Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

Jewish holidays have wonderful traditions, many involving food. One of my favorites to make is gluten free challah, a yeasted egg bread that is served on religious occasions and at ceremonies, although not typically gluten free. Challah is not just reserved for these special meals, though. It’s a wonderful treat for anyone at any time of year, especially now that you have this wonderful gluten free version to make and enjoy!

How to Make Gluten Free Challah gfJules.com

In fact, it’s not only a truly delicious bread, it’s also one that will impress any guest or crowd. The braids merely look like it took a skillful baker to weave, but that can be our little secret. When made with my gfJules™ flour, these braids will be such a nice surprise to work with! The dough will be unlike any gluten free dough you’ve worked with before — soft and pliable, not brittle. You’ll be making beautiful gluten- and dairy-free challah that will have everyone marveling at your baking prowess! See how flexible this dough is in this quick time lapse how-to video on braiding bread.

making gluten free challah

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

 

Feel free to skip the apples and raisins, or add your own toppings like sesame seeds and sea salt (as pictured below). Or braid into a crown! The eggs in this bread help to keep it moist and fresh for days, thus, on the off-chance there are any leftovers, enjoy it with hummus, peanut butter, honey, or plain (or make French Toast!). Fitting that it is the manna that just keeps giving!

Gluten Free Challah collage - gfJules.com

gluten free challah

Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

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20 min

Ingredients:

  • 1/3-1/2+ cup 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)*
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 5 large egg yolks at room temperature (slightly mixed)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbs. honey, agave nectar or molasses
  • 4 cups gfJules™ All-Purpose Gluten Free 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 with 1 Tbs. water
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, diced apples or other toppings (optional)

*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.

Method:

soft gluten free challah - gfJules

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

 

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 the warm water (start with 1/3 cup), yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients 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 equal-sized balls (6 balls total). Roll each ball out into an 18-inch coil or log on a clean, flat surface very dusted lightly with gfJules™ All Purpose 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 long braid.

Gently transfer braid to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the second set of three balls. You may divide the dough into as many balls as you like, counting on at least 3 balls per loaf. Roll each to equal lengths of coil and braid into 1, 2, or 4 loaves.

In a small bowl, mix the extra egg together with a splash of water and brush over each loaf well, coating the entire top surface. Sprinkle the fruit 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 the preheated oven for at least 20 – 30 minutes.

Once risen at least slightly, place the uncovered tray in an oven preheated to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection) for 20 minutes (less time for smaller loaves). Remove to cool on a wire rack.

gluten free challah loaves with apples and raisins - gfJules.com

This gluten free recipe and 149 more can be found in my newest book, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy.

Find more gluten free Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur recipes here on gfJules.com!

Gluten Free Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Recipes - gfJules

52 thoughts on “Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

  1. I have been making this every week for the past few weeks and it is fantastic. My family love it more than gluten-full challah! A couple of questions. Firstly how do you recommend storing leftovers? Also would a fridge rise work for this, and or could the rough be frozen? If so at what stage? I use active yeast instead of instant.

    Thank you!

    • Hi DT – so happy to hear your family is loving this recipe!!! I never recommend storing leftover baked goods in the fridge, as it just dries them out. I keep challah on the counter in a sealed bag and reheat gently in a microwave or wrapped in the oven, as needed. You can also freeze it after baking. If you want to braid the dough and cover it super well, you can store in the fridge to bake later. Bring to room temp (still covered) and then follow the directions to rise and bake (uncovered). Hope that helps!
      ~jules

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    • Hi Debbie – I don’t take the temperature of these loaves — I just stick a toothpick in to make sure it’s not wet. Hope that helps!
      ~jules

    • Hi Jenny, another reader asked me this same question recently! Lucky you, I shared my best guess as to how to make this work and she told me it came out great! So here’s what I recommended (mind you, the results are different because the recipe for challah dough is very different from my bread mix, but it worked!).
      Use the bread mix and follow the challah directions but DO NOT ADD 1/3 cup water. Just add the yeast to the dough once all the other ingredients are integrated, and beat another 1-2 minutes until the yeast is fully mixed.

      Here’s what you should be adding in terms of liquids:
      2 Tbs. Agave or honey
      1 1/4 cups yogurt
      1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
      1/3 cup oil
      5 egg yolks

      Also add these dry ingredients:
      1/4 tsp. kosher salt
      1/4 cup sugar

      Follow the shaping directions, although I think you’ll do better with one crown or one longer loaf than 2 smaller loaves. Just see how the dough is handling and what seems easiest.

      If you have some of my gfJules Flour on hand, you could also follow the challah recipe exactly, but add 1/2 cup of my flour to my bread mix and the extra dry ingredients (salt and sugar) listed above (but use the recipe’s challah ingredients for the liquids as written on-line).

      Let me know how it turns out, Jenny!
      ~jules

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  4. I tried making this and it did not rise. I used active dry instead of rapid rising yeast. Do you think it makes a difference? It tasted great and my husband loved it!

    • Hi Hannah – I’m so glad it tasted great and your hubbie loved it! About the rising, the active dry would just take longer to rise, but it should eventually rise if you let it wait long enough. Do you know if your yeast was still good? You could proof it next time by adding to warm water and sugar and see if it’s still good before using another packet or more from the same jar. One more question: did you make any other ingredient or method changes? Sometimes those can affect rise as well.
      At least you know it’s worth trying again, since it was good even without rising!!! 🙂
      ~jules

    • Hi Gen, I wouldn’t recommend an egg replacer in this recipe, as it is an egg bread. Most of my recipes work well with an egg replacer (if an egg is even called for in the ingredients), but when a recipe calls for this many eggs, the results will be radically different. I wish I had a better answer here!
      ~jules

  5. Hi Jules…
    Do you have any recommendations for this bread in high elevation? We live in the mountains in Colorado. My dough turned out a dry, I tried to add liquid but wasn’t successful. The bread tastes amazing but doesn’t look so good. I also need to order your gf flour blend…I was so excited about the recipe I used a similar blend because I will have to order yours online, so next time I will wait to make it when your flour blend arrives. Thanks, Christine

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  8. Oh my goodness…Jules! Thank you!! This challah is absolutely delicious. I baked it plain on this 1st attempt but will definitely be adding chocolate chips, raisins, sesame seeds etc the next time. I love the texture of the challah as well…I have only 1 major issue…I might eat it all before my kids and husband get home..OY!! Oh well…happy baking and eating. Thanks again for a terrific recipe and a wonderfully versatile GF flour mix!

    • Hi Lisa,
      That’s wonderful to hear, and a good problem to have! 😉 I love your idea of all the additions on future loaves. Have fun!!!
      ~jules

  9. I love your recipes. I do not have your flour mix on hand right now, but would like to try making this now anyway. I know your mix has xanthan gum added to it, so how much would I have to add to this recipe to make it work? Thanks.

  10. I just tried this recipe as a substitute for an old family recipe called julekai (Christmas cake). I added 1 tsp vanilla and 1 additional Tbs sugar. Right before I rolled it out, I added some frozen, pea-sized pieces of butter, about 1/4 cup. Then I rolled it into two sheets, each about 9×11 inches. I spread the center with cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, chopped hazelnuts, and dark chocolate chips. Then I folded the edges up about 2 inches on each side to make a smaller rectangle. I let them rise and baked them until golden. They were delicious and the closest thing to the original recipe I have had yet. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    • Wow, Abbey, your Christmas Cake sounds divine! I can’t wait to try that modification this holiday season! Thanks so much for sharing, and I’m so happy to hear you loved this dough with your recipe! It’s one of our family’s favorites, as well!

  11. Just bought your kindle edition of your latest book so that I can have it on my iPad as I shop. I downloaded your other cookbooks. Makes for a bulky 3 ring binder. Thanks for the kindle edition.

  12. I loved to bake bread, but I’ve been GF for 11 months. While my GI is much happier, my baking skills have been tested, challenged, and frustrated! I just tried this recipe and there was no way I was going to roll that dough out to braid. It was way to sticky. I added more flour, but I’m not sure how that effects the dough given it isn’t glutinous. How much more flour can I add to get it not to stick so much? Thanks. I wanted to make a challah for Thanksgivukkah in few weeks.

    • Hi Michelle, did you use any ingredient substitutions with the challah recipe? Did you use my Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour? Let me know so I can better help you figure out how to get this recipe right next time! Did you bake it out anyway? If so, how did it turn out?

      • I did use your all purpose flour, which I recently stalked up on for the holiday season. I didn’t have rapid rise yeast, so used the red star original. Other than that I tried to follow the recipe per se.

        I couldn’t bread it, but I was able to shape and bake it. Tasted wonderful and the non-GF in my household enjoyed it tremendously.

        It was just really sticky. I measured out the flour, but it felt like there wasn’t enough.

        I guess it will just take practice and jolly gee won’t that be a shame. (Heehee)

        • I love your attitude about the practice and taste-testing, and it’s great that you are experimenting BEFORE you need the recipe! I wonder if you are measuring the flour differently than I do. Do you have a food scale? If so, 1 cup of my flour = 135 grams. If not, just make sure to scoop flour and put it into your cup measure then level with a knife. If it still feels too sticky when you’re done, add more and mix it in until you think you could braid it and see how that goes for comparison. Luckily you love the taste, so it’ll still be a winner regardless. :)

  13. I must admit that this recipe is delicious–but I made a big mess! LOL! Just bought a new bread machine and I really want to try the Challah recipe–mess free this time….I hope. How can I adapt it to work using a bread machine? Thanks!

    • Hi Elyse – you can use the dough setting on your bread machine, but in order to braid it, you’ll have to take it out after that and braid then bake in the oven. You could just let the dough bake in the breadmaker as a regular loaf, though. Glad you’re enjoying the recipe!

  14. I am making this again today! The last time I made 8 or 9 little braided loaves and froze the extras. I love being able to again unwind the braids bite by bite! I did not notice any change in quality even being frozen for up to 8 weeks. Just 20-30 seconds in the microwave and it’s like they are just cooling out of the oven!

    • That’s wonderful, Louise! I’ve had good luck freezing these loaves, too, but your idea to make a lot of small loaves and freeze them is wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thank you for this recipe. I used to make this every Easter until my son was diagnosed with Celiac. All these years we have been missing out. Can’t wait to try it. I like to incorporate the raisens in at the last minute instead of sprinkling them. Hope it works.

  16. Have you ever tried freezing some of the dough and baking later? I’m afraid that if I made two loaves, one would go stale before I could get to it, and halving the recipe looks complicated (what with the five egg yolks).

  17. Do you a recipe for pancakes? I attempted to use the flour with a traditional pancake recipe and it didn’t turn out very well. The pancakes were gummy and did not brown.

    Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  18. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I’ve been trying to make great Easter Bread for years and your recipe was my solution. I added the zest of one orange and one lemon. I made 12 rolls in my muffin pans sprayed with Pam (I had a little dough left over) and cooked them for about 17 minutes on 350. I put a powdered sugar/water glaze on top after they came out of the oven. So crazy yummy!!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=506872526024111&set=a.358578797520152.110850.358168717561160&type=1&theater

    • That sounds divine, Alexis! Thanks so much for sharing your modifications! Glad I could help bring Easter Bread back to your table! :)

    • Hi Cheri – I do don’t gelatin either, so no worries! My flour is free from gluten, the top 8 food allergens (including eggs and dairy) and is also vegetarian. Hope that works for you!

    • Hi Jennifer – if you follow the directions as written, it makes 2 loaves. You could easily make 4 smaller loaves though, just by dividing the dough again. Enjoy!

      • Your flour and recipes are great and you have shown us how to make many things gluten free. There is one thing I have been looking for and wondered if you had tried it, a loaf of sourdough bread. I would love to try it if you have any suggestions, we enjoy your many ideas!

        • Thanks so much, Carolyn! I am working on a sourdough right now, and hope to publish the recipe soon! So glad you’re enjoying my other recipes – keep the ideas coming and I’ll do what I can to help!
          ~jules

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