Anyone who's gluten-free will understand the pain associated with challah bread. While there are many gluten-free breads available, challah is more difficult to come by, and if you are jewish and celebrating Shabbat, you are bound for disappointment. In Israel, GF challah is available at almost every supermarket, albeit rubbery and not very good. But if you live in the US and don't happen to have a gluten-free kosher bakery around the corner (i hear those do exist), you will need to make your own.
If you ever baked regular challah, you know it's fairly easy and braiding it is the fun part. The problem is that what makes regular challah dough stretchy and malleable is, you guessed it, gluten! Now here comes the messy part. If you just sub with GF flour to make challah dough, you are bound to get a sticky mess that will be near impossible to braid. I've tried it more than once. There are some recipes for braided gluten-free challah, but unless you are a very experienced baker (and somewhat a magician) your challah will look lumpy and not very appealing. I was almost too embarrassed to serve mine (although it tasted good!)
So after many trials and about a dozen challah's later, i found a recipe from the better batter blog and made some adaptations. This challah recipe is really easy to make and bakes in a 9' loaf pan - so no messy, ugly braiding. All you have to do is mix it all in a bowl, pour into the loaf pan, let rise and bake. Easy.
You could also purchase a challah loaf pan that is molded to look like a braided challah, but I'm perplexed with the idea of serving bread upside down and losing the beautiful crust for a faux braid.
One last thing. This recipe is for 1 challah. I recommend doing it in 2 batches if you want to make more than 1 loaf. If you did double it and it came out fine - please let me know!
1 tbs dry active yeast (i use the packets)
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbs + 2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter, melted (or vegan butter for pareve)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (contains xanthan gum)
3 large eggs
1 tbs milk (or non-dairy milk)
1 tbs sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease one 9' loaf pan
2. In a large mixing bowl, Proof the yeast in the warm water with 1 tsp sugar for 5 minutes (foam will appear)
3. Add the rest of sugar, salt, eggs and butter and beat until mixed (i use the paddle attachment)
4. Add the flour mix and beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
5. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and let it rise for 45 minutes, or until it almost doubles in size (some yeast will take less time, so keep an eye on it)
6. Brush with milk and sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake for 45 minutes.