Rosh Hashanah Oat Challah

Gluten Free Oat Challah for Rosh Hashanah

This is a Rosh Hashanah holiday challah that is 59% oat flour, by weight. It’s also a quick challah with one rise, cold-oven baked which means you can be ready for the holiday in short order. The oat challah is one that everyone will want to share because it tastes that good.

There are few recipes for breads that contain a large percentage of oat flour (none really) making this a fun challenge. Oat flour is in the category of what’s called a strong flour, like whole wheat or something similar. It sucks up the liquid, can be dense and chewy and makes better breakfast porridge than bread. A little oat flour goes a long way in any whole grain bread, gluten-free or not. A bread with a lot of oat flour  means making every other ingredient count toward lightening up the crumb. Three cheers for tapioca and white rice flour.

This original quick challah does suit some celebrating the Jewish holidays. But there are a number of folks who are gluten-free and also conservative or orthodox and wish to have a challah that meets important grain guidelines. Hopefully this recipe will be useful for your holiday table.

The trick to this challah is to make sure it gets mixed well and has the right consistency. It should be thick, but still a batter – like extra heavy-duty molasses pancake batter. It won’t pour but you can scrape it out of the bowl. If it mixes into a ball of dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl, then that’s your cue to add more liquid because if it bakes in that form, the crumb will be super dense and gooey.

I’ve worked the recipe into a really quick and easy version like the original quick challah. While it only requires 2 tablespoons, the Expandex Tapioca Starch makes a difference in the tear and crumb of the bread (but you can still make the bread without it). You can find some on Amazon here.

Use certified gluten-free oat flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill ) and the best tapioca starch you can find that doesn’t smell like metal or nickel (I prefer Authentic Foods but other brands will work just fine). Tapioca should be neutral. I also use superfine white rice flour but use the brand you enjoy. The tapioca and white rice flour help lighten up the oat but are still in the minority % in the flour mix.

Be sure to use sparkling mineral water with a low sodium content like Pellegrino (not seltzer). Those acids in the mineral water provide a function, helping the bread rise so don’t overlook that ingredient. And since you are adding your own salt, no need to do that in the mineral water.

Baking this challah one day ahead is also fine (that was a nice outcome of using oat flour because it helps the bread hold just the right amount of moisture) and storing it room temperature double wrapped in foil (not plastic) will help keep it tasty. To freshen up the bread like brand new, heat it for 10 minutes in a 300°F oven before serving.

Bake the bread in a tube pan (like this one) where the tube comes out (think chiffon cake). It makes the whole process easy because the bread will rise up pretty high and it not only looks great, it helps the crumb be less dense. Try not to use a dark pan because the bread crust will brown too quickly.

Also, this is a nice high protein bread between those eggs and oats – it’s actually pretty healthy. Here’s to a sweet new year filled with good things and a whole lot of baking.

L’ shana tova!

Gluten Free Oat Challah for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah Oat Challah
  • 275 grams GF oat flour (2 ¾ cups)
  • 160 grams tapioca flour (1 cup)
  • 40 grams superfine white rice flour (1/4 cup)
  • 20 grams Expandex Tapioca flour (2 tablespoons)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 14 grams instant or bread machine yeast (2 packets)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon guar gum
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 3 extra large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 120 grams neutral vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
  • 180 grams to 240 grams Pellegrino (mineral water) ( ⅔ cup to 1 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or poppy seeds
  1. Grease a 10-cup tube pan or round, tall sided baking pan with nonstick spray. Place the pan on a small baking sheet.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together oat flour, tapioca flour/starch, white rice flour, Expandex, sugar, yeast, xanthan gum, guar gum and salt until combined and the mixture is fluffed (yes, fluffed).
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, yolk, honey, and oil until emulsified. Using the paddle attachment blend 180 grams (2/3 cup) sparkling mineral water into the flour mixture. Add the egg mixture (scrape the bowl with a spatula to get every last drop) and let the mixture beat the dough until it is combined and looks like batter. If the dough is too tight and seems like a ball add a little more sparkling water and beat until it looks like very thick, somewhat elastic , but a lot like very thick pancake batter.
  4. Using a wet spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan smoothing the top as you go. Rap the pan on the counter top to eliminate any air bubbles or pockets. Place pan on the baking sheet, cover the pan with plastic wrap that’s been greased with nonstick spray and place the whole thing in a warm (not drafty) spot so the bread can rise. You’ll want the dough to get as close to the top of the pan as possible – let it rise two hours to two and half hours if necessary. Be patient – it will rise but the oats are strong grain and will need more time to get there. I like to set the whole thing in an oven with the light on (no heat) along with a small bowl of hot water which keeps it humid and toasty in there. When the bread has risen enough ( doubled in size, at least) remove the plastic wrap (and bowl of water if you used the oven). Brush the top (very gently) with the egg wash and add your choice of seeds. The egg wash will give it a nice challah color and the seeds are not only tasty but it makes it look like bread.
  5. Place the pan on the baking sheet in the oven and turn the temperature to 350°F. Starting from a cold oven is fine – it might even give it a little more lift (sometimes) and it’s easier. Bake 30-40 minutes (really depends on your oven, the pan – keep an eye on it). You will want to take the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer because it might seem baked but it should read about 205°F to 210°F for the oat challah to be fully cooked.
  6. The hard part is letting it rest until it is cooled. Remove the tube (if you have that kind of pan) or give it fifteen minutes and then remove from the pan onto a rack and let the bread cool completely. If you slice into it while warm it will be dense and slightly wet. It needs time to cool and dry out a bit. Best served the same day but you can wrap it up securely in foil and reheat the bread in a low temperature oven (300°F) for 10 minutes or so to refresh it.



  1. I’m looking forward to making this! THANK YOU!