I love challah. I love its sweet, eggy, goodness and the fact that it’s meant to be torn apart by hand and shared with family and friends when there’s something to celebrate. Growing up, challah, fresh from the bakery, was on the table every Shabbat and most holidays. It’s the kind of bread that reminds me of home, of community, of my Jewishness. I no longer celebrate Shabbat, and I don’t need a challah that I can say HaMotzi (המוציא) over, but half my family is non-celiac gluten-sensitive and I’ve been aching to try my hand at baking a gluten-free dairy-free challah.

Here it is. And it is delicious.

Hope you enjoy this recipe for gluten-free dairy-free challah as much as we do.  It barely had time to cool before we ripped into it.


Gluten-free dairy-free challah

Makes 2 loaves.  Goes great with golden milk.



  • 1/4 cup warm water 
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp brown sugar 

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup yogurt (I use sheep milk or coconut)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 5 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup oil 
  • 3 tbsp honey 

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose-gluten free flour mix (without xanthan gum)
  • 4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 

Egg wash & toppings

  • 1 large egg, mixed with a splash of water 
  • Sesame and/or poppy seeds (optional)


In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tsp of sugar; set aside for 5 minutes.

Combine remaining wet ingredients (including remaining 1/4 cup water) in a separate bowl or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add proofed yeast-water mixture (should be nice and frothy) and stir.

Sift flour and whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until completely combined.  The dough should be soft and pliable.

Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth, elastic, and not sticky. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm location or in the oven with a saucepan of just boiled water on the rack directly below the dough.  Let rise 30-60 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.

Divide dough into six equal pieces (to make 2, 3-strand braided loaves) and then roll each one out into a 12″ long rope with tapered ends. Using three of the ropes, pinch together at one end using a little water to help them stick and then braid together.  Repeat with the remaining three ropes.  Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

To make the egg wash, mix the egg with a splash of water together in a small bowl.  Brush egg wash over each loaf, covering completely. Sprinkle with seeds, if using. Cover loaves with lightly oiled wax paper, followed by the damp towel and then allow to rise again for another 30-60 min, or until doubled in size again.

Bake in a 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection) preheated oven for approx. 20 minutes, until the outside is a deep golden brown.  Cool on a rack before serving.