Rainbow Challah

This challah recipe is basically my standard challah recipe plus a few plant-based “superfood” powders (i.e. beet, blue spirulina, grape, etc.) mixed into the dough to add a fun pop of color to your Shabbat or Yom Tov. You can really choose any color combination you’d like, and feel free to experiment with your own plant-based ingredients or use food dye if that’s your preference. Another fun way to add some color is to either stuff your strands with rainbow sprinkles to get pockets of rainbow, or you could knead them into the dough itself for a funfetti-type look. The world is your oyster! The recipe calls for 1/3 batch of my challah dough recipe, which you can find here.

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First, make standard challah dough and stop just before proofing in the oven. Divide your dough ball into 7 equal chunks of dough (or however many colors you’re making). I use a kitchen scale, but feel free to eyeball it for a more rustic look.

One color at a time, spread the powder as if it’s flour on your worktop, and knead the dough ball into the powder until all of it is absorbed and your ball is full of color (for some colors, it needs time to absorb, so don’t get discouraged if you need to wait until after the proofing to see a good coloration).

Once the powder is incorporated, place each ball into a small, oiled bowl. Arrange the bowls onto the oven racks, and cover them with kitchen towels. Pour the boiling water into a medium-sized bowl, and place on the floor of the oven. Leaving the oven off, shut the door and leave to proof for 2 hours.

Remove the bowls from the oven (including the bowl of water). The balls should have just about doubled in size. Poke or pound down into the dough all over so they deflate a bit. Remove a ball of dough from one of the bowls and put it onto your worktop. Roll the dough into a long “snake” until it’s about an inch in diameter. Repeat this with the rest of the colors.

Arrange the dough “snakes” next to one another and pinch them together at the top. I like to push down and kind of smear them a little bit into the worktop so that they might stay put while I braid (this gets less likely as the number of colors increases.) Proceed to braid your challah, pinching again at the bottom and then tucking the end underneath the challah. Flip your challah around so the top is now the bottom and tease the strands away from one another and braid them as well, pinching them at the end and tucking the end under the challah like before.

Cover your braided challah with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes to rise. Preheat the oven 350°F. Once your challah has rested, place it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or an oiled bread tin) and brush the top of it with egg yolk (this is optional for a colorful challah- the egg will give it a golden hue).

Bake at for about 35 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and make sure that the challah is cooked through. YYou’ll know it is when you gently try to tease braids apart (on the end or somewhere else inconspicuous)- there should be no evidence of doughiness, and the braids want to stay intact, almost like there are strands of gluten holding them together. Remove the challah from the tray and eat warm or place on a challah plate, serving plate, or cooling rack until cool. Slicing will be easier once the challah is cooled.

Rainbow Challah

Becca Gallick-Mitchell
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 45 mins
Resting Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Total Time 5 hrs 40 mins
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 1 large challah

Equipment

  • kitchen scale (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tbsp beetroot powder
  • 1 tsp beetroot powder, to add to the carrot for the orange
  • 3 Tbsp carrot powder
  • 2 Tbsp goldenberry powder
  • 2 Tbsp green pandan leaf powder
  • 1 Tbsp blue spirulina powder
  • 2 Tbsp grape powder
  • batch challah dough BEFORE proofing
  • 7 tsp avocado oil (or other vegetable oil), for proofing
  • 2 egg yolks, for brushing
  • 2 cups boiling water

Instructions
 

  • First make standard challah dough and stop just before proofing in the oven. Divide your dough ball into 7 equal chunks of dough (I use a kitchen scale) (or however many colors you're making).
  • One color at a time, spread the powder as if it's flour on your worktop, and knead the dough ball into the powder until all of it is absorbed and your ball is full of color (for some colors, it needs time to absorb, so don't get discouraged if you need to wait until after the proofing to see a good coloration.
  • Once the powder is incorporated, place each ball into a small to medium-sized, oiled bowl. Arrange the bowls, all covered with kitchen towels, onto the oven racks. Pour the boiling water into a medium-sized bowl, and place on the floor of the oven. Shut the door and leave to proof for 2 hours.
  • Remove the bowls from the oven (including the bowl of water). They all should have just about doubled in size. Poke or pound down into the dough all over so they deflate a bit. One by one, remove them from the bowl and put it onto your worktop. Roll the dough into a long "snake" until it's about an inch in diameter. Repeat this with the rest of the colors.
  • Arrange the dough "snakes" next to one another and pinch them together at the top. I like to push down and kind of smear them a little bit into the worktop so that they might stay put while I braid. Proceed to braid your challah, pinching again at the bottom and then tucking the end underneath the challah.
  • Flip your challah around so the top is now the bottom and tease the strands away from one another and braid them as well, pinching them at the end and tucking the end under the challah like before. Cover your braided challah with a kitchen towel and set aside for 30 minutes to rise.
  • Preheat the oven 350°F. Once your challah has rested, place it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or an oiled bread tin) and brush the top of it with egg yolk (this is optional for a colorful challah- the egg will give it a golden hue).
  • Bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and make sure that the challah is cooked through. You'll know it is when you gently try to tease braids apart (on the end or somewhere else inconspicuous)- there should be no evidence of doughiness, and the braids want to stay intact, almost like there are strands of gluten holding them together. Remove the challah from the tray and eat warm or place on a challah plate, serving plate, or cooling rack until cool. Slicing will be easier once the challah is cooled.
Keyword Baking, Breads, Challah, Challah Bread, Jewish, Jewish Cooking, Jewish Recipes, Rainbow, Rainbow Challah, Shabbat, Yom Tov

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