This is the only challah I will consider making! Spelt is my all time favorite flour.
It is no wonder the public often thinks there is no way to enjoy a delicious slice of spelt challah or bread: it often comes brick-heavy in stores. I have the modest hope of helping you change your mind. My spelt challah is light and delicious!
It’s not so much in the recipe, no matter how good:
It’s all in the kneading!
Read about my secrets of good whole grain bread: It’s all there! This kneading primer will make a pro out of you. Troubleshoot before you dive in. Pretty soon bread baking will become a pleasure for you!
Spelt is my flour of choice, not only for baking bread but for all baked goods. I use whole grain spelt flour. If you would rather use wheat flour, all-purpose will do, as well as whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flour is ground much finer than whole wheat “bread flour”. As a result, it yields a much lighter dough.
Kneading spelt dough is somewhat different from kneading the regular wheat dough you might be used to. The lower-gluten spelt dough behaves differently with the liquid absorption: it will be understandably slower. Be patient: Practice makes perfect!
No-Knead Spelt Challah Dough:
Before I let go of the subject: Does kneading intimidate you? Read all about my No-Knead Challah Recipe with a tried and true method!
I Urge you to Try Spelt!
Spelt is the ultimate wonder balking flour: why eliminate gluten if all you need to do is reduce it? Spelt is low in gluten, high in fiber, high in protein, high on flavor. The dream résumé, right? There is nothing I don’t do with it. And if a dark looking break bothers you, use white spelt flour: it is not bleached, heaven forbid; it is just sifted! Otherwise, go for the dark unsifted whole grain spelt
Wrap Challah Very Carefully!
This step is key! Loosely wrapped challah will reappear as mediocre challah. It tends to absorb unwanted and objectionable freezer odors. But when you wrap it very tightly and add accurate date, you will take it out fresh and smelling like you just baked it.
Variation on Spelt Challah
Scroll down for Rosh Hashanah Raisin Challah, and Challah rolls. All much easier to shape than you think. In general, for festive occasions, a larger challah is more dramatic, so be sure to always include a couple larger loaves beside the smaller rolls.
- 4 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup honey, sucanat or maple syrup
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 12 cups spelt flour, a little more only if needed
- 1 egg, beaten with 1/4 cup water
- Sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
Mix the yeast, water and honey or sugar in a big bowl, and let the mixture bubble for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, oil and salt, and beat. Add the flour, and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to a lightly-floured flat working surface, and knead for about 15 minutes, turning the dough a quarter of a turn every 2-3 minutes and punching it down often to eliminate any air pockets (or transfer the mixture to the bowl of a dough maker. Set for 10 minutes of kneading). Transfer the kneaded dough into a big mixing bowl (remember, it will expand). Sprinkle flour all around the dough. Let rise, covered with a cloth, in a warm draft-free area for 2 hours.
Shape the Challah:
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Divide each piece into thirds and roll each third into a long thin rope. Pinch the 3 ropes together at one end to hold them in place. Braid, and place the braid on a foil-covered cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place the loaves well apart in the pan (you might need more than a pan: Bake one at a time). Brush each loaf with the egg-and-water mixture, and top with seeds if desired. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Served on Rosh Hashanah. Add two cups of raisins to the dough, shape it into 4 round loaves (for each loaf, make a long thin rope, and roll it into a coil)
They need a shorter baking time. Check for doneness after 30 minutes.