluten free bread mix that is entirely corn-free that you should check out sometime!
I noticed that JF Jules make bread flour. Is it better to use that than their all purpose flour
Hi Karin, in this particular recipe, the gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour is the best one, since the recipe was developed using it. It’s possible to use my gfJules Bread Mix, but you’ll have to measure it out as flour and make a few other adjustments to the recipe. Others of my gluten free bread recipes give an option to use either one.
The challah turned out great and is very tasty, followed your recipe to a T and used your amazing flour!
That is so fantastic, Jenny! I’m thrilled that you made the challah crown and that this recipe turned out so well for you! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!
Good morning. I plan to try this recipe this weekend. The yeast in the recipe, I have quick-acting yeast, is that the wrong kind?
Thank you. Now that the weather is cooling off, I am eager to start baking!
Hi Beth, you actually can use either kind of yeast for this recipe! If you use the quick-acting yeast, there is no need to proof the yeast before hand, saving even more time. Here’s more information on yeast which might help for this or other recipes in the future. Hope you love this recipe (if you haven’t made it already!).
Super Delicious! I used coconut sugar and ghee for the oil. I don’t have a stand mixer so mixed by hand. Wondering if I should have kneaded the dough a bit as it did try to break apart a bit while rolling out the coils. It looked a wee bit denser on the inside than your pix so maybe mixing the dough more efficiently could help?
But, regardless, it was very tasty. We toasted it as well. They didn’t last long! As you can see from the pic, I didn’t quite get the correct twist after braiding, I just made a circle, not sure if that’s all it is or if the dough is twisted somehow. You can also see how the coils were cracking as I braided them. Maybe not quite the right dough consistency. My daughter said they look more like brains than crowns! Brains with Crowns is a good thing : )
I love the “brains with crowns” concept! And I’m down for anything that tastes great, no matter how it looks, but I’d definitely say that mixing better will help with any yeast doughs — perhaps a bit more liquid will help as well. So glad you were able to braid them and they still tasted so good — definitely worth making again and tweaking the technique a bit. Can’t wait to hear about the progress!!
Will coconut sugar work instead of cane sugar? Do you think melted ghee could be ok instead of the oil?
HI Anna, yes coconut sugar will work and melted ghee should also work but I haven’t tried that in this recipe myself — I just can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t work! Let me know how it turns out with those modifications. I’m sure you’re not the first person to wonder!