2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons flaxseed
3/4 cup water
6 to 9 cups unbleached white flour (or for wheat challah, replace 1/2 with whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons salt
3 ounces vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional for color)
Raisins (optional, but include for Rosh Hashanah challah)
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water. Use a thermometer, if possible. Otherwise, add 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup cold water. Add 1/4 cup sugar, and allow the yeast to work for about 10 minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
2. Place flaxseeds and water in a blender and blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture is the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Or grind the seeds in a spice mill or coffee grinder; place ground seeds and water in bowl of food processor and beat to desired consistency. (Alternately, you can use egg replacer equal to two eggs.)
3. Place 6 cups of flour, salt, remaining sugar and raisins (if using) in a large bowl. Add flaxseed mixture, oil and yeast. Mix until dough forms, adding more flour if needed. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, flour your hands, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary until the dough no longer sticks to the board or your hands.
4. Oil a deep bowl. Put the dough in it, turning to grease it on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or with plastic wrap, and allow it to ruse for about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
5. Punch down and allow to rise a second time. Punch down again and knead briefly. Use a heavy, sharp knife to cut dough in half. Cover one half while you shape the first loaf.
6. Braid the challah. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together.
7. Place both shaped loaves on oiled baking sheet. Cover and allow loaves to rise again.
8. Preheat oven to 350°F.
9. For a crisp crust, brush loaves with cold water before placing in oven. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, unitl only lightly brown on top.
Cool loaves on a cooling rack.
Originally found here
Picture found here
Posted on Shalom Adventure by: Verna-Lee Small