Gluten Free Challah: A Guide to Perfecting Your Loaf

Published on Feb 25, 2024

  by   Kristina Stosek

4 reviews

Prep Time: 30 + proofing minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Serves: 1. loaf
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Challah holds a special place in many hearts and kitchens. Its soft, slightly sweet interior and golden-brown crust make it a beloved centerpiece for Sabbath and holiday meals. Gluten free challah can also be used for hearty sandwiches, morning toast, or in various dishes such as bread pudding or French toast casserole when following the gluten free diet.

two slices of glutem free challah


Challah is a traditional dairy-free Jewish bread typically enjoyed on the Sabbath and during holidays. It is known for its rich, slightly sweet flavor and soft, pillowy texture.

The bread is made from a simple yeast dough enriched with eggs, oil, sugar, and often honey. The dough is usually braided before baking, creating a distinctive braided appearance.

If you are planning a dinner menu for Sabbath, you may also enjoy our very best Gluten-Free Matzo Ball Soup, or Gluten Free Almond Crescent Rolls (rugelach).



This thoroughly tested gluten free challah recipe guarantees success. Follow the recipe in detail. The only substitution you can do is replace tapioca starch with 80 grams of cornstarch.

Experimenting with Flavors and Add-Ins:

While traditional challah is typically plain, often topped with sesame or poppy seeds, feel free to get creative with your gluten free version. Add-ins like raisins, currants, cinnamon, or allspice can enhance the flavor and texture of the loaf. 

sliced jewish bread



Gluten free dough can be more delicate and sticky than traditional wheat-based dough. With the right ingredients, accurate measurements, and techniques, you can master the art of gluten free challah. Here are some techniques to help you succeed:

Weigh the flour. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the flour for best results. If you have to use measuring cups, fill the cups lightly using a spoon and level off with a knife. DO NOT DIP THE MEASURING CUP INTO THE FLOUR, you will have too much flour and a dry dense challah.

Incorporating Binders and Leavening Agents such as xanthan gum and psyllium husk powder helps hold the dough together and prevent it from becoming crumbly. 

Yeast is essential for achieving a light and airy texture in challah bread.

Use honey. Honey is a ‘humectant’. This means that it retains moisture, which is great for gluten free baking as it helps keep the bread moist. Honey, compared with traditional refined sugar, also means you gain a richer color and fuller flavor.

Mix the dough thoroughly to ensure proper hydration and development of structure.

Use a silicone spatula to handle the dough, which may be too sticky. 

Chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight. Gluten free challah dough presents challenges with its sticky texture, making shaping difficult. The gluten free flour absorbs moisture by chilling the dough, making it more manageable for shaping into the desired braid or loaf.

After braiding the dough, let it rise in a warm, draft-free environment, allowing proper rising.

Brush the loaf with honey glaze during baking to achieve a glossy brown finish. 

Don’t underbake the bread, or it will be gummy. The loaf should have a rich golden brown color and an internal temperature of 195 – 205 F, or pass the toothpick test.


chellah ball of dough

Prepare the dough: (the picture shows the dough after it has been chilled)

  • Whisk the dry ingrediets
  • Beat the wet ingredients
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix using an electric mixer until the dough becomes smooth. Chill the dough overnight in a lightly oiled bowl.

three 14-inch dough ropes

Shape the dough into three equal ropes

  • Divide the cold dough into three equal parts. Roll each part into a long rope, about 14 inches long.
  • Or, shape the dough into a standard loaf.

braided challah in a loaf pan before baking

Create a braided loaf

  • Braid the ropes together to form a braid.
  • Using the parchment paper, lift the loaf and place it in a loaf pan. Gently push both ends to slightly shorten the loaf to fit the pan
  • Proof the loaf until it almost doubles in size. About 1 – 2 hours

whole baked challah

Bake and brush with honey glaze

  • Ensure the oven is preheated to 375 F. Bake the bread for 25 minutes.
  • Then, brush with honey glaze.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 F, and continue baking for 10 – 15 minutes until the loaf is  cooked and golden brown.

Experimenting with Flavors and Add-Ins:

While traditional challah is typically plain, often topped with sesame or poppy seeds, feel free to get creative with your gluten free version. Add-ins like raisins, currants, cinnamon, or allspice can enhance the flavor and texture of the loaf. 


Challah is versatile and delicious, and can be served in various ways, depending on personal preferences and cultural traditions. Here are some popular ways to serve challah:

Shabbat and Holiday Meals: Challah is special in Jewish culture and is traditionally served during Shabbat and holiday meals. It is often displayed prominently on the table and blessed before being shared among family and friends.

Sliced with Butter or Jam: Enjoying freshly sliced challah loaf with a spread of butter or your favorite jam is a classic and simple way to savor its soft texture and slightly sweet flavor.

French Toast: With rich and sturdy texture challah makes it perfect for soaking up custard, making it an excellent choice for French toast. Dip thick slices of challah in a mixture of eggs, milk, and spices, then fry until golden brown for a decadent breakfast or brunch treat.

Sandwiches: Use sliced challah to make sandwiches with your favorite fillings. Its slightly sweet flavor adds a unique twist to savory and sweet sandwich combinations. Kids love Nutella sandwiches made with sweet bread.

Bread Pudding: Stale or leftover challah can be transformed into a delicious bread pudding. Combine cubed challah bread with a mixture of eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, spices and fresh berries, then bake until set for a comforting and indulgent dish.

Bread Crumbs: Use leftover challah to make homemade bread crumbs. Dry out the bread slices in the oven, then pulse them in a food processor until you achieve the desired texture. Use the bread crumbs to coat chicken, fish, or vegetables before baking or frying. Or, top your favorite casseroles.

Toasts: Toasted challah makes a delicious base for various toppings, such as avocado, tomato, and cheese for a savory snack or almond butter and sliced bananas for a sweet treat.

sliced jewish bread


In conclusion, whether enjoyed straight from the oven or as part of various dishes, challah brings warmth and comfort to any occasion. With the right techniques and ingredients, you can create a gluten-free challah that rivals the original in taste and texture. Enjoy!

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Many thanks!

Kristina x

Leave a Comment


Joan, good point. This is why the recipe says 190 - 200 F or the toothpick test. I tested the recipe a few times, and it was perfect between 195 - 200 F. Gluten free baking is super finicky, and depending on the ingredients, the internal temperature could differ. For me, using the toothpick method is the most accurate. I will change the internal temperature to 195 - 205 F to be sure.

Joan Bubacz

I was taught that gf bread should be baked to 205 degrees to avoid a gummy interior. How is challa different?

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