Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

Gluten Free Challah, or the-most-beautiful-braided-bread-ever, or egg bread or Easter Bread … whatever you call it and for whatever occasion you bake it, it’s a true treat.

Even if you’ve never made homemade bread or if you’ve never braided bread dough, this recipe will make you look like a super star in the kitchen! The dough is soft and easy to work with when made with my gfJules Flour, and you can braid or shape it (or not!) however you like!

Some folks braid it like so …

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.

 

Others bake it into crown shapes or even bake off in muffin or popover tins for individual rolls.

gluten free easter rolls

Alexis from Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures uses my gfJules Flour and recipe to make these beautiful Italian Easter Breads every year! Click the photo for her method and more photos.

 

Gluten free challah this good is great any time. Why wait for the next Jewish holiday or even for Friday? You can even prep this dough and refrigerate it overnight to bake the next day!

Simply follow my directions through the braiding step. Allow the bread dough to rise for 30 minutes to one hour or so, brush with another egg wash or spritz lightly with water, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

gluten free braided bread covered for rising gfJules

The next day, remove the tray to the counter while you preheat your oven and then bake. Voila! Amazing bread!

gluten free braided bread gfJules

I let this dough sit overnight in the fridge (covered) then allowed it to rise longer the next day before baking. It rose to be so big and beautiful! No need to wait that long, and it arguably rose a bit TOO much! It’s still soft and flavorful, no matter what!

 

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!

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!

soft gluten free challah - gfJules

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

 

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.

Here’s a quick video showing 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!

Just proof your yeast, measure your ingredients, make the dough, braid, rise and bake!

proofed yeast gfJules

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 or overnight gluten free French Toast Casserole!).

Fitting that it is the manna that just keeps giving! Enjoy this recipe for the gift that it is — there’s just nothing like soft, fresh baked bread, and it means so much to be able to enjoy the best bread, gluten free!

Gluten Free Challah collage - gfJules.com

gluten free challah

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Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

gluten free challah loaves - gfJules.com

4.5 from 2 reviews

Gluten free challah is great anytime you’re craving insanely good bread … which is all the time, right? Made with soft, never-gritty gfJules Flour, it’s easy to braid the dough and easy to please anyone with this bread!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes + 30 minutes rise
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: ~1 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 2 large loaves

Ingredients

  • 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 or safflower or sunflower 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.

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn it off. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup 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 remaining 1/4 cup 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 if 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 warm location 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).

(Optional: instead of baking right away after rising, brush again with egg wash or spritz with water and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Remove to the counter while pre-heating your oven. Remove plastic wrap and bake as directed.)

Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

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.

 

Don’t wait for the next special occasion to bake this incredible gluten free challah bread!

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

Pin for later!

Gluten free challah is great anytime! Especially when you can't even tell it's gluten free. Made w/ soft, never-gritty gfJules Flour, that's what's you get!

Gluten free challah (braided bread) so good you'll never wait for a special occasion to make this bread recipe again! Easter bread, Braided Bread, Challah -- whatever you call it, it's delicious! | gfJules #glutenfree #challah

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72 thoughts on “Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

  1. I would love to make this (I have your flour at home already!) but I am vegan. Do you have any suggestions? Your product is great but it ain’t cheap, so I don’t want to waste it on guessing. Thank you 🙂

  2. Wow this bread has a wonderful sweat taste, comes out nice and airy for a gluten free bread. After reading some of the comments I think I will try making the braids looser when braiding to allow it to rise more before baking. All in all best gluten free challa bread recipe!

    • Hi Ernie, so glad you loved it!! Loosely braiding will definitely help it to have more room to rise. I tried to show it in the video, but it’s something that becomes more of an ah-ha moment I think after the first time you make it. May all your bread baking be happy, from here on out!
      ~jules

  3. Hi Jules, I have made this challah many times and the taste is incredible. My issue is that it is very dense and not light and airy like regular challah. I followed the directions exactly and used your flour. What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi Maureen, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the challah for its taste. I’m wondering maybe about the yogurt? What kind are you using? The bread is heavy because of the eggs and yogurt, but it should still be soft and not too dense like the pictures. Does yours look like that when you break it open?
      ~jules

      • Hi Jules,
        It is soft, but not as fluffy as the pictures. I have tried a few different yogurts, but could you suggest the best one to use? Is So Delicious® Vanilla Coconut Yogurt the best one?

        Thanks,
        Maureen

        • Hi Maureen, I’ve used the So Delicious yogurt as well, so I doubt that’s the issue. I wonder if maybe it was braided too tightly? I’ve found that leaving extra space between the braids to give the dough more room to rise does allow it to become softer and rise even more. Maybe that’s it? Let me know next time!
          ~jules

  4. Absolutely amazing! I found this recipe a few days ago, and made this for the first time today for Rosh Hashanah, and I am so beyond excited and grateful.. This recipe makes a challah that is springy and light and moist- something I had given up on finding after making so many over the past 7 years that just turned out so dense. I made a “taster” challah to test before the holiday and my whole family loved it and could not believe that it was gluten free. They asked me to make this every week- even though they can eat regular gluteny challah.. Thank you so so much!!

    • I’m thrilled to hear that, Rachel!!! There’s nothing like having a recipe as important as challah turn out so well that the gluten eaters are loving it too. I wish you the sweetest of holidays!
      ~jules

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  6. The Hamotzi blessing for Shabbat challah requires more than half the flour to be one of the 5 grains. For gluten free challah, only oat flour fits that definition. The challah is upposed to be a showbread. So a braided challah is a challenge. Needing one, I created a braided gluten free challah recipe,
    but it is not fluffy enough yet. Today I thought of trying soda water, and dairy free buttermilk, and beating eggs and whites separately.

  7. This didn’t work for me. It was so wet, I couldn’t mold it into anything. Can you please share (i) what attachment you use in the stand mixer, (ii) how long you mix the ingredients.

    A video of how you make this would be super helpful.

    • Hi Kate – my first question is whether or not you used my gfJules Flour. It works so differently than other gluten free flour blends that I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were off using another blend. One of the main differences is that my gfJules Flour provides “stretch” to doughs like this, allowing it to be braided, where other gluten free flours would fall apart.
      Otherwise, were any other ingredient substitutions made?
      As for my stand mixer, I almost always use the paddle attachment. The dough hook doesn’t seem to work well with gluten free doughs because we just want to get it thoroughly mixed and don’t want to “knead” the dough for too long (no gluten in the dough to “exercise” by kneading).
      This dough should be somewhat sticky, but not too wet that you can’t knead it and if rolled lightly in more of my gfJules Flour, it won’t be too sticky to work with.
      Let me know a bit more information and we’ll go from there. I want to help you get this recipe right – it’s so delicious!
      ~jules

  8. I have tried this recipe twice. Both times I was able to braid it, but the braids came apart at the ends and cracked in other places. I did not make any substitutions. Any ideas of why this is happening?

    • Hi Lisa, I would add a bit more liquid next time you make them, so that the dough is less tight and will allow for more rising without cracking. Also, wet the ends really well when you press them together; if they have a lot of flour on the ends, they won’t still together. One other thing: make sure you’re not setting it somewhere too warm for it to rise — that can make the dough rise too quickly which can cause some cracks, too.
      Let me know how that goes!
      ~jules

  9. This is a great recipe. When my 3rd graders class studied the old testament they would do Friday shabat and the gluten free students would follow me around asking if i made the gf challah!

    Could you give some advice as to the best way to store this and GF baked goods in general? I know the shelf life is limited, but curious if there are any good tricks to keeping stuff fresh.

    • Hi Laurie, I’m so glad you’re loving this recipe! When made with my gfJules Flour, baked goods like this stay fresh longer. I find that keeping the loaf intact (not slicing it unless serving) and putting it in a zip-top bag with the air squeezed out, the challah stays fresh for several days. If we have any left over after about 4 days, I usually make the best French Toast you’ve ever tasted with it! Be sure not to refrigerate any baked goods, as that will make them dry. Happy baking!
      ~jules

  10. 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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  13. 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