If you were someone who thought that egg-free challah was impossible, now's the time to breathe a big sigh of relief. VegNews let me in on the secret of getting a rich, eggy texture by using yams or sweet potatoes. I used pumpkin and was completely satisfied with the result. You can top the loaf with poppy or sesame seeds and coarse, kosher sea salt. This recipe yields two loaves or one very giant party-sized loaf.
1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or homemade)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 Tbs. agave nectar
2 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. canola oil
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups high gluten flour
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, hot water, and agave nectar. Wait until mixture is warm but not too hot. Add the yeast. Use a whisk to mix the yeast thoroughly into the wet ingredients. Wait 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Add the oil, salt and flour, one cup at a time alternating between AP and HG. Continue to add flour until the dough resembles a soft ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes until elastic. Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for 2 hours or until doubled.
Once the dough has risen, remove and shape into 3-6 ropes. Braid the dough and let it sit for another 20 minutes while your oven preheats to 350 degrees. Place the risen braid on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mix together 2 Tbs. agave nectar with 1/4 cup hot water and brush on loaf. Sprinkle with seeds and salt. Let bake for 30-45 minutes or until slightly browned. Once out of the oven, smother with earth balance and enjoy!