Monday, August 31, 2015

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Challah

So, this is the challenge: create a bread that is moist, tender, flavorful, mildly sweet, & pulls apart into tasty layers when you tear it. But, it doesn't have eggs, butter, milk or oil. Oh, and did I mention that it should be super-easy to make?

Well, some friends recently asked me if I knew of a recipe that would do just that. I didn't. So, I did some online research for them. I couldn't find anything that was JUST right.

I always make bread by the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method  (and, I think EVERYONE should own their book!). I sought to use that method, but vary it so that it would be Vegan and Oil Free, and, of course, delectable. I also found a festive loaf recipe by Bryanna Clark Grogan, but it wasn't JUST what I was looking for - and it was a old fashioned recipe requiring kneading. So, I took those two ideas and ran with them.

I set about experimenting to create just the perfect recipe. It took a lot of tweaking, but the more I played with the idea, the more great variations I ended up with. Challah, Tsoureki, Crescent Rolls, Brioche a Tete, Greek Olive Rolls, Dinner Rolls . . . . and the variations are still being created. I hope to feature many of these recipes in the months to come.

The use of Tapioca Starch, Potato, and Sugar tenderizes & moisturizes the dough, and make a moist, tender, fluffy loaf without the use of oil or eggs. 

I'm featuring Challah today, because it is a very good "Basic" recipe from which the other variations can be made. And, it's pretty. And, well, this is the season for it! : )

It is SOOO easy to make - and produces such spectacular results! This recipe produces 2 loaves, 2 pounds each. (You could also make 4 small one pound loaves if you so desire)

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Challah **** (Scroll Down for Smaller Batch)
Measure into a 6 quart container*, in this order
3 Cups Warm Water (baby bath water temperature. If in doubt, make it too cool rather than too warm)
5 1/4 Cups Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch (I get this cheap at the Asian Ethnic Market) (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1 Cup Potato Flakes (yes, that's right, the stuff people use to make Instant Mashed Potatoes)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1 Tablespoon Salt
Stir well with a spoon till no patches of dry Flour remain.

The dough should look like this right after you stir it.

Cover loosely with lid (don't fasten so securely that it cannot "breathe")
Leave it on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.
Now, put it in the fridge till you're ready to use it **

The dough should look like this after it has sat out on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.

Note - do not "Punch Down" this kind of dough. 

When you're ready to bake the bread, remove it from the refrigerator and dust it VERY WELL with Flour. This is a moist, sticky dough, so don't be afraid to use lots of Flour!

Oil your pan (I use a Perforated, Non-stick Pizza Pan, like this one for baking)

 Gently Divide the dough in half, and divide one half into three pieces. Pull each piece into a long rope & dust with flour again. Lay the strands side by side, and braid them. It works best if you start at the middle and braid toward the end. If you've never braided bread before, this is a great tutorial post - but because of its lower gluten content, you may find this dough a little easier to form into ropes that the bread in the tutorial.

Shape another loaf with the second half of the dough if desired***, or return the remaining dough to the refrigerator to use later. This dough CAN be kept in the fridge for a week or more and still be quite good to use, but with this particular dough, you'll find the fluffiest, sweetest results if you bake it within a day or two of mixing.

Leave to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake in the middle of the oven, without steam for 35-40 minutes.

For best results, cool before serving.

Small Batch Easy, No Knead Vegan Challah
 (Makes 2 pounds of dough - for one large loaf or two small ones)
Follow above directions, but use these amounts
I prepare a batch this size in an 8 Cup Container - the one in the above pictures.
Be sure to add in this order:

1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
2 1/2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1/2 Cup Potato Flakes
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Tablespoon Salt

Stir well, then follow above directions - the same as for a large batch.

* For my 6 Quart Container, I use a new plastic shoe box from the Dollar Store.
** This dough CAN be used the day it is made - but it is a tad easier to shape after it is refrigerated.
*** If you bake two loaves at the same time, put one loaf on the middle rack, and one on the bottom rack. Then, set a timer to switch their positions half-way through baking, so that they brown evenly both on the top and on the bottom.

Nutritional Information
This is the nutritional info I calculated on Sparkpeople
Nutrition Facts per pound- with 1 batch making 2 pounds
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 706.1
  • Total Fat 2.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
  • Cholesterol 1.1 mg
  • Sodium 1,834.1 mg
  • Potassium 291.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 155.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
  • Sugars 25.9 g
  • Protein 16.9 g
 23 WW Smart Points per Pound calculated on EasyCalculation

This Post was featured on

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  1. I'll have to try this! I wonder what a replacement for Tapioca Starch would be in case I can't find it ????

    1. I'm not 100% sure it would work in THIS recipe, but corn starch often subs nicely for tapioca starch (a simple 1 to 1 ratio). Let me know if it works for you! : )

  2. I think I will try this with a whole grain flour. Believe it or not, I have been looking for a bread recipe that uses potato flakes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Kathy! I've tried this with Whole Wheat Flour already (I think it was White Whole Wheat - but I'm not absolutely sure). It doesn't produce a Whole Wheat Challah - but it does make a nice sandwich loaf. Still heavy & whole-wheaty - not soft like white bread - but probably my favorite home made Whole Wheat loaf. I hope to share that one in months to come. I'd love to hear any experiences you have with various additions or changes that you feel make a whole wheat version better! : )

      So glad you like the addition of Potato Flakes! : )

  3. Hi Anna,
    You truly outdid yourself with this delectable recipe. I love the fact that this is relatively easy to make. I am so delighted that you shared your healthy and delicious Easy, No Knead, Vegan Challah with us at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up. I'm pinning and sharing.

    1. Thank you so much! I always appreciate your great blog parties, as well as your sweet comments & sharing : )


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