The joy of baking challah is something I've mostly given up since celiac entered our lives, because messing around with all that flour is not a great idea. There is the GF challah recipe I posted on Rosh Hashana. However, it's complicated and the results, while decent, are not quite satisfying enough. Then this week I saw that Cup4Cup flour (the new flour I mentioned in a recent post) published a recipe for bagels that looked really easy and convincing. I gave it a try and was pretty happy with the results. I therefore decided that it was time to put this flour to the ultimate test: would it really work when used, cup for cup, instead of regular flour, in a regular recipe, for bread?!?
Most gluten free flours would fail this test outright. However, C4C actually did pretty well. The challah you see in the picture is, in fact, entirely gluten free. The dough behaved almost exactly like gluteny dough and was easy to work with. The result is not quite as fluffy and wonderful as regular fresh challah, but it's pretty darn close as a substitute! Overall, C4C deserves outstanding marks as a GF flour that really works.
So here is the Challah recipe, in it's regular, non-GF version, which can also be made GF using Cup4Cup flour.NOTE that the recipe does require quite a long rising and baking time, so don't make this at the last minute.
Ingredients (for one large challah loaf):
- 1.25 cup warm water
- 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 egg + extra for eggwash
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour (or GF Cup4Cup flour) + extra for flouring
1. Pour the warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the honey, oil, egg and salt. Mix well. Gradually add in the flour, mixing as you go along (you can also use a mixer with dough hook for this). When the flour is incorporated, knead until you get a smooth dough that no longer feels sticky (if you are making the GF version, there's not much point in a lot of kneading, since there is no gluten to develop. Just knead it a bit until it feels like a cohesive dough that isn't too sticky). Cover the bowl with a clean damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1.5 hours.
2. Punch down the risen dough and put on a floured surface (for GF dough you may need a bit more flour, if it feels a bit stick). Knead the dough for about five minutes (again, if you are using GF, just knead it a bit until it is easy to work with). Divide the dough into three equal parts, shape each part into a long snake, attach the three snakes at one end and then braid them. Oil a baking tin or cover it with parchment paper, and put the challah on the tin. if your challah looks a bit bumpy - which can happen especially with the GF dough, moisten your hands a bit with water and gently rub the challah with moistened hands to smooth it up a bit. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for another hour.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F/180 C. Brush the challah with egg. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the challah is golden-brown and makes a hollow sound when you knock on the bottom of it.