1/2 cup plus one tablespoon lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons dry yeast
3 cups bread flour ('all purpose' may be used also)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Shaping and baking:
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1 egg beaten with a drop of water, for the glaze
Combine 1/4 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl.
Sprinkle dry yeast over. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
Sift 2 3/4 cups flour into large bowl. Make a deep well in center.
Place yeast mixture in the well.
Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar, eggs, oil, honey, salt.
Stir ingredients, gradually
adding remaining 1/4 cup flour.
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), about 7 minutes by hand, or 3-4 minutes by an electric mixer).
Place dough in a large greased bowl. Turn dough to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm, draft free area until double in volume. Test by pressing two fingers gently
into dough; if indent remains after removing fingers, dough has risen completely, about 1and a half hours.
Punch dough down, cover and let rise again in warm, draft free area until double in volume, about 1 hour.
Shaping and baking:
Oil a large baking sheet.
Punch down dough.
Turn dough out to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about one minute.
Roll dough into 9x12" rectangle.
Sprinkle raisins evenly over the dough and press gently to adhere.
Roll up dough tightly, starting at the 12" side. Roll dough back and forth between palms of hands to form a 32" long rope.
Form dough roll into spiral shape on prepared baking sheet. Tuck end of rope underneath spiral.
Cover dough towel and let rise again for about one hour.
Position rack in center of preheated oven at 375 degree F.
Brush loaf with egg glaze and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake until bread sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 25 min. longer.
Transfer to rack and cool completely. Makes one very large loaf.
For Alternative, even more festive challa use shaping instruction below