Photo credit Cheryl Holbert
Prep Cook Yield Ready In
2 hours 35 minutes 25-30 minutes 2 1-pound challah loaves 3 hours 5 minutes

The Best Vegan Challah Recipe

This traditional challah is delicious and vegan-friendly.

Eggless or “water challah” originated from certain parts of Eastern Europe and is particularly popular in Israel and Brooklyn, New York. It is typically glazed with an egg wash before baking, but a vegan version can be made by substituting the egg with oil or a natural syrup sweetener. I particularly like maple syrup diluted with a bit of water.

Join Cheryl Holbert on Wednesday, August 5 at 7:30 pm ET to learn how to shape round challah as part of The Nosher’s High Holidays Cooking Class Series. Register here.


For the pre-ferment: 

  • 1 ¾ tsp yeast  (5 g)
  • 1 ⅔ cup bread flour  (250 g)
  • 1 ¾ cup warm water  (400 g)

For the dough:

  • 2 ½ tsp salt (15 g)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp organic cane sugar (15 g)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (110 g)
  • 4 cups bread flour (500 g)
  • maple syrup, diluted with some water


  1. Whisk water, oil and can sugar into the pre-ferment. Add the 500 g flour and salt and integrate until your “shaggy mass” becomes cohesive. I like to mix with my hands so I can test the hydration and developing firmness of the dough. It should lose its stickiness and begin to bounce back as you work it. Knead well for 5-10 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and extensible. 
  2. Let dough rise 1-1.5 hours, then divide your dough, let rest on the work surface and shape and braid. Let braids rest 45 minutes, until fully proofed and no longer bounces back when you press lightly with your finger.
  3. Glaze with maple syrup with a bit of water. 
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until bread reaches its desired browning.

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