I bet most of you have already heard of aquafaba, which is just a fancy name for bean water. You can make your own or just drain the liquid from a can of organic chickpeas. Use it to whip up vegan meringues, make dairy-free cheese, ice cream, and even vegan butter.
Zsu Dever has the recipe for all of those and many more in her new book, Aquafaba. I was drawn to her recipe for Challah because I’ve only had a vegan version once and it was delicious. There’s something magical about rich bread dough.
Zsu also has a brioche dough and I can’t wait to try it out next. But her book is more than just bread and sweet recipes. She has an aquafaba primer, condiments, breakfast, lunch, diner, pantry sweets, oven sweets, and even recipe to use up all the beans you’ll be cooking up!
You can get her book on Amazon or where ever books are sold.
Vegan Challah from Aquafaba by Zsu Dever
This lightly sweet, rich bread is traditionally made with egg yolks and features a beautiful braid and a golden egg-wash crust. This vegan version is made using in the loaf and an aquafaba wash to finish it off. (from Aquafaba, copyright © 2016 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission.)
- 3/4 cup warm water (not hotter than 110°F)
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 6 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
- 5 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 pinches turmeric
- 1/2 cup aquafaba (see Note)
- Combine the water, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, and yeast in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons of the maple syrup and oil.
- Combine the flour, salt, and turmeric in a separate medium bowl and set aside.
- Add the aquafaba to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and use a whisk to beat the aquafaba until light and frothy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and about 4 cups of the flour mixture. Knead the dough in the stand mixer or using a large wooden spoon. Mix well and add the rest of the flour mixture as needed to create a firm dough; try adding most, or all, of the flour mixture. Knead the dough for 10 minutes to develop the gluten. The dough should be smooth and push back when poked.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Deflate the dough and let it rise again until doubled, about another hour. Divide the dough in two and divide each half into three, four, or six pieces, depending on how you would like to braid the dough. Keep the pieces covered until ready to use.
- Roll each portion of dough into a 12-inch long, tapered rope. Braid half the ropes into a challah loaf. Set the braided dough on a baking sheet, repeat the process with the other half of the ropes, and cover each loaf with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
- Combine the aquafaba and arrowroot or cornstarch in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until thickened. Cool slightly before use. (For a sweeter, slightly sticky wash, combine 3 tablespoons aquafaba with 1 tablespoon maple syrup; no need to heat the maple syrup mixture before use.) Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the aquafaba wash all over the bread and bake for 10 minutes. Brush the bread with the wash again, continue to bake for 20 to 25 more minutes, and check the bread for doneness. If the bread is browning too quickly, tent it with foil or continue to bake it upside down. Tap on the bottom of the bread; if it sounds hollow, it is probably ready. Cool before serving.