A wonderful, light, soft, and beautiful challah bread. You will not be able to get enough of this bread. Try it with peanut butter and banana or as french toast.
Challah is easier to braid than you think, and it's even fun! Your mouth will water as it's baking. Enjoy!
Yields 1 loaf
3/4 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
3 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
7/8 cup water
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1/2 tablespoon sugar in the lukewarm water.
2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour 1/2 cup at a time. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading (you may not end up using all the flour).
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Grease the bowl, then return dough. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
4. Form the dough into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of all 6 strands together. Then:
Move the outside right strand over 2 strands.
Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right.
Take the outside left strand and move it over 2.
Move the second strand from the right over to the far left.
Start over with the outside right strand.
Continue this until all strands are braided, then tuck ends underneath. Place braided loaf on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.
5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaf. Let rise another hour.
6. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaf again.
7. Bake in the middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a rack before enjoying.