• 4 packets (or 8 tsp.) rapid rise yeast
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Add yeast, water and sugar to a small bowl and allow to rest several minutes until yeast bubbles.

  • 1½ cups honey
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1¼ cups oil
  • 1 egg

Mix the honey, salt, oil and egg in a large bowl and pour in the yeast mixture.

  • 4 cups water
  • 5–6 lb. bag sifted high gluten flour

Add flour, one cup at a time, alternating between flour and water, until you form a dough that is soft and not sticky. Knead the dough, the more the better.

Grease the dough with a little canola oil and cover it with a towel. Put the dough in a warm place. (I like to turn my oven on to 200° F and place the bowl on the stovetop above.) Allow dough to rise for 1½ to 2 hours. Pound it down, take challah, and braid. When you are done shaping the loaves, leave them to rise for 20 minutes. Brush with egg and topping of your choice. Bake at 350° F until golden brown, about 35 minutes. (Check the bottoms of the loaves: they should be browned and sound hollow when you tap on them.)

Sweet Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ to ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 capful vanilla extract (optional)

Mix with a spoon until crumbly and sprinkle over challah.

Honey or Maple Syrup Glaze:

Mix some honey or syrup in with the egg to brush over challah. For a more sticky glaze, egg the challah and bake. As soon as it comes out of the oven, brush liberally with honey or maple syrup.

Other Toppings:

  • sesame seeds
  • poppy seeds
  • chocolate chips
  • sprinkles or non-pareils
  • cinnamon sugar
  • brown sugar
  • za’atar
  • minced onion flakes
  • minced garlic flakes
  • “everything”—sesame, poppy, coarse salt, minced onion, minced garlic