1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons dry yeast
8 cups flour*
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.