Recipe for Classic Challah


2 each pk active dry yeast
2 cup warm water (110 to 115f)
1/4 cup sugar (plus a pinch)
1/4 cup safflower or vegetable oil
2 each tb salt
4 each eggs
8 cup flour
3 each tb yellow cornmeal
1 single sesame or poppy seeds


Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water with a pinch of sugar. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the remaining 1 1/2 cups warm water, 1/4 cup sugar, oil, salt, and the yeast mixture. Add 3 of the eggs and blend well. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, blending after each addition, until the dough is thick enough to work by hand, 4 to 5 cups. Spoon the dough out on a floured board and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding additional flour to make a smooth and elastic dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and oil the top of the dough. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough, turn it over, cover, and let it rise 30 minutes longer. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Divide each part into 3 parts. This will make 3 individual challahs. Form each part into a long rope. Pinch together one end of each of the 3 ropes and braid the ropes, pinching the other ends together. To shape for Rosh Hashanah (round challah): Using one third of the dough, form into a large rope, 12 to 15 inches long and several inches thick. Starting in the center, begin making concentric circles of the rope until a large snail-shaped is created. Seal ends. Place the round challah in a large cake pan, oiled and generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Place the individual challahs on baking sheets or in bread pans lightly greased and generously sprinkled with corneal. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375F. Brush with the remaining egg, lightly beaten, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on racks.

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