We need a healthier challah! Egg replacer is used to bind. Yeast and baking soda give a perfect rise. A minimal amount of sugar provides just the right amount of sweetness. Finally, the recipe is oil-free and uses a surprising mixture of coconut milk and potato puree to give a moist crumb.
I invented this by accident while recipe testing - I wanted to use apple puree but it was 5am and I only had a potato. I tried it and it works! It hits all the Challah taste and appearance boxes: smells like Challah, tastes like challah and pulls apart like challah. Best of all, it is healthier for our bodies and our planet.
Make the potato puree by peeling and dicing a medium potato and boiling it for 12 minutes. Mash with a fork and set aside to cool.
Prove the yeast: place yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in 120ml warm (not hot) water. Mix and leave to sit for about 10 minutes until foamy.
In a separate prep bowl, combine coconut milk, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside.
In another prep bowl, combine egg replacer with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside for at least 1 minute.
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast, coconut milk, egg replacer and the potato puree mixtures to the dry ingredients in the large bread bowl. Combine well, using clean hands, until a sticky dough forms.
Tip the dough onto a clean floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Add flour sparingly as needed.
Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Gently push the air out of the dough and divide into strands - two for a round challah and three for a braid. It is worth using a kitchen scale to make sure you have equal parts.
For a two-strand round challah: roll each strand into a long cylinder and twist them round each other to form a double helix shape. On an oiled baking sheet, arrange the dough twist into a spiral shape. Tuck the end pieces under.
For a three-strand challah braid: lay the strands side-by-side and pinch together at the top end. Braid and pinch to finish the end. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover the challah with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C).
Optional step: brush sparingly with a maple syrup wash. The aim is to add shine - too much will make your bread soggy.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until bread is golden brown.
Chewy: add 1 cup of chopped raisins or cranberries when combining wet and dry ingredients.
Baked starch: use baked sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree to sweeten and give a yellow hue.
Apricot Jam: In shaping your dough, roll it into two long thin rectangles and spread with 60ml of apricot jam and 2 tablespoons of applesauce. Roll each into a cylinder (like a Swiss roll) and then twist them together into a double helix shape.
Recipe adapted from Beyond Chopped Liver: 59 Jewish Recipes Get A Vegan Makeover