If you are new to moving over to healthier grains, this is the challah recipe for you! Einkorn is an ancient grain and is actually lower in gluten than modern wheat and is much much better (read a great explanation here as to why einkorn is better). It is fabulously light and is very similar to white flour in its consistency. It really is not dense like whole wheat. I don’t know – all I know is that I love how this einkorn challah recipe turned out today!
I have started observing the Sabbath and so it happens I have taken to making challah every week. I should say I have been attempting to make challah again every week because what I have been making isn’t quite challah. Why? Because it wasn’t rising! I used to make the best challah…but had gotten out of practice! I was trying to get complicated and achieve success with making a sourdough challah but it really was not going the way I had hoped. I have enough ‘pets’ to feed every day what with my actual dog and my kefir. I ended up saying goodbye to my sourdough starter last week. Ok…I killed it. 🙁
Anyway it was a blessing because this week I went back to good old yeast to make my challah and it worked beautifully! I even came across my VERY FIRST challah recipe (which was on a paper I found cleaning out my office because I am now obsessed with this book and have been tidying everywhere!) that I always enjoyed that I used to make with white flour. I decided to try it today with my einkorn flour. I have to say – it was the lightest and airiest dough I have made in many years!
Ready to see it?
Einkorn Challah Recipe
This einkorn challah recipe makes 2 large challot. This recipe uses enough einkorn flour to make the official separating challah mitzvah blessing (7+ cups)! I actually used the entire box of the Einkorn Flour I buy here. If you want you can even make 4 medium challahs and freeze two for the following week. It is super easy to warm up a frozen challah and it tastes like it was just baked. This entire duration for making these is about 5 hours. I start early in the morning. Most of the time is inactive time but you do need to be nearby for various steps.
- 3 1/2 cups einkorn flour (I get mine here), plus…
- 4-6 more cups einkorn flour (reserve separately to use later in the recipe)
- 2 (1/4 oz) packages dry yeast (I used these)
- 3 pastured eggs + 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for the glaze)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- cinnamon or chia seeds or sesame seeds (optional for decorating)
Take 1 Tbsp of sugar and combine it with the warm water (you know you have the right temperature for the water when it is the same temperature as the inside of your wrist) and both yeast packets in a stand mixing bowl.
After the yeast has dissolved and it’s nice and foamy (about 5 minutes), add to it the raw honey, the olive oil and the 3 1/2 cups of einkorn flour. Mix with the dough hook about 100 turns.
Cover with a damp towel and let sit for about 20 minutes. It will become very airy and rise a bit in the bowl.
Add the eggs to the yeast and dough mixture in your stand mixing bowl.
Now add about 4 cups of einkorn flour to a separate bowl along with the salt and stir together. Slowly start mixing in the salt and einkorn flour mixture to your yeast mixture in your stand mixing bowl. The dough will start to become thick and form a ball around the dough hook. You will likely need to add a couple more cups for a total of 4-6 cups…maybe more. I used the entire box!
When the dough starts to pull away from the sides and it is still a little bit sticky, dump out onto a work surface and knead by hand for about 20 turns. Add additional flour to keep your hands from sticking. It should be manageable and not sticking to your hands but do not overwork it. Put the dough into a glass bowl and pour a bit of olive oil on it and turn it over so it is fully coated. Cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rise for 2 hours. I put it in my oven with the oven off.
The dough should double in size and when you press your thumb into it it should leave an indentation.
Now it is time to braid the challah. I love this simple challah making video showing you various ways to braid your challah. Kids are the best helpers to make lots of varieties! Practice really helps to perfect a method.
Place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Let the challot rise for about 20 minutes.
Beat the egg white with a little bit of water and use a pasty brush to glaze the challot. You can now sprinkle with sesame seeds, chia seeds and cinnamon if you wish or just leave it plain.
Put the baking sheets with the challah into the oven with the oven off. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the challah bake for 40 minutes and remove onto racks to cool. The challah will rise some more during the preheat time!
Voila – perfect einkorn challah that is as light and fluffy as a white flour version!
Tell me – did you enjoy it? Makes some amazing challah french toast!
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