I got this recipe from the wonderful Molly Breslin. Baking challah, or any bread, from scratch isn't difficult, it just takes some time. Most of that time is spent waiting for the dough to rise. I like baking on Sundays, and I use the rising periods for short bouts of studying.
Shosh's Challah (2 loaves)
5 1/2 - 6 c. flour
1 T dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 t salt
6 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 c water plus 2 t
1. In a small bowl (#1), put yeast, 1 T sugar, 1/4 c water. Mix and
let it stand for 10 minutes or until it bubbles.
2. In bowl #2 put all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar; mix them well.
3. In bowl #3 put all wet ingredients: water, oil, egg, and the yeast mixture after it's bubbled; mix them well.
4. Mix everything together to make the dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour until you can handle it. Use your hands to mix and press the mixture until it forms a ball of dough.
5. Cover with a towel, and let the dough stand in a warm place for an hour or an hour and a half until it doubles in size.
6. Punch the dough to let out the air bubbles (this is the fun part!).
7. Let stand for 10 minutes.
8. For traditional-style challah, separate dough into six even
pieces, roll each piece into a snake either between your hands or on
the table, and make two braids. Turn the ends under so they look
pretty. You may need to keep a little flour out to keep them from
getting too sticky. Or, weave them into any design you like. Place
them on greased and floured cookie sheets.
9. Beat one egg in a small bowl. Brush both braids with egg. Let them
stand half an hour, and then
brush with egg again. If you
like, sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds after the second egg wash.
10. Let rise for an hour or an hour and a half until the loaves double in size. Be patient!
11. Heat oven to 375F.
12. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until the tops turn golden.
13. Eat all at once because it's so yummy that you can't stop yourself.