Gluten Free Challah

While I was prepared with our family photo card for an early Rosh Hashanah last week, I just didn’t have it in me to bake challah.  Preparing for Yom Kippur and Shabbat tonight though, I was inspired to bake.  I sent hubby out for some missing ingredients last night, measured everything, and baked this morning.  I had everything mixing while we were getting ready, the dough rose while I took the kids to school, and baked when I came home to finish getting ready for work. 

You may wonder why I don’t just go to Publix and buy a challah.  For many years I suffered from severe migraine headaches, and after having my kids, finally determined that gluten is my trigger.  I had just abstained from challah for a very long time, until I visited a college buddy of mine Labor Day weekend last year, who is also gluten free, and tasted her amazing gluten free challah.  It’s such a symbolic food, and also one that brings forth fond memories of sharing this food with family, over a lifetime.  I was thrilled to be able to partake of this tradition once again, and made it for our family’s Rosh Hashanah last year.  It was also thrilling to use the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer that we HAD to have when we got married (b/c everyone else gets one when they get married), but we hadn’t used up until now.

Without further adieu, here’s the recipe, and some photos of the process.  Instead of copying out the recipe here, I’ve included it as a photo, exactly as I got it from my friend, with some of my handwritten notes (as always, click on any of the photos, including this one, to enlarge).  Last year I killed the yeast, so this year there’s a photo of the frothy yeast (if it just looks like brown water with no foamy bubbles, you may have burned your yeast in too hot water too).  Last year I used coconut milk, which is thick and gives it a nice sweet taste.  This year it’s made with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, b/c that’s what we regularly have in the house.  Also, I use potato starch, b/c it’s what I have on hand.  The recipe is very forgiving.  You can't braid it because it's too sticky, but they do make challah shaped pans.

Starting at the top left, going left to right for each row, we have: 1. Ingredients 2. Recipe 3. Big one checking himself out in the mixing bowl and frothy yeasty honey water 4. Little one pouring in the milk 5. Boys ready to go to school after watching the challah mix vigorously on the dough hook 6. Back from school drop off, dough has risen (we made one large round, 2 small rounds, and 8 mini loafs) 7. Challahs going into the oven 8. Peeking on the challah with the oven light on, watching it rise 9. All done!

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