Vegan Rosemary Challah with Maple Glaze //

“I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God than in the church thinking of the mountains.” — John Muir

I have come to find that there are so many forms of worship, mediation, and the idea of “church.” After many years of being inundated with Christian culture, this year I swapped out what used to be my usual early-riser Sunday morning church routine with a new one that just resonates with me more: a trip to the farmer’s market. It might not sound like a holy experience to you, but it has fed me and taught me in ways that I can only begin to express.

We are all entitled to our opinions, but I ask that you keep an open, delicate mind on this one. Even after experiencing intense spiritual manipulation in the church, I did not throw the baby out with the holy water. Just because I left the church does not mean that I “left the faith”. My spirit is strong, stronger in fact, in that I am choosing to become rooted in what I believe outside of the literal and not-so-literal walls of obligation. We are all incredibly unique creatures, and the expression and connection to what we believe should never be expected to fit inside of an identical box.

My church is in the steps that I take — when I choose to purposely park far from the market so that I have more time to walk, be in nature, and reflect on my week.

My ministry is my life — how I connect with every single person who crosses my path.

My worship is in the herbs that I select and the gratitude I carry.

My prayer is in every single braid of the bread.

I purchase my fresh herbs from the same organic farmer each week, and I love that he is a part of this recipe (with the most delicious rosemary EVER) for that reason. For my third challah this week, I decided to make a vegan bread, and I’ve gotta tell you…this one might be my favorite consistency of all. It’s so fresh, bouncy and delicious, you’d never know it didn’t have all those traditional eggs!

Many of you probably know that I’ve been on a rosemary kick this holiday season, and it really adds such a bright, refreshing taste to this sweet and savory bake. The aroma and flavors of this bread when it’s fresh out of the oven is unparalleled. Don’t forget, I’ll be making challah everyday this week, so stay tuned for the next recipe coming tomorrow!

What you need:

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

4 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

For the maple glaze:

1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons almond milk

What to do:

1. Place the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Add a pinch of the sugar to the bowl, and sprinkle with the yeast. Set aside in a warm place 10 until the mixture is foamy.

2. Whisk in the sugar, oil, 2 cups of flour, salt and rosemary.

3. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the remaining 2 cups of flour.

4. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

5. Lightly grease the inside of a bowl with a touch of oil. Place the challah dough in the bowl and turn to coat lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough has risen to at least double the size, about 1 hour and 30-45 minutes.

6. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and shape your challah. I made two medium loaves and two small rolls.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof another hour.

8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and combine your maple syrup and almond milk.

9. Brush your maple glaze all over the challah, and bake about 30-35 minutes or until golden (less time for rolls and smaller bakes).

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