Challah

Challah
A traditional challah recipe from my childhood friend Chani Wilhelm, a Lubavitch rebbetzin in Burlington, Vermont.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Warm Water
  2. 2 packages Dry Yeast
  3. 1/2 cup Sugar
  4. 1/4 cup Oil
  5. 1 Eggs
  6. 2 teaspoons Salt
  7. 7 cups Flour
Instructions
  1. Measure water into large warm mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle in yeast and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add sugar, oil, eggs, salt and half the flour.
  4. Mix until smooth.
  5. Mix in remaining flour, until dough is easy to handle.
  6. Place in large greased bowl (lightly grease top of dough) and cover loosely with aluminum-foil. Let rise for at least 2 hours.
  7. (Dough may be kept refrigerated overnight).
  8. When dough rises, punch down occasionally.
  9. Divide dough into three pieces.
  10. Divide each of the three into at least three pieces.
  11. Stretch each piece into a rope.
  12. Braid ropes until you have three loaves.
  13. Alternatively: Take handfuls of dough and shape or braid little Challah rolls.
  14. Place Challah Loaves or Rolls on Baking Sheets (leaving room for dough to rise).
  15. Let Rise until they double in size (approx 1 hour). Coat with beaten egg using pastry brush.
  16. Optional: add sesame seeds or poppy seeds to the top.
  17. Preheat oven to 350 and bake Challahs for approximately 20 minutes or until top is golden brown. (Baking time varies for larger Challah).
Notes
  1. In order to have enough dough to be able to do the Mitzvah of Separating Challah DOUBLE (4 C. Water, 4 Tsp Salt etc) all the Ingredients. ("Challah" has come to mean the braided loaves used on Shabbos but originally refers to the small piece of dough that we set aside) . Before the piece of dough is separated we say this Blessing: Baruch Ata A-Do-Nay Elo-haynu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidishanu B'Mitzvotav V'Tziyvanu L'Hafrish Challah. (Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate Challah). From underneath the foil cover, remove a small piece of dough and say: This Is Challah! Wrap it in foil, and place in oven. The custom is to burn this dough in remembrance of the gift given to the priestly tribe in days of old.
Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills http://www.bethshalombluehills.org/