Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Dissolve 2 packages yeast.
In a separate bowl, mix 2 eggs with 1/2 cup raw sugar. Mix in 1/2 cup oil.
Add yeast to egg mixture. Add up to 1 Tbsp. salt to mixture.
Alternate 8 cups flour and 2 cups warm water into mixture.
Place in oiled bowl (oil all sides of dough) and cover with a towel - place in warm oven (150 degrees F for 1 minute then turn off) until dough has doubled (approximately 1 1/2 hour).
Punch dough down - let sit for 15 minutes.
Remove a piece of the dough for the "challah" (see note below).
Shape the challah (makes 4 batches) and place on lightly greased cookie sheets, loaf pans, or pie pans.
Let the dough raise a second time in oven (150 degree F for 1 minute and then off) for 45 minutes.
If desired, beaten egg yolks, agave nectar along with sesame or poppy seeds, can be spread on top of the dough before baking.
After second raise, back in oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.
It is traditional to pinch off a piece of dough, the size of an olive, before shaping the dough. This is called "separating the challah." The separated challah is symbolic of the first portion which the Israelites were taxed to give the High Priests. The following blessing is said as the challah is separated: "Blessed art Thou O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who hath sanctified us by His Commandment, and hath commanded us to separate challah."