Ok. So here is my famous Challah recipe. This is for the basic challah. experiment like I do...
Ingredients for two challah loaves.
1 1/3 cups tepid water
1 Tbs. (15g.) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
up to 4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt
First: Dissolve the sugar in the water then mix in and dissolve the yeast. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
Second: Mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Then mix in the egg and the oil and finally the salt.
Third: Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a smooth very slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes until nice and smooth. Add a little flour as necessary but make sure the dough stays a little sticky. If you add too much the bread will be heavy and dense.
Fourth: Move the dough to an oiled bowl turning in the bowl to coat the dough with oil, then cover and place in a warm place (the oven heated for 3 minutes to 50 degrees centigrade) until it doubles. This is about 1 and a half hours.
Fifth: Remove the dough from the bowl, punch down, and then shape into loaves. I divide the dough into two halves then each half into 3 or 4 pieces. Each piece becomes a 'snake' which I then braid into loaves. Place the shaped loaves onto an oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise until about doubled. This will take about 45 minutes.
Sixth: About 15 minutes before the bread finishes rising, start to preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Fahrenheit). When the bread is finished rising place in the center of the oven for about 22 minutes or so. The bread will get quite brown. It is done when you tap it on the bottom and it sounds hollow. Cool on a rack.
Once you have this down pat you can experiment.
Try using honey instead of the sugar. Or brown sugar (this will make brown bread). Or molasses (even darker).
Try using melted butter or margarine instead of the oil. Or try olive oil instead of the vegetable oil. (Richer)
Brush a slightly beaten egg (or just the yolk, or just the white) with a little water over the bread just before putting it in the oven. You can sprinkle it with sesame seeds or poppy seeds it you like. Or sunflower seeds.
Try mixing some raisins into the dough after the first rise. Or dried cranberries. Or some chopped walnuts.
Have fun!! It's delicious just plain or with any of the alternatives.