Chocolate and walnut vegan challah

Chocolate and walnut vegan challah

chocolate walnut vegan challah cross section

When Duncan and I first started dating, I was very impressed that the boy can cook. He made me a lovely meal on one of our first dates and I don’t think I let him know just how food obsessed I was that early on. I was secretly pinching myself as I have never dated anyone with any sort of cooking skills before. When I told him that I’ve never had a guy cook an elaborate meal for me before, he was very matter of fact about it. ‘I’m from Melbourne…’ he said, ‘…and Melbourne guys can cook’. Why didn’t I know about this amazing city full of guys who like cooking before?

When we moved in together, I took on more cooking, especially now as it is my ‘sort of’ job – I’m lucky, aren’t I? There is one thing I am not even attempting to learn though and it’s bread baking. Bread (and any sort of yeast baking) is Duncan’s domain and I think he is keen to keep it this way so I stay away and enjoy being baked for now and again.

He is really good at it. His slight obsession with precision (a mild OCD between you and me) comes into its own as far as baking is concerned. He is completely self-taught and a proof that if you put your mind to it, you’ll eventually master any skill you set your sights on.

Today, Duncan made me an amazing vegan challah oozing deliciously rich dark chocolate and crunchy walnut filling. It is to die for and despite my best efforts, I was not able to stop at a single slice. It is so good I’ve had to be dragged away from it…

chocolate walnut vegan challah whole

chocolate walnut vegan challah slicing

chocolate walnut vegan challah slice close up

chocolate walnut vegan challah with espresso

makes
1 loaf
PREP
45 min
COOKING
25 min
makes
1 loaf
PREPARATION
45 min
COOKING
25 min
INGREDIENTS

CHALLAH

  • 220 g of strong flour
  • 250 g of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 10 g salt
  • 7 g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 300 ml of almond milk + a little extra for bread glazing
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + a little extra for bread and pan glazing

CHALLAH FILLING

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 150 g walnuts, chopped
  • 100 g dark chocolate, finely chopped
METHOD
  1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour in the lukewarm (not cold!) almond milk and stir everything together with a large wooden spoon. Then add the olive oil and combine.
  3. When the mixture has mostly stuck together turn the mixture out on to a work surface or bread board. Knead the mixture by holding one end of the dough in one hand and stretching it out with the other hand. Reform the dough, turn it 90 degrees and start again. Repeat this for 10 minutes. See this recipe for photos on how to knead if you’re unsure.
  4. When the dough is shiny and smooth, put it in a large mixing bowl, coat in a thin layer of olive oil and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave it in a warm place (but not too warm – ie not next to an open fire!) for between one and two hours (until it has doubled in size).
  5. Empty the dough out on to a work surface and push the air out with your fingertips.
  6. Split the dough into three equal parts – best to use kitchen scales here. Roll one part of the dough flat until it is 30 cm long and 8-10 cm wide. Next, follow these 5 steps:
    • STEP 1 Coat the dough with olive oil making sure you cover its entire surface (photo 1).
    • STEP 2 Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on the dough (photo 2).
    • STEP 3 Sprinkle a layer of chopped chocolate on the dough (photo 3).
    • STEP 4 Sprinkle a layer of chopped walnuts on the dough (photo 4).
    • STEP 5 Starting from the bottom, roll the dough tightly it so that at the end you have one horizontal “dough snake” (photos 5 and 6). Make sure you seal it well.

filling challah strands step by step

  1. Repeat steps 1-5 for the remaining 2 dough parts.
  2. Plait the bread following these steps:
    • STEP 1 Arrange the 3 plaits as per photo 1.
    • STEP 2 Take the very leftmost plait and fold it over the middle plait (photo 2).
    • STEP 3 Take the very rightmost plait and fold it over the middle plait (photo 3).
    • STEP 4 Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you run out of space and the 3 plaits are knotted together.

Plaiting challah step by step

  1. Place the finished challah (covered with a kitchen towel) to prove again for another hour. Before the hour is up, preheat the oven to 180° C / 350° F.
  2. Coat the challah with olive oil (this gives it a golden colour). Place it in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Glaze the still warm challah with a mixture that is 50% almond milk and 50% olive oil. This gives it an extra shine.
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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
4029
201%
sugars
124 g
137%
fats
189 g
270%
saturates
38 g
191%
proteins
85 g
171%
carbs
510 g
196%
*per loaf
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5.0
6 reviews, 25 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Sue:
This was fun to make and delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe! Btw, I used white whole wheat flour plus vital wheat gluten.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear, Sue! Thank you for letting me know! x Ania
Verena:
Hello,Do you think I could use the same base to make little buns or would I need to make some changes (apart from cooking time)? This is my favorite brioche recipe but I made it for Christmas morning so I wanted to change it up and make little chocolate and orange buns for tomorrow morning.Happy New Year to you both!Verena
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Verena,I don't see why it would not work, great idea! Baking time will definitely need altering, but I don't think anything else does (apart from the filling, of course). Hope they will come out as delicious as they sound! Ania
Laana:
Made it yesterday and we managed to eat half of it at once (it was humongous)! Really delicious, fluffy and great texture. Chocolate and walnuts is such a great combo. I used a mixer with a kneading hook to make the dough and gave it a few 'hand kneads' at the end just to check if it was ready. I added 'NO Egg' egg replacer, cardamom and melted vegan butter to the dough. Didn't have any strong flour and used all purpose instead. Also i used vegan Nutella for the filling. This is my best attempt with vegan sweet bread so far! I tried some recipes with pumpkin puree and whipped aquafaba but the texture wasn't nearly as good. Even my partner who doesn't care about food in general (unlucky me) was absolutely sold on this challah! Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Laana! You've made me really want to have challah now! :) Ania
Anett Santa:
Sorry for the odd timing of the question... Is it okay to use normal /regular yeast (small block stored in the fridge) instead of the dried one? Thanks a lot for all the great recipes, always love them and best of luck with creating your new home together!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Anett, that's so sweet of you! So glad you follow me and enjoy my recipes! As for the yeast, yes, I do not see why not. I have never used live yeast but I assume you'll need to activate them first, which I am sure you know anyway. x Ania
Charlotte:
Thank you for the recipe, it was amazing! Quite a lot of work and time-consuming, but well worth it! I omitted the bread flour and doubled the amount of all-purpose flour, it worked just fine. I also used only 90g of walnuts (that was all I had in the kitchen) and it was the perfect amount for me. Will definitely make it again!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Charlotte! And thanks so much for taking the time to review and rate the recipe. Ania
Jane:
This looks fab! BTW, I just joined your mailing list on the promise of a Sweets e-book, but none arrived. Can you tell me where I can get it?Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jane,After you confirmed your email address, you should have received an email with a link to download the e-book from. Please check your inbox and let us know if you still haven't got it. Ania
Chikting:
Thank you for the recipe ! It was my first time making bread and it did a little twist . I replaced walnuts with dried cranberries and pecan so it can balance out the sweetness of the dark chocolate and I can still have the crunchiness from the pecan :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's so nice to hear and your additions both sounds really delicious! :) Ania
Richard:
Just watched the video on Facebook. This looks awesome!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Richard! Hope you'll give it a go! Ania
Michelle:
Can I use cocoa powder instead of chocolate bars?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Michelle,I have to say I'm not sure! My guess is that it would probably need a bit of extra liquid and a bit of extra sugar but it isn't something I've ever tried...If you do try it, let me know how you get on!Cheers,
Chloe:
This recipe is amazing, I ate the whole challah to myself over the past 3 days. I had no walnuts available so I used raspberries instead and it worked fine. I can't wait to make it again for my family. Thank you so much
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Chloe,Ha ha, you ate the whole thing by yourself? That's the biggest compliment ever and I feel like I've found a soul sister :) We're both (Duncan baked it) chuffed that the recipe was such a hit with you and raspberries and chocolate is such a dream combo too! Jealous and salivating as I write this :)Ania
Sofia:
I can't wait to try it out, the ingredients seem pretty simple, My mouth is already watering just thinking about it!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Sofia. Yes, it's all pretty straightforward. We hope you try it and if you do, it would be amazing to hear how you got on! :)
Adia Taliaferro:
Hi Ania. Look like a really great recipe. Have a question. Can I use a dough hook on on a mixer to combine the ingredients and knead? Or will it not have the same effect as hand kneading.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Adia,Glad to hear that you are thinking of trying this recipe out. We have never used a mixer as we don't own such high-tech machinery, plus Duncan likes kneading by hand (very relaxing, apparently:), but I don't see why not. We would love to hear how it turned out!Ania
Anastasia:
Dear Ania and Duncan, Great site you're running here! I just tried making your chocolate mousse with aquafaba. It turned out beautifully :) I look forward to my husband's reaction tomorrow when he tries it. He is a big chocoholic in love with chocolate mousse. I have a quick question regarding this recipe that I am planning on trying later this week. What is the difference between strong and all-purpose flour? Here in Denmark I can buy either white or whole wheat flour. Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Anastasia, Great to hear that the chocolate mousse worked out so well! Strong flour (sometimes called bread flour) is flour with a higher protein content which helps to create more gluten and more rise in baked breads. It is a white flour but is different to all-purpose flour (which has a lower protein content)...You should be able to find it in a big supermarket. I hope that helps! Good luck!
Melcakes:
That's more of a rugelach than challah. Looks good though!
kristen:
What is strong flour? is it bread flour?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kristen, yes, strong flour is the same as bread flour. Hope you like the result.
Maikki // Maikin mokomin:
Looks delicious! Thanks for the step-by-step photos – they are really helpful :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Maikki, let us know how you liked it if you try making it. :)
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