Whole Wheat Challah That’s Better Than Cake

Everyone knows you didn’t actually go to seminary unless you come back knowing how to bake a decent challah. It’s just one of those accepted, basic truths- the same way you know the difference between appropriate and “frummy” or overused and classic.

Besides for the actual mitzvah Jewish women have to bake challah, making challah is a great bonding activity for you and your roommates that will leave your apartment smelling delicious. Plus, who can ever say no to food? (#sem70 #jokes).

While the rest of TVA made challah this past Thursday night in preparation for our in-Shabbat, I decided that it would be a good idea to make a batch of whole wheat dough to prevent myself from falling into the trap of devouring an entire white-flour, refined-sugar, multicolor sprinkled challah that Friday night which was totally where I would have been headed. (Spoiler alert: my plan worked 🙂 )

I modified a simple recipe and came up with this cinnamon-peanut butter-chocolate chip excuse for a whole wheat challah that’s basically a reason to eat (guilt free) dessert early…what could be bad about that?

This challah would also make a delicious (and healthy!) gift for a host for Shabbat (who, may I add, might be a little sick of Marzipan by now) so why not try it out?

Whole Wheat Challah Rolls
Whole Wheat Challah Rolls

My recipe is posted below.

With these measurements I was able to make three larger challahs, one very small challah, and two rolls. If you wish to make more, feel free to double/triple the recipe.

Keep in mind that in order to do hafrashat challah you need to use at least a five pound bag of flour, which is MORE than what is listed in my ingredient list below.

Whole Wheat Challah

A. Ingredients:

a. Dough

  • 2 packets of active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8-9 cups whole wheat flour

b. During/After Braiding

  • One Egg
  • Water
  • Cinnamon
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • 65% Cacao Chocolate Chips
  • Sea Salt/Himalayan Pink Salt

B. Directions:

  • Pour the yeast packets and warm water into a large bowl. Cover with a dish towel and place in a warm area for 10-15 minutes. The mixture should get foamy.
  • Add the honey, maple syrup, olive oil, vanilla, eggs and salt. After all of that is mixed together, slowly mix in the flour, cup by cup. As you add more flour it will get more difficult to mix and you may prefer to knead the dough with your hands. Knead the dough until it’s smooth.
  • Once the dough is kneaded thoroughly, cover the bowl with a dish towel, and place somewhere warm. Allow the dough to rise for at least two hours.
    *Note – keep in mind that whole wheat dough is much denser than dough made with white flour, and it will not rise as high.
  • After two hours, punch down the dough, separate it and braid it. Before you braid, you can knead some cinnamon and peanut butter into each strand and roll in some dark chocolate chips if you’d like.
  • After you’ve braided all the dough, make an egg wash to brush over the challahs. Do this by thoroughly mixing an egg with a touch of water and (very little!) maple syrup. Afterwards, sprinkle a dash of sea salt/himalayan pink salt over the challahs.
  • Bake the challahs at 350 degrees Farenheit (180 Celcius) for about a half hour. Rolls will need a little less time – about 20-25 minutes. Challahs will be golden brown when ready.

Whole Wheat Challah

Enjoy your Challahs and more importantly your Shabbat! And congratulations on being able to now call yourself an official sem girl 🙂

Post pictures of your challahs in the comments below or send to my email denagersh@yahoo.com so I can see how they turned out!

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