Sephardic Spice Girls Challah Recipe

4 Tbsp active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp sugar
5 lbs high gluten bread flour, more as needed
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
1¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

1. Combine yeast, warm water and sugar in a glass bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside to proof for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the eggs, honey and oil and mix well.
3. Add the proofed yeast to the dough and mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too sticky to handle, gradually add a little flour.
4. Return dough to the large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Set aside to rise in a warm spot for one hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
6. Separate the dough into sections and braid into challah. Allow each challah to rise 15 minutes. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with toppings and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until challah is golden brown.
7. Allow challah to cool completely before storing.

Note: It is a mitzvah to make the blessing of Challah when baking 5 lbs of bread dough.
Transliteration: Baruch ata Adonai elo-hainu Melech Ha’olam asher kid’shanu b’mit zvotav v’tziva’anu l’hafrish challah.
Translation: Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to separate challah.
Separate a small piece of dough, approximately one ounce, and say: “This is challah.”
Burn the challah by wrapping it in a piece of silver foil and placing in the oven.

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