Gluten-Free Challah






Makes 1 large challah, Served 4-6




Makes 1 large challah, Served 4-6

This gluten-free challah is an ideal alternative to its wheat-based counterparts, offering the same softness and tenderness. Unlike many gluten-free bread doughs that can be difficult to shape, proofing the dough in the fridge allows it to be easily formed into strands and braided to your liking. The addition of Ivory Teff flour lends a nutty, complex flavor, while eggs contribute to the classic springy texture of traditional challah.

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To a medium bowl, add the Ivory teff flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, oat flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk together and reserve.

To a stand-mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment (or to the bottom of a large mixing bowl if making by hand), add the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Whisk and let the yeast activate for 3-5 minutes, or until foamy. If the yeast does not become bubbly and foamy, start over and make sure your water is not too hot or too cold, and that your yeast is fresh.

Once the yeast is activated, add the psyllium husk powder. Whisk it into the liquid, and let it set for 2-3 minutes – it will turn into a thick gel-like consistency.

To the bowl, add the egg, egg yolks, and oil. Add the teff flour mixture, then turn the mixer on to its lowest setting (if making by hand, begin to combine the dough with a wooden spoon). Allow the dough to come together for 2-3 minutes; it should be quite sticky. If the dough is too dry and not forming into a batter, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water, 1 Tablespoon at a time and continue to mix.

Turn the mixer on medium-low, and knead the dough 5-6 minutes. It will become lighter in color and stickier as it is kneaded. (If making by hand, you can continue mixing with a spoon or by hand, just know the dough will be quite sticky).

Using a flexible bench scraper or rubber spatula, transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to a lightly oiled 8-quart container or large mixing bowl for proofing. Alternatively, you can opt to proof the dough in the bowl of the stand mixer by first removing the dough, adding oil to the bowl, and then returning the dough. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator to proof and ferment overnight, or for at least 6 hours. This gluten-free dough benefits from being well-chilled, allowing for a long, consistent rise in the fridge.

Once the dough is proofed in the fridge, transfer it onto a clean surface. Lightly dust the work surface and the dough with tapioca starch (be careful not to add too much onto the dough), and then press the dough down to pop out all air bubbles.

Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, then divide it into 3 equal pieces lengthwise for a 3-strand braid. Gently shape each piece of dough into a 14-16” strand by rolling it from the center out towards the edges to stretch it. Since gluten-free dough can be delicate, if you encounter any small holes or tears, simply pinch the dough together to reseal it. Once you have formed three strands of dough, braid them together to form a loaf. Pinch the top and bottom ends of the loaf so the strands come together.

Place the challah onto a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the challah with the egg wash, then lightly cover with a large bowl and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes or until noticeably puffed up (about a third larger than at the start).

At least 15 minutes before it’s done rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Once it’s risen, bake on the center rack for 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Test for doneness by sticking a cake tester or thin skewer into the center, it should come out clean with no crumbs.

Transfer the challah to a baking rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Gluten-free challah is best served the same day it’s baked. To make ahead, you can freeze it once it’s cooled, and defrost and reheat it in a 350°F oven when ready to serve.


For the Challah

1 cup (135 g) Ivory Teff flour

1 cup (150 g ) potato starch

1 cup (120 g) tapioca flour/starch

½ cup (55 g) oat flour

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

1 cup (240 ml) warm water, about 110°F

¼ (50 g) cup sugar

2 Tablespoons (15 g) psyllium husk powder

2¼ teaspoons (1 packet/ 7 g) active dry yeast

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

¼ cup (50 g) oil (avocado, sunflower, olive, or your preferred light oil)

For the egg wash:

1 large egg + 1 teaspoon of water, beaten together

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