Makes two large loaves
1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
½ cup neutral oil, we used organic canola
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water. You can do this in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, or by hand.
2. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour in full cup increments. If using a mixer, make sure to use a dough hook. When your dough holds together, it is ready for kneading.
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. This should take at least 5 minutes. The dough should feel firm and have a slight gloss to it. Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Afterwards, punch dough down, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.
4. To make a 6-braid challah: take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to one another. Try to make them all the same size. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with what is now the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a visual, you can watch a tutorial on YouTube to help see how the bread is braided.
5. Once your braid is done, tuck the ends underneath and pinch together. Repeat with second ball of dough to make two loaves of challah.
6. Place bread on a baking sheet lined with If You Care Parchment Paper or pre-cut If You Care parchment sheet. Brush with remaining egg and allow your dough to rise one final time for ~one hour.
7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375º
8. Brush the loaves with a second coating of egg wash and slide directly into the hot oven.
9. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Challah is very easy to dry out, so once it is mostly golden, remove and allow to cool completely.
10. Serve with honey, sea salt, and any other accoutrements. Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating!