Gluten Free Challah with Apples & Raisins

gluten free challah loaves 2021

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, with or without apples and raisins.

gfJules Gluten Free Challah
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

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!

Just gather your ingredients … make sure the liquids are at room temperature.

gluten free challah ingredients
Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

Mix your dough then transfer it to your bench or clean counter dusted with gfJules gluten free flour to keep it from sticking.

gluten free challah dough step 1
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

Then divide it into balls — 6 equal balls for 2 loaves with 3 strands each. Then channel your inner child and hearken back to your playdough days. This is where it gets fun! Start rolling, not pressing, but gently rolling out each ball into long strands of dough that can be braided. Watch my video below for more instructional detail.

gluten free challah dough step 2
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

Each strand will then be braided and finished at each end by scoring with a fork, wetted with a finger dipped in water and then pressed gently to seal together and smoothed.

gluten free challah dough step 3
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

Brush with egg wash before rising and baking.

final step gluten free challah dough
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

If you like, you can also add raisins and apples once the braid is finished and transferred to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Allow the bread dough to rise for 20 minutes, brush with another egg wash or spritz lightly with water, then bake OR cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to bake the next day.

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!

NOTE: don’t allow the gluten free challah to rise even more the next day, or you’ll lose some of the definition in the braids. It still tastes delicious, of course, but wasn’t quite as pretty because it rose TOO much and actually ended up being flatter than if it had been popped into the oven with just the right amount of rise.

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!

sliced gluten free challah
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

 

See how flexible this dough is in this quick time lapse how-to video on braiding 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!

To recap: 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 challahIt is truly one of the most gorgeous and delicious breads you can make and bring to share for any occasion, so why wait?

gluten free challah at a holiday party!
gluten free challah at a holiday party!
Yield: 2 large loaves

Gluten Free Challah with Apples and Raisins

gfJules Gluten Free Challah

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!

Prep Time 55 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Gluten Free Challah Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package gluten free yeast (Red Star® - NOT platinum - or Fleishmann's)
  • 1 tsp. granulated cane sugar
  • 1 cup dairy or non-dairy yogurt, room temperature (So Delicious® Vanilla Coconut Yogurt* - (I like vanilla flavor, but plain is fine)
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 5 large egg yolks at room temperature (slightly mixed)**
  • 1/3 cup safflower oil OR sunflower oil OR non-GMO canola oil OR other mild oil
  • 4 Tbs. honey OR agave nectar OR maple syrup
  • 4 cups (540 grams) gfJules All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 Tbs. psyllium husk (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
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Toppings

  • 1 large egg, mixed with 1 Tbs. water
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, diced apples or other toppings (optional)

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 ~1/3 cup warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside. (If using quick rise/rapid rise yeast, you may simply add to dry ingredients instead, if you prefer.)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients (water, yogurt, cider vinegar, egg yolks, oil, honey) and mix until combined.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (gfJules Flour; remaining sugar; psyllium, salt, baking soda, baking powder).

If proofing yeast, 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 if needed 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 too stiff, add more warm water.

Mix 1-2 minutes more on medium speed to integrate any additional water and ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated. 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 (6 balls total). Roll each ball out into an 18-inch coil or log on a clean, flat surface dusted very lightly with gfJules All Purpose Flour.

Pinch together one end of each coil, scoring and wetting them slightly with water to help them join together at the top, then braid them, finishing by connecting them at the other end.

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 or more 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 or parchment sprayed with cooking oil) in a warm location for 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). A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out dry or with dry crumbs.

(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

*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 I would lean toward aquafaba or a combination that would include vegan mayo and commercial egg substitutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield

14

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 245Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 94mgSodium 365mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 2gSugar 15gProtein 5g

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.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment (and maybe even a picture!) below or share a photo on Instagram! Be sure to tag me! @gfJules

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!

How to make Gluten Free Challah | gfJules
Gluten Free Challah made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

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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  1. I am so excited to try this recipe. I have not used psyllium husk in baking. Should I use whole or powder psyllium husk? Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Hi. I’ve made this a couple of times, but I’m always confused about the water.
    Can you be more specific about the amounts of water?
    Is the 1/3 cup of water deleted from the 3/4 cup cup of water.
    Do I use what is left and then subtract 2 tsps if I skip psyllium?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Fran, yes, the 1/3 cup that you use to proof the yeast is FROM the 3/4 cup of water total. It can be 1/4 cup of water to proof and then add 1/2 cup later if that’s easier for you to measure. I usually measure 3/4 cup water and then pour off about 1/3 cup into another container to proof the yeast. If skipping the psyllium, then you’ll remove 2 Tbs. of water from the total of 3/4 cup unless you find that your dough is particularly tight and hard to work with; in those cases, more water is needed to loosen up the dough so that it can be rolled out into ropes. I hope that makes more sense! Enjoy the recipe!
      ~jules

      Reply
  3. This is honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever baked and I had horrible results. I had to use a different flour and it wouldn’t hold together. I wish I would have known that the flour suggested hads xanthum gum. I added so so much flour trying to get it to hold together until I figured out it needed xanthum gum. Wish it would have taught how to braid 6 ways. I only know how to do 3. I couldn’t find the video for how to braid. It kept falling apart as I tried to braid. I’m a bit hesitant to try again. I’m not a chef.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, I’m sorry to hear you had such a rough time of making this recipe, but it is quite flour-specific. I try to make all my recipes as simple as possible so no one needs to be a chef to make them (because honestly, not many of us are!), but when the ingredients don’t cooperate, there’s no helping the matter! Gluten free flours all have quite different properties and are not often interchangeable. In this kind of recipe, in particular, it’s essential that you use the blend specified (gfJules Flour), as it will hold the dough together and provide the stretch you need to allow braiding. I’m sorry that the videos weren’t working for you on how to braid, but I’ve linked one here for you to see on YouTube in case that platform works better for you.
      Don’t give up on great gluten free challah bread! I hope you can see from other readers’ photos and comments just how good this recipe can be if you use gfJules Flour instead of another brand!
      ~jules

      Reply
  4. This is the best GF Challah recipe I’ve tried. I make it as directed as well as a version that is egg free (using ener-g egg substitute)and add only honey instead of sugar.

    Reply
    • That is such great news, Christine! I’m thrilled you love this gluten free challah recipe, and really excited to hear you’ve had success making it egg-free and also sugar-free with these substitutes. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know and to share your vegan and sugar-free modifications!!!
      ~jules

      Reply
  5. I think the success of the recipe is contingent on using the same GF flour. Since I live in South Africa, I make my own flour and using the prescribed volumes made batter rather than a firm dough. I had to add heaps more flour making the dough crumbly. I’m waiting for it to rise, but suspect, this will be a dry crumbly loaf when cooked.

    Reply
    • Hi Kim, all gluten free flour blends are so very different, and without knowing anything about your homemade blend, it’s impossible to tell, but with your description it is likely that your suspicions are right. Check out this article on gluten free blends and perhaps it will help you to make another blend more suitable to this recipe. I will also note that you can order our flour to be delivered internationally, but shipping rates can be comparatively pricey on smaller shipments. I hope this helps!
      ~jules

      Reply
  6. I tried this recipe and it stayed raw in the middle! 20 minutes is not enough time and 350 degrees is too low as well! I added 10 minutes and picked up the oven by 5 degrees. . .still raw. I wonder what went wrong? Maybe you live at sea level and I’m at a higher altitude. . .El Paso, Tx. It probably needs to bake at 400 degrees. I was disappointed as all of it went into the trash can.

    Reply
  7. I tried cutting the challah recipe in half and the when mixing all the ingredients it was very liquid so I could not grab the dough? I does the recipe work if cut in half?
    The recipe says to add water if stiff but since I had the opposite problem (too loose) I keep adding flour but it is not sticking or getting to a workable dough, what else should I add? Thank you

    Reply
        • Does the recipe work when only making half of the amounts? What can I add if the mixture never seems to become workable and stays too runny? I used Jules GF all purpose flour and a spoon to scoop out the flour and measure 2 cups. I then tried adding more and more flour and it Never became workable. Thanks for your feedback, I really want this recipe to work

          Reply
          • HI Esther, out of curiosity, have you made this recipe as a full recipe yet? I’ve never halved it, so I can’t comment on whether it would be successful halved, but halving a yolk would be a bit tricky. 😉
            Also, yogurt is another variable, in addition to the flour measurement issue you and I already discussed. What kind of yogurt are you using? Is it particularly runny? Some yogurts are super thick, others are super thin; if yours is really runny, that would be another variable to consider.
            Another option for you would be to use a challah mold here. That would certainly eliminate the frustration factor if the dough was too wet for you to handle when you halved the recipe.
            ~jules

          • Here’s what they’ll look like when using the challah mold I linked to in my other comment — especially if they dough is particularly wet, smaller molds would be a good idea so the dough could bake all the way through really well.

  8. I tried your recipe and flour yesterday to make a braided challah. The results were very impressive, and my wife (who cannot eat gluten) was very happy. I’d like some advice on how to prevent/limit the cracking of the texture before/during baking. I followed the directions and braided after mixing, and then allowing 30 minutes to rise. The smooth exterior starts to break. Is it better to rise before braiding? Or do the refrigeration with plastic wrap help?? Or do I just need more moisture (e.g., water or yogurt)??? I think I’m on the path to the best gluten-free challah ever!

    Reply
      • Hi Sherida, so glad your gluten free challah tastes great- that’s the most important part!!!! See my note above to Alan about some other ideas to help the cracking. Happy baking!
        ~jules

        Reply
    • So excited for you and your wife, Alan!!! There’s nothing like having delicious challah back in your life.
      Regarding the cracking, I do think the refrigeration with plastic wrap does help somewhat and definitely err on the side of more, not less moisture in this recipe, but don’t go overboard. 🙂
      I’ve added a note about one thing I’ve been experimenting with lately that may be worth a try and I’ll share it with you here as well: try adding 1 Tbs psyllium husk + 2 Tbs water and to use regular yeast, not quick rise yeast. You may find that helps some, as well. Let me know how the experimenting goes!!
      ~jules

      Reply
  9. Thank you so much Jules for your wonderful flour mix and the great recipe. I used a silicone mold and the recipe made one large silicone mold. I also baked it at 325 for 30 minutes and then coated with egg wash and sesame seeds and put back in for 5 minutes. I may try to decrease the temp to decrease the browning! It’s amazing!

    Reply
    • FANTASIC, Brianne!! I’m so excited to hear that! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know about the silicone mold and how long you baked it — that’s such helpful info!!! Thrilled you have great gluten free challah in your life!!!
      ~jules

      Reply
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