Maple-Glazed Vegan Water Challah (Pareve)

Maple-glazed vegan water challah (pareve) slices

The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rising Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
241 Calories
5g Fat
43g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 241
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 390mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 61mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Years ago, some people tended to shun eggs for fear they'd raise their cholesterol. Lots of kosher bakeries turned out so-called "water challahs" to cater to the egg abstainers. Some people still do avoid eggs, but as nutrition science advanced, the egg was vindicated, and for many, the water challah was forgotten. 

It seems blasphemous to make egg bread (another name for challah) without eggs, but if you're out of eggs or vegan, this recipe produces a spectacular and delicious result. We have provided two methods of making this challah bread, one using the mixer and the other using a bread machine.

The dough rises beautifully and is easy to work with. Crusty, chewy, and a bit sweet, this recipe will become your go-to challah—even though there probably won't be any leftovers for French toast.

Ingredients

For the Challah:

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

  • 6 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch for the yeast

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 1/4 cup oil, neutral-flavored such as grapeseed or canola, plus additional for oiling the bowl

  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

  • 2 teaspoons salt, kosher salt, or pink Himalayan sea salt

For the Glaze:

Steps to Make It

Hand or Stand Mixer Method

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for maple-glazed vegan water challah (pareve) recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  2. Place the warm water in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add a pinch of the sugar to the bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Set aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy. (If your yeast doesn't proof properly, discard the mixture and start again with fresh yeast.)

    Water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  3. With a hand whisk or the mixer's whisk attachment, mix in the sugar, oil, 2 cups of the flour, and salt.

    Loose dough in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  4. Switch to a sturdy wooden spoon or the mixer's dough hook, and add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition until a shaggy dough forms and begins to pull into a ball. (You might or might not need the last 1/2 cup of flour. If the dough is very wet or sticky, add it. If not, use some of it to dust your work surface.)

    Dough in a bowl with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With clean, floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 10 minutes.

    Dough ball on a floured surface

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  6. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes while you clean and dry the large mixing bowl.

    Dough ball on a floured surface, next to a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  7. Grease the inside of the bowl with a bit of oil.

    Greased bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  8. Place the challah dough in the bowl and turn to coat with the oil.

    Dough ball in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  9. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough has risen to at least double its bulk, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    Dough in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  10. Punch the dough down.

    Dough in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  11. Lightly grease 1 or 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

    Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  12. Shape or braid the dough as desired. (The recipe will make 1 large challah, 2 medium challahs, 1 medium challah plus 6 challah rolls, or 12 challah rolls.)

    Braided dough on a wooden surface

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  13. Place the shaped challah and/or rolls on the baking sheet(s) and cover with clean, dry tea towels. Allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Braided dough on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, covered with a towel

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  14. Heat the oven to 350 F. While the oven is heating, make the maple wash by whisking together the maple syrup and soy milk.

    Maple syrup and soy milk mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  15. Brush over the challah with a pastry brush.

    Braided dough on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, and maple glaze in a bowl with a brush

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  16. Bake the challah until the crust is a deep golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 to 35 minutes for a large challah, 20 to 25 minutes for a medium challah, and 15 to 20 minutes for rolls.

    Baked maple-glazed vegan water challah (pareve) on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

  17. Cool on a wire rack.

    Maple-glazed vegan water challah (pareve) on a cooling rack

    The Spruce Eats / Christine Ma

Bread Machine Challah

Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select "Dough Cycle." When the cycle ends, remove the dough from the machine. Shape as desired and transfer to prepared baking pans. Allow the challah to rise, covered lightly with a clean, slightly damp tea towel, for 30 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size. While the bread is rising, make the maple wash by whisking together the maple syrup and soy milk. Preheat oven to 350F. Brush the challah with the maple mixture. Bake in a heated oven until the crust is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 to 35 minutes for a large challah, 20 to 25 minutes for a medium challah, and 15 to 20 minutes for rolls. Cool on wire rack.

Recipe Variations

  • Top it with herbs such as fresh chopped rosemary, or some sesame seeds.
  • Mix in some raisins or cinnamon in the dough, or use both.

Tip

Make this in smaller loaves or rolls so you can freeze and save one (or more) for later use. This recipe makes 1 large challah, 2 medium challahs, 1 medium challah plus 6 challah rolls, or 12 challah rolls.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Although best eaten the day it is baked, this vegan challah bread will last for two to three days in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature. Do not place in the refrigerator as it will go stale quicker. It makes wonderful French toast.
  • Challah bread can be frozen for up to three months. Place it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze.