Whole-Wheat Vegan Challah Bread

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(Adapted from the Joy of Cooking)


2 1/4 tsp or 1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water

Mix the yeast and the warm water in a mixing bowl and leave alone for five minutes to ensure the yeast is alive. If it froths and bubbles, it is!

Add to the bowl:

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
4 tbsp flax seed powder + 6 tbsp water, whisked together
3 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Mix on medium-low speed until blended. Add:

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour

Knead on medium low speed in a stand mixer for about 5 minutes or about 10 minutes by hand. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turn it once to coat the top with oil, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 2 1/2 hours in a warm place.

Punch down the dough, knead a bit, and then refrigerate for about 4-5 hours until the dough has doubled.

Divide the dough into three balls and let them rest, covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes.

Roll each ball into a rope about 12 inches in length. Dust with flour.

Place the three ropes side-by-side. Now pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you'd braid your hair. For instance, pick the left rope and place it between the right and the middle rope, then pick the right rope and place it between the left and middle ropes, and so on.

Pinch together the ends and tuck them under the bread.

Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.

Brush the top of the loaf with some olive oil which will give it a lovely glaze after baking.

Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise. In about an hour, it would have nearly doubled in size.

Brush the loaf again with olive oil, sprinkle some sesame seeds over it, then place it in a preheated 375-degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool the loaf on a rack before cutting in.



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