Round Challa

1 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon sugar

4 teaspoons dry yeast

8 cups  flour*

5 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

4 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

* I use regular flour + 2 teaspoons of gluten or bread flour

These quantities yield 2 very large challah. May be cut in half for 1 challah.

Shaping and baking:

1 egg beaten with a drop of water, for the glaze

Combine warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl.

Sprinkle dry yeast over. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Make a deep well in the center.

Place yeast mixture in the well.

Add remaining sugar, eggs, oil, honey, salt.

Knead, using an electric mixer (only a heavy-duty will do) or by hand until smooth, adding flour, a tablespoon at a time if sticky (usually not needed), 

I knead in a heavy-duty upright Kitchenaid using speed #2 for 7-8 minutes.

Place dough in a large greased bowl. Turn dough to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until double in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, cover and let rise again double in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough.

Turn dough out to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about one minute.

divide dough in 6, and make 6 strands.

Roll each strand back and forth between the palms of hands to form a 15" long rope.

Braid the strands into round  challah following the instruction in the video How to shape 6 braids round challah

Place challah on a baking pan, cover with a towel, and let rise again for about 1/2 hour.

Brush loaf with egg glaze.

Position rack in the center of a preheated oven at 375F.

Bake 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350F and bake until golden brown, about 25 min. longer.