Happy New Year to our Jewish friends. Rosh Hashanah is the new year of people and animals. This year, have a vegan celebration!
On today’s Meatless Monday we are sharing a recipe for almost-vegan challah bread (contains honey), raisins optional!
Almost-Vegan Challah Source: “The Jewish Vegetarian Year Cookbook,” by Roberta Kalechofsky and Rosa Rasiel Yield: 2 loaves
2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons flaxseed
3/4 cup water
6 to 9 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
3 ounces vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Raisins (optional, but include for Rosh Hashanah challah)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. Use a thermometer, if possible. Otherwise, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup cold water. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and allow the yeast to work for about 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
Place flaxseeds and water in a blender and blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Or grind the seeds in a spice mill or coffee grinder; place ground seeds and water in bowl of food processor and beat to desired consistency.
Place 6 cups of flour, salt, remaining sugar and raisins (if using) in a large bowl. Add flaxseed mixture, oil, honey, and yeast. Mix until dough forms, adding more flour if needed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flour your hands, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary until the dough no longer sticks to the board or your hands.
Oil a deep bowl. Put the dough in it, turning to grease it on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap, and allow it to ruse for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and allow to rise a second time. Punch down again and knead briefly. Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut dough in half. Cover one half while you shape the first loaf.
I am omitting braiding instructions because there are many excellent braiding suggestions in the archives, and at least one of them ought to match this recipe’s suggestion, which is for a standard three strand braid.
Place both shaped loaves on oiled baking sheet. Cover and allow loaves to rise again.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
For a crisp crust, brush loaves with cold water before placing in oven. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. The usual criterion for doneness is that the loaf sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles, or you may insert a thermometer in the crease on the bottom of the bread. It should register 200°F.