2 cups warm water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbls salt
1 packet instant dry yeast
6 – 8 cups flour
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven at 180 C.
Oil a large bowl well for the dough.
In a separate bowl, mix the warm water and yeast and whisk it, let it stand a few mins.
Add other ingredients into large bowl, make well in middle and add the yeast.
Mix and knead well till smooth and soft dough is formed.
Add raisins at this point if required (I only use raisins on festivals).
Place the dough in a warm place with a towel covering or even cling wrap.
Leave to rise – can be 2 – 3 hrs depending on the warmth.
Take out, bash down and knead again to remove all air bubbles.
Place back in bowl and let rise again (not as long).
I repeat this again to get a really fluffy, light dough.
Once done, on a floured surface, divide in half.
This quantity is enough for 2 large challah (2 required at the table).
Take the one half, cut into 3 equal balls and roll each ball into long smooth “strings”.
This will be for the braid.
Nip all 3 at the top, braid and nip at bottom tucking in to give even edges. You can wait about half an hour for them to rise again.
Place on baking tray, paint well with an egg and bake for approximately 20 minutes depending on your oven.
For the High Festivals, we use the same recipe only that the challah should be round.
This symbolizes the circle of life or a complete year.
There are many ways to braid and to make round – use your artistic flair.
Recipe Credit: Rebbetzin Weinberg (with my interpretation)
Prepared, tried and tested by: Hannah Frank Witt