Vegan Pumpkin Challah

Author: Katharina Arrigoni | BesondersGut

Here is a fully vegan pumpkin challah recipe with several braiding options and video tutorials by Swiss recipe developer and cookbook author Katharina Arrigoni. Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Challah Recipe

Vegan Pumpkin Challah

Ingredients

For the poolish

  • 100g water
  • 50g white spelt flour
  • 50g bread flour/white all-purpose flour
  • 1g fresh yeast

For the pumpkin purée

  • 1 small, shiny organic pumpkin

For the dough

  • Poolish, cold
  • 80g refined canola oil 
  • 40g water (+10-20g water)
  • 90g pumpkin purée (You can use the rest of the pumpkin purée for toppings, sauces, etc.)
  • 8g fresh yeast
  • 15g sugar
  • 400g bread flour/white all-purpose flour
  • 10g salt

For brushing/sprinkling

  • Maple syrup
  • Fine salt and decorating sugar

Vegan Pumpkin Challah

 

Directions:

Poolish/Pumpkin Purée

The day before: Put the water in a small bowl and stir in the yeast. Add the flour, mix well and cover. Let sit for two hours at 21-23°C (69.8-73.4°F) so the yeast starts to ferment. Continue to ferment in the fridge until the next day. The batter should at least double in size.

Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and cut into cubes, including the shell. Steam, let cool, and purée. Let the purée cool completely. Ideally also prepare the pumpkin purée the day before and keep it in the fridge until needed.

Dough/First Proof

The next day: Put all the ingredients (except the 10-20g of water) in the order shown in the recipe in a mixing bowl and knead for 7-8 minutes at a low speed. The dough will be a bit sticky and even slightly gummy. But don’t worry! Continue to knead gently for 5 minutes and add 10-20g of water to the dough if and as required. The dough should ultimately be soft and smooth. 

You can also knead the dough by hand to the specified consistency, but this can take a few minutes longer. 

Ideal dough temperature after kneading: 23–25°C (73.4-77°F)

Cover airtight at 21-23°C (69.8-73.4°F) for one hour.

Shaping/Second Proof

Place the dough on an unfloured work surface. Depending on the braiding method, divide it into the number of pieces required (weigh each piece for more precision). Let the pieces sit for 10 minutes covered with a kitchen towel and then roll into strands using as little flour as possible. Lightly flour the strands, braid, and place on baking paper. Cover and let rise for another 30-45 minutes.

Vegan Pumpkin Challah

Braiding (with video tutorials)

8-Strand Braid Video Tutorial:

5-Strand Braid Video Tutorial:

(Note: the text overlay in the following two videos is in German, but the visuals should be easy enough to understand even if you don’t speak German!)

4-Strand Braid Video Tutorial

Note: The challah loaves in the pictures are 10-strand spiral braids. The technology is the same as that of the 5-strand spiral head, only that the two strands are combined.

Vegan Pumpkin Challah

Brushing/Baking/Topping

Just before baking, brush the braid with maple syrup and bake for 35-45 minutes in a well-preheated oven at 190°C (374°F) without steam. After baking, but while the loaf is still warm, brush again with maple syrup and sprinkle with a bit of fine salt and an ample portion of decorating sugar – an awesome combination, I swear!

Vegan Pumpkin Challah

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Vegan Pumpkin Challah

Ingredients

Scale

For the poolish

  • 100g water
  • 50g white spelt flour
  • 50g bread flour/white all-purpose flour
  • 1g fresh yeast

For the pumpkin purée

  • 1 small, shiny organic pumpkin

For the dough

  • Poolish, cold
  • 80g refined canola oil 
  • 40g water (+10-20g water)
  • 90g pumpkin purée (You can use the rest of the pumpkin purée for toppings, sauces, etc.)
  • 8g fresh yeast
  • 15g sugar
  • 400g bread flour/white all-purpose flour
  • 10g salt

For brushing/sprinkling

  • Maple syrup
  • Fine salt and decorating sugar

Instructions

Poolish/Pumpkin Purée

  1. The day before: Put the water in a small bowl and stir in the yeast. Add the flour, mix well and cover. Let sit for two hours at 21-23°C (69.8-73.4°F) so the yeast starts to ferment. Continue to ferment in the fridge until the next day. The batter should at least double in size.
  2. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and cut into cubes, including the shell. Steam, let cool and purée. Let the purée cool completely. Ideally also prepare the pumpkin purée the day before and keep it in the fridge until needed. 

Dough/First Proof

  1. The next day: Put all the ingredients (except the 10-20g of water) in the order shown in the recipe in a mixing bowl and knead for 7-8 minutes at a low speed. The dough will be a bit sticky and even slightly gummy. But don’t worry! Continue to knead gently for 5 minutes and add 10-20g of water to the dough if and as required. The dough should ultimately be soft and smooth. 
  2. You can also knead the dough by hand to the specified consistency, but this can take a few minutes longer. 
  3. Ideal dough temperature after kneading: 23–25°C (73.4-77°F)
  4. Cover airtight at 21-23°C (69.8-73.4°F) for one hour.

Shaping/Second Proof

  1. Place the dough on an unfloured work surface. Depending on the braiding method, divide it into the number of pieces required (weigh each piece for more precision). Let the pieces sit for 10 minutes covered with a kitchen towel and then roll into strands using as little flour as possible. Lightly flour the strands, braid and place on baking paper. Cover and let rise for another 30-45 minutes. 

Brushing/Baking/Topping

  1. Just before baking, brush the braid with maple syrup and bake for 35-45 minutes in a well-preheated oven at 190°C (374°F) without steam. After baking, but while the loaf is still warm, brush again with maple syrup and sprinkle with a bit of fine salt and an ample portion of decorating sugar – an awesome combination, I swear!

Notes

If you use this recipe to bake two smaller loaves, shorten the baking time by approx. 10 minutes.

Find more of Katharina’s recipes at BesondersGut.

Vegan Pumpkin Challah

Recipe & photography by Katharina Arrigoni (BesondersGut).

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Comments

  1. Any tips to keep the dough from breaking apart when braiding? I had an issue keeping the pieces from breaking as I braided.. My challah had a lot of cracking during the back and doesn’t look nearly as smooth.. any tips to prevent cracking as well?
    Loaves are cooling and I can’t wait to have a piece!

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