I have been making breads and challahs at home for years. Although I occasionally go out and buy special breads or challahs in bakeries, baking bread at home is one of the most basic things there is. This is exactly the kind of thing I think everyone can do.
I really like playing with dough at home; It’s much less complicated than it seems. The wonderful smell that comes out of the oven is one of the most addictive smells there is. You just can’t go wrong with the fresh-fresh result of bread or homemade challah, which is far more satisfying than buying bread at the bakery.
Mostly at home I tend to use whole meal flours. Over the past few years I rarely make white bread at home. I fell in love with spelt flour a few years ago and it appears in a variety of recipes on the blog that have been published over the years.
The truth is that for a long time I wanted to publish the following recipe: a wonderful, soft and delicious rustic spelt challah that is easy to prepare. Challah is one of my favorite things to make, and although I usually make regular challah I wanted to try and make it a bit healthier with whole spelt flour.
This challah gets a beautiful rustic look thanks to the fact that it is not brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds, but simply sprinkled with some flour before baking. However, if you still prefer a challah with a more classic look – you can definitely brush with egg and sprinkle some sesame or poppy seeds. Either way – this challah is just great.
Rustic Whole Spelt Challah
For the dough:
- 500 grams 3 ½ cups 80% whole spelt flour
- 11 grams 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 30 ml. 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 grams 1 ½ tsp. of fine salt
- 70 grams 3 tablespoons honey or date syrup
- 270 ml 1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- Spelt flour
- In a mixer bowl with a kneading attachment put spelt flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, honey and water and knead on low-medium speed for 10-12 minutes until a uniform smooth dough is obtained.
- Cover the bowl and allow rising for 1-2 hours or until it doubles in volume.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 parts (or depending on the desired form of braiding).
- Roll each piece of dough into a long strip and braid from the strips to form a large challah.
- Place the challah on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover and allow rising for about an hour or until it almost doubles in volume.
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius degrees.
- Sprinkle a little flour on top of the challah to create a rustic.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden and set.
- Remove from the oven and cover with a towel. Allow the challah to cool covered.
- The challah is at its best on the day of baking, but it can be frozen well wrapped in an airtight bag for up to a month.
- Instead of honey you can use dark brown sugar or maple in the same amount for a slight variety of flavors.
- You can also make individual challah rolls from the dough. The baking time will be shortened if smaller challahs are made.
- If desired, you can add raisins or nuts to the dough towards the end of kneading.