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Carol's Challah

Most challah recipes don't have a first two hour rising time.  This is a fairly cake-like recipe that really needs that two hours initial rising, or else you'll end up with a very heavy loaf!

1 1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs (save some for glazing or use an additional egg)
2 cups flour (it takes 5 to 6 cups for the recipe)
4 tsp. salt (could reduce to 1 tbsp)
2 pkgs. yeast  (equiv. to 4 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 130º.  Soak eggs in hot water to bring to room temperature.  
Dissolve yeast in warm water,.  My yeast calls for adding some flour and sugar to activate it.  I use 1/4 cup of the sugar for this.
In a large bowl, place two cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, eggs, and oil.  Add remaining flour a cup at a time.  After 5 cups, you should be able to remove from the bowl and place the dough on a nonstick surface.  I use backing parchment paper to knead and bake on.

Knead until smooth and elastic (not sticky), add flour as you go.  About 8 to 10 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl and turn greased side up.  Cover with baking paper, towel, etc.  Let rise in a warm place until double in  bulk - about two hours.  Indentation should remain when touched.  Punch down and shape into two loaves.  Can be put into loaf pans or braided.  Let rise for 1/2 hour, glaze gently.  Bake at 350º for 35 to 40 minutes..  Cool on a wire rack.

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