According to Michele Turcotte, a registered, licensed dietitian, spelt “is richer in many nutrients, such as protein and minerals” compared to wheat flour. I thought I would try to make a slightly more nutritious version of challah using this Homemade Spelt Challah recipe graciously given by Rebbetzin Shula Begun. I made this for a large shabbat dinner and got rave reviews!
This recipe makes 5 big challahs or 7-8 smaller challahs. Make sure to use a VERY LARGE pot to put the challah dough in because it will rise like CRAZY (don’t make the same mistake I did below).
- 1 packet of dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1 cup of honey
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 5 cups warm water
- 1 bag of 5 lb white spelt flour + 1 cup (add more flour if needed, I used whole wheat flour since I didn’t have extra spelt flour for this extra one cup)
- Topping ideas: Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joes or Za’atar
- Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey with the yeast and the water
- Let it sit for about 20 minutes until the yeast bubbles.
- Add the eggs, oil, remaining honey, salt and mix. Then slowly add the spelt flour, mix it well, cover and let it rise for 2-3 hours (cover with a clean towel). Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, knead for a bit and add flour to keep the dough from feeling too sticky.
- Shape the challah (see notes below for braiding instructions). Make sure when you are shaping challah that you have flour on your hands so dough doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Let challah braid rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (cover again with clean towel towel)
- Place braided challah on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure not to put challahs close together because they will rise and stick to each other!
- Let challah rise again for about 40 minutes. Whisk egg and lightly brush it over challahs. (You might need more than one egg for this egg coating). Put any toppings you like (I used Everything But the Bagel Seasoning)! Bake at 350 F for about 45-60 minutes
- Best served warm with butter. Enjoy!
- Braiding: Check this website by Tori Avey for clear tutorial for how to do 3 strand, 4 strand and 6 strand challah braids. If you are impatient to learn a tutorial, just take three equal strands, pinch them at the top, and do a regular braid like you would do with hair (this is a three stranded braid).
- Check this website from Hadassah Magazine for challah tips, tricks and troubleshooting.