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Yummy inside of a challa

Kevin’s challah rolls

Our trustee Kevin Sefton made 50 delicious challah rolls for our Friday night dinner in December 2022.

Kevin has kindly written up his recipe due to popular demand.

The recipe he used was based on this one for Turkish simit – a street bread which looks like a twisted bagel. He says the recipe “produces a wonderful crust because of the sesame and fruit molasses.” Although the traditional recipe refers to grape molasses, it also works really well with date molasses – also known as silan (if you can, get one without added sugar as it’s much better; some brands do both so keep an eye out for which you’re buying).

Although traditionally challah is made with “enriched dough” (with addition of eggs and oil), this vegan recipe is simply flour, yeast, salt and water (and a tiny bit of sugar to get the yeast going – not essential) and has a lovely crust and a tearable inside.

Yummy inside of a challa


Plain flour – 500g

Warm water – 60g (60ml) and then 310g (310ml)

Dried yeast – 7.5g (or 15g fresh yeast)

Sugar – pinch

Salt – 8g

50g date molasses (silan) or similar – diluted with about 30g water

Sesame seeds – 50g



In a large bowl, get the yeast going – mix the yeast in 60g of warm water with a pinch of sugar and leave for 5-10 mins to start looking frothy.


Add 310g of warm water to the froth and mix gently (if you struggle to manage the dough, you can reduce this slightly – but try it at least once the “proper” way)


In another bowl mix the flour and salt


Add the flour/salt to the frothy liquid, and mix well with a spoon or your hands. It will be a pretty wet dough (try it once – if you find it too wet, you can reduce the amount of water the next time).


Here you have a choice.

Option 1

  • knead for 7 minutes

Option 2

  • leave for 10 minutes in the bowl
  • push down the mix into a ball, and then “stretch and fold 12 times around the clock”. This means gently pulling at the side of the ball to stretch it, then folding it back on top, and then working around the ball
  • leave for 10 minutes
  • repeat stretch and fold
  • leave for 10minutes
  • repeat stretch and fold

Option 3

  • a hybrid … I tend to leave this dough for 10 minutes and then work it for 2-3 minutes


Leave the dough covered (eg with another bowl or tea towel) in a warm place for 45mins to 1hr.


Sprinkle some flour on (don’t over do it – just enough so your fingers don’t get sticky). Punch it down and tip onto a floured wooden board. Using a sharp knife or a dough blade, divide into 6 equal weights and shape each into a ball.

Leave for 5 minutes.

Squash down each ball into an oval. Use a sharp knife or a dough blade to divide each oval into three strands (I tend to leave one end connected so it looks a bit like a W). Then plait and close off the ends.


Brush on the molasses and sprinkle sesame seeds on top


Put the oven on at 220C to heat


Cover eg with baking parchment and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes (or till doubled)


Bake at 220C for about 15 – 20 minutes


Take out and leave to cool


Best eaten that day, or can be toasted afterwards (toasted simit is delicious)


JVS: Jewish - Vegan - Sustainable
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