Mara Moorhead's Challah
6 c all purpose flour
2 pkg dry yeast (or loose equivalent)
1/2 c sugar
2 c hot water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
I egg beaten for egg wash
In a large bowl add 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine. Add hot water and blend with hand mixer. Add eggs, oil and 1 cup of flour. Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix with wooden spoon until dough comes together and pulls away from side of bowl. If dough looks wet, stir in another 1/2 cup of flour.
Turn dough onto floured surface and kneed for 10 minutes, adding additional flour as needed to keep from sticking. Form into a smooth ball and lightly dust top with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and then a dish towel. Let dough rest in a warm, draft free spot until it has doubled in size (about 2 hours).
Separate dough into three pieces for medium size loaves, two pieces for larger loaves. Shape challah into desired shape. Work with one portion of dough at a time keeping other pieces covered. When dough is shaped, place on greased cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise again for another 30 minutes. Alternately, you may place shaped dough on greased sheet in refrigerator uncovered for two hours to overnight.
Brush with beaten egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Dough will keep on counter for 2-3 days but freezes well.
For round challah: roll one portion of dough into one long rope, tapering ends and keeping it thicker in the middle. Coil dough.
For braided challah: divide one portion of dough into three equal parts. Roll into ropes and braid.