Perfect for Sukkot, Shabbat, or just a good, family meal, this traditional Slow-Rise Sourdough Challah is a beautiful way to celebrate the goodness of sourdough bread.

Traditional Slow Rise Sourdough Challah #sourdough #challah #homemadebread #bread #traditional

For the love of bread.

It goes without saying that one of the hardest parts of being gluten-intolerant/celiac is giving up “real” bread. Yes, there are many fairly good options out there, including my family favorite Honey Flax Bread, they just don’t really measure up to the memory of gluten-full bread.

You can imagine the hope that surged within my heart when one of my good friends told me that her celiac daughter had eaten slow-rise sourdough and handled it just fine. Could it be? Was there hope for people who couldn’t tolerate gluten to eat “normal” bread again?

Sourdough hope.

I spent many months pondering whether or not it was possible for people with gluten issues to handle sourdough. It quickly became obvious that going to the store and buying a loaf of sourdough bread would result in all the normal plain and agony that came from me eating even a little gluten.
But what about traditional sourdough, i.e. sourdough that has been fermented for long periods of time, and not just bread with a little sourdough starter added to make it taste like sourdough?
A study done in 2010 showed that this traditional way of making bread cut the gluten content down so drastically that celiacs could consume it without any ill effects. However, we all know that just because we can eat something doesn’t mean we necessarily should.

It’s personal.

After all my in-depth sleuthing I decided the only way I could know for sure if I could handle sourdough was to try it myself… so I did. I have now been baking with traditional sourdough (made with whole wheat!) for about 4 years. The only time it has ever caused me issues where when I would eat it more than two or three times a week, or when I made the mistake of letting friends make sourdough for me.
That being said, even though I can handle traditional slow-rise sourdough without any issues doesn’t mean everyone who suffers from celiac can. My dad cannot handle any sourdough. Every body is different. Auto-immune diseases present themselves differently in different people. Sourdough may be a wonderful blessing for my family, but it may not be right for you!

Sourdough challah.

If you’re up for traditional sourdough, this sourdough challah is one of my family’s favorite recipes. And no, you don’t have to be Jewish or celebrate any biblical feasts to enjoy it. 😉 It’s a delicious bread that makes wonderful sandwiches, goes perfectly with soups, or my hubby’s favorite way to enjoy it: fresh out of the oven, slathered in butter.

If you need your sourdough to be made with gluten-free flours (yes, it’s totally possible!), check out my Gluten-Free Garlic & Herb Sourdough Crackers, or my Quick-Fix Gluten-Free Sourdough Pancakes!

Don’t know how to braid challah?

Check out this post by The Shiksa in the Kitchen. Or watch my not-very-good video here… Seriously, I kinda mess up and my 12yo’s finger is covering the frame, but it’s good enough for you to get the gist of it!

Wanna learn more about traditional sourdough?

If you’re interested in learning more about traditional sourdough and gluten intolerance, check out these two articles by Ann Marie over at Cheeseslave, and this one by Katharine Czapp, and this one by Mary Enig & Sally Fallon.

Perfect for Sukkot, Shabbat, or just a good, family meal, this traditional Slow-Rise Sourdough Challah is a beautiful way to celebrate the goodness of sourdough bread. #sourdough #challah #homemadebread #bread #traditional

In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!

Slow-Rise Sourdough Challah

Free from dairy and refined sugar.



In large ceramic or glass bowl, mix together starter, water, oil, honey, salt, and two of the eggs.

Add in salt and flour, one cup at a time. When dough is too stiff to stir, dump out onto floured table or board and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).

Place dough in clean, warm bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest 2 hours.

After two hours, divide dough into four equal sized balls. Roll each ball into a rope (about 12 inches long). Braid as shown in the video, or just do a regular brain, if you like.

Set braided loaf on lightly greased cookie sheet, cover well with plastic wrap, and let rise for 6 hours.

When risen, preheat oven to 350 and brush with egg whites. Sprinkle with sesame, chia, or poppy seeds, if desired.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until hollow went tapped.

Let cool before slicing.

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