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Wheat-Free Challah Bread (for bread machine)

  • For the bread:
  • 4 cups white spelt flour
  • 4 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 eggs (large or extra-large but not medium or jumbo)
  • 2 envelopes quick-rising yeast
  • For glazing and topping:
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten with a bit of water
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds
This recipe makes a beautiful 2-pound braided loaf. Therefore, it is important to mix it in a bread machine with a 2-pound capacity. For a smaller machine, you can halve the ingredients, beating a second egg and measuring half of it into the machine. (Some recipes recommend using one whole egg plus one egg yolk for a 1-pound loaf, but the egg white helps bind the lower-gluten spelt flour.)

Add ingredients to your bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer (mine says to add butter, then water and eggs, then the sifted-together dry ingredients, and sprinkle the yeast on top). Set machine for "dough only" cycle and start it. Check to be sure ingredients are mixing well, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the pan if needed in the first 15 minutes (or a little more).

When the machine signals that the dough is done, remove from machine and divide into 3 approximately equal parts. Shape each part into a rope shape, and press together at one end. Braid. Place on greased baking sheet or greased baking parchment on a baking sheet, and let rise with love and patience in a warm location for about an hour.

Brush loaf with beaten egg yolk and delicately sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake at 375°F for 35-45 glorious minutes or until crust is browned and loaf sounds slightly hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack or cool cookie sheet.

Alternatively, you could just let the bread machine bake it, but you won't get that lovely egg-yolk glaze or seeded finish.

Store at room temperature, either wrapped in plastic or in the microwave to keep fresh.

This makes a delightful bread that doesn't crumble the way commercial spelt-flour breads do, and holds up for a few days before becoming noticeably stale. Even when stale, it is good for toasting and makes great French Toast.

Chandra L. Morgan-Henley

Submitted by Tess M Nov 23, 2009 5 stars based on 1 reviews 15 min 30 min 45 min
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