This recipe is adapted from this recipe for a Sephardic Rosh Hashanah challah. The pumpkin gives a really rich flavour as an egg replacer and also gives the bread a golden color.
Vegan Pumpkin Challah
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup warm water (not too hot to to
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (can be canned but not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup silken or soft tofu
soymilk for wash
– Mix the yeast, sugar and and warm water. Let the mixture stand for 10-20 minutes.
– Whisk the salt, oil, tofu, and pumpkin in a large mixing bowl or in a blender. Add the yeast mixture.
– Slowly stir in 2 cups of the flour then add the rest with your hands as you knead the dough. You might need slightly more less flour than is called for. The dough should come out smooth and stretchy without being too sticky to touch.
– Place the dough in a clean, oiled or floured bowl. Let it risk for 2-3 hours covered. I was told that the secret to good challah is letting it rise three times. Since I usually start my challah on Thursdays, I let let the dough rise overnight and during the day Friday in the fridge. Let it rise somewhere warmer if doing it over a shorter period of time.
– Punch the dough down on it has risen. Roll the challah into 6 or 3 equal sized ropes and braid.
There are a lot of resources online for 6 and 3 strand challah braiding. I am still working on the 6 strand and suggest starting with 3 strand for first-timers or for the less-coordinated (me).
– Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush the loaves with soymilk and bake for 40-45 minutes. You can brush with soymilk again halfway through baking if desired. The challah should be golden brown when done.