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Yom Tov Challah closeup bw

How can one wish another a sweet new year without having tasted anything sweet, and what would a Yom Tov be without a yom tov challah?

Having to eat gluten-free presents an especially marked challenge during holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, when lots of sweet baked goods are consumed. Even challah is supposed to be sweet and “doctored up” with raisins. I have been using a basic gluten-free challah recipe for our Shabbat meals for a while now. Thankfully, I didn’t have to develop that one myself as the fellow blogger from Gluten Free In The Greens had already done the hard work and posted the recipe online for others to use. However, I couldn’t find a decent holiday challah recipe anywhere. In addition, holiday challah is supposed to be round (as opposed to loaf type one used every Shabbat), which meant I could not use my special “braided” challah pan to bake it in. It was time to experiment…

Thankfully, I found a copy of Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene in my library, and of course, it contained a recipe for Yom Tov Challah among other delicious things. So, I combined the gluten-free basic challah recipe with Ms. Green’s challah recipe, and voila! Gluten-free Yom Tov Challah was born.

Yom Tov Challah closeup

Here is what you will need:

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp potato flakes
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup oil (plus some extra to grease the pan)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 medium eggs (plus 1 extra for topping)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp anise seeds
  • 2 Tbsp organic sugar or sucanat
  • round baking pan (I used a spring form pan)

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. While the oven is getting heated, sift together the flours, xanthan gum, and salt, then add yeast and mix well. Dissolve potato flakes in warm water. Add eggs, oil, honey, raisins, and dissolved potato flakes to the flour mixture, and mix in a mixer or food processor for 2-3 minutes on medium speed, until batter resembles the texture of pudding. Turn batter out into a greased round pan, place in the oven, and turn the oven off. Let rise for 30-35 minutes.

In the meantime, mix sesame seeds, anise seeds, and sucanat in a small bowl, and whisk the remaining egg lightly in a separate bowl. Spread the egg on top of challah and sprinkle with the topping mixture. Return to oven, turn the heat up to 350 degrees, and bake for approximately 50 minutes (baking time would vary depending on the oven). Let cool slightly before taking out of the pan.

Challah can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature, and tastes wonderful dipped in honey.

Yom Tov Challah

Yom Tov, and may your new year be sweet! L’Shana Tova!