Sunday, January 1, 2012


Happy 2012 to everyone!  Exactly one year ago, I spent a homey afternoon baking bread, one of my favorite ways to kick off a new year.  Today, I'm doing the exact same thing.  The question was what bread to bestow the honor upon this time around.

I've never made egg breads before, assuming that many eggs were called for, and it would be difficult to achieve the right texture or consistency with a vegan version.  I was quite surprised to discover this recipe for challah, then, calling for only 1 egg in the dough, and thought surely that deserved a try.  This is a "light" recipe for challah, so won't be as rich as other versions you may have baked or eaten, but it makes a fun project nonetheless.  The bread requires almost no hands on time (about 15 minutes on the front end), but do be prepared for several rounds of rising, and about a 4 hour project from start to finish.

  • 1/2 teaspoon vegan sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Ener-G eggs, divided
  • 3 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Cooking spray
1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the canola oil and 1 Ener-G egg, whisking until blended.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture, and beat at medium speed until blended.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Note: I was surprised that no extra flour was called for during the kneading process, since dough is usually wet and tacky and will stick to your hands.  However, sure enough, this dough was not sticky, and needed no extra flour during kneading.  What it does require is vigorous kneading effort, to achieve the elasticity you want in bread dough - by the end of kneading, it should feel like the soft flesh on the inside of your arm.  For a quick refresher on kneading, see this link.

3. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top is coated as well.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour, some place warm and free from drafts (such as a closed, unheated oven).

4. Punch the dough down and reshape into a ball.  Return to the bowl; cover and let rise for 1 hour.

5. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.  Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Working with 1 portion at a time (and keeping the remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying), shape into a 15-inch rope with a gentle pulling/rolling motion.  Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough.

6. Place the ropes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and pinch together at one end.  Braid the ropes, and pinch together at the other end to seal.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

7. Brush the dough evenly with the remaining Ener-G egg; bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes - the loaf should be browned and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Tonight I made the bread part of a cozy winter dinner with portobello mushroom soup and mashed potatoes.

Nutrition Info:
16 servings (1 slice), Calories 124 

Tasting Notes:
Well, this was hardly distinguishable from homemade white bread, only in a novel braided form.  I'm not sure if that's because this was a "light" recipe for challah, or because I didn't use real eggs, but a disappointment either way. Tasty, but not what I was hoping for, and better warm than at room temperature.  The interior had good flavor, and the bottom crust became quite crisp, with an almost goldfish-cracker taste to it.


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