Gluten-free, dairy free Challah Rolls
Many years ago, before I went gluten free, I made a challah recipe from a booklet which I had purchased in a health food store in my home town Freiburg in the 1980s.
It was a collection of bread recipes from all over the world, gathered in the early days of the health food movement in the 1970s by visitors from all countries in Sherborne House, Gloucestershire (England).
Gone are the days of this kind of booklets in organic food stores, and gone are the days of careless gluten baking for me ...
But talking to a very dear Jewish friend, I suddenly was overcome by the desire to make some kind of challah. A festive, dairy free bread for Shabbat and Holidays, something special outside of the everyday bread baking, for Jewish people as well as everybody else.
My first idea was to create a braided loaf, the typical beautiful challah.
But let's face it, gluten free dough which can be braided usually ends up pretty sturdy and dense. Or flat. Or both.
I know that is no requirement, but I aimed for something airy, soft, a bit fluffy, without using weird ingredients which normally are not really meant for eating.
Also I wanted to include at least one of the traditional grains, which would be oat, the only option for gluten free. Of course you have to be sure that you can tolerate gluten free oats!
If you don't, you can replace the oat flour easily with buckwheat or yellow corn flour or sorghum flour.
So, if you use oat flour, a loaf that can be braided most probably will end up flat and dense.
There is the option to use a braided loaf pan, which makes beautiful bread, but since I don't own one, I decided to make individual bread rolls using a muffin tin.
Yes, yes, they're not particularly pretty, but I can assure you that they taste particularly yummy! Plus they are made really quickly.
Besides using oat flour, I also used toasted soy flour. In Germany, you can get this in health food stores. In other countries you might have to look for kinako, which can be found in Japanese food stores or online. It is a very fine flour milled from roasted soy beans, with a pleasant nutty flavour.
If you cannot find that, you could use chickpea flour or some neutral plant protein powder. But I strongly recommend looking for the toasted soy flour, it lends a unique flavour to the bread and has a lot of health properties.
For the flax seeds, I used golden flax seeds. If you don't find those, you can also use brown flax seeds. I only use the golden ones for an evenly golden colour of the bread.
There are loaf pans for individual braided challah rolls available. You can use those instead of an ordinary muffin tin. Since they seem to be larger, I suppose the recipe would make about 8 of those braided challah rolls (educated guess!). In any case, don't fill your individual tins more than 2/3.
Also don't use burger pans, because they are not high enough. You want a tin which keeps the bread in shape until it is firm.
So, let's get started!
Ingredients for 12 regular size muffins:
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup toasted soy flour (kinako)
1/2 cup fine white rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup flax golden flax seeds (it's more than 1/2 cup after grinding, so measure before grinding!)
3 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tbsp. psyllium husks
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. honey or sugar
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups luke warm water
20 g fresh yeast or 1 pckg. dry yeast
Grease muffin tins, if not using any kind of silicone mold.
In a large bowl, stir 1 tsp. sugar or honey into the water, add the yeast and let stand while you assemble the dry ingredients.
Grind the flax seeds as finely as possible and combine with all the other dry ingredients from oats to salt.
The dissolved yeast should be slightly bubbly by now. Add olive oil, eggs and honey and beat with an electric beater until foamy (that happens very quickly).
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, beat with the dough hooks until the batter is smooth (about 2 minutes).
Fill each muffin mold 2/3 with batter, then smooth the tops with a wet spoon so that they are slightly rounded.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 25 minutes. They should rise to about 3/4 inch above the rim of the mold. If they rise more, they might collaps.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) fan assisted (convection oven). If you have a static oven, slightly increase the temperature (190-200°C or 370-390° F).
Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove the rolls from the tin and bake without tin for another 5-10 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy! These can be eaten slightly warm, too. They are soft, slice well and freeze well. And they don't get dry after 24 hours, but I'd still recommend freezing any rolls which you don't eat within 24 hours of baking.