Gluten Free Challah, or the-most-beautiful-braided-bread-ever, or egg bread or Hanukkah Bread, or even Easter Bread … whatever you call it and for whatever occasion you bake it, it’s a true treat, with or without apples and raisins.
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 …
Others bake it into crown shapes or even bake off in muffin or popover tins for individual rolls.
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.
Mix your dough then transfer it to your bench or clean counter dusted with gfJules gluten free flour to keep it from sticking.
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.
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.
Brush with egg wash before rising and baking.
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.
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.
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!
The dough will be unlike any gluten free dough you’ve worked with before — soft and pliable, not at all brittle. Make sure you follow my directions and ingredients exactly, so you can expect these same results.
The dough should not resist when you’re working with it, but it shouldn’t be super wet either. You’ll get the hang of it after working with it.
You’ll be making beautiful gluten- and dairy-free challah that will have everyone marveling at your baking prowess! And it’s not just pretty to look at — it’s a wonderful bread to tear apart and enjoy in any setting and with any meal, or on its own.
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!
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 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 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
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 large egg, mixed with 1 Tbs. water
- poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, diced apples or other toppings (optional)
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.
*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.
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.
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!
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