Fresh challah is undoubtedly one of the things that our holiday table is incomplete without. Every holiday I make a round, soft challah that is always the perfect accompaniment to the first course and the abundance of salads served to the table.
In recent years I have begun to diversify and occasionally make whole wheat challah, in order to slightly improve its nutritional values. The use of whole wheat flour produces a particularly golden challah, with a delicate rustic flavor, and is always reaping compliments. The next whole wheat challah combines whole spelt flour and natural date syrup (silan) and is very soft, festive and addictive.
I like to make it round, but you can definitely make one large or two medium sized loaves. The use of natural date syrup gives the challah a delicate sweetness that combines well with savory foods and not just with sweets. It is vegan, very easy to prepare and perfect for entertaining during the holidays.
Whole Wheat Challah with Date Syrup
For the dough:
- 210 grams (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
- 280 grams (2 cups) whole spelt flour
- 10 grams (2 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 30 ml. (2 tbsp.) olive oil
- 10 grams (1 ½ tsp.) salt
- 50 grams (2 ½ tbsp.) natural date syrup (silan)
- 270 ml. (1 cup + 2 tbsp.) water
For brushing and decoration:
- Some natural date syrup silan
- Sesame seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- Whole oats
In a mixer bowl with kneading attachment place all-purpose flour, spelt flour, yeast, oil, salt, date syrup and water and knead at low-medium speed for 10-12 minutes until smooth and soft dough is obtained.
Cover the bowl and allow rising for 1-2 hours or until the dough doubles its volume.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 parts (for making one huge challah).
Roll each piece of dough into a long strip and braid them together to create a screw shape.
Roll the screw around itself to form a circular shape and place it on top of a baking pan lined with baking paper.
Cover the challah and allow rising for about an hour or until it almost doubles its volume.
Brush the challah gently with date syrup and sprinkle with sesame, pumpkin seeds and oats.
Preheat the oven to 180c degrees.
Bake the challah for 30-40 minutes or until it turns golden and sets.
Remove from the oven and cover with a towel. Allow the challah to completely cool covered with a towel.
- The challah is at its best on the day of baking.
- If desired, add raisins, cranberries or chopped dates to the dough.
- You can decorate the challah with poppy seeds or any other topping you like.
- It is possible to freeze the challah tightly wrapped for up to a month. It is recommended to warm it a little in the oven before serving.