Ah, the challah RECIPE you say??
For Evan, by request.
I typically use my aunt's recipe that I've been enjoying for 20 some odd years. And by my aunt's recipe, I mean, she is a person who eyeballs everything, uses a plastic cup to scoop flour out of an enormous barrel, and generally amazes me with the consistency of her food. This recipe uses a whole 5 lb bag of flour, and I almost ALWAYS half it (using 2 eggs). I will continue to half it until I have two ovens. Dear That Day, when will you be here?
5 cups of warm water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 packets of yeast
Combine the above and let bubble (5-10 minutes). If it doesn't bubble, your yeast is no good.
1/2 cup of oil
2 tablespoons of salt
~5 pounds of flour, added gradually. I use my Kitchenaid with the dough hook attachment until it balls up, then I put it onto a floured surface and knead some more, adding flour until it's smooth and not super-sticky to the touch.
Take that ball of baby challah flesh and put it in a large bowl (some lightly oil the bowl), cover it (with a damp towel or plastic wrap) and put it in a warm place. I've let mine rise on the balcony, and also in the cabinet area above our oven--if anything else is cooking (like cookies!) it's toasty in there. You want it to double in size, pretty much (see above).
Sometimes I let it rise for 1 hour. Sometimes after an hour I punch it down and do another hour. I've also just done 2 hours straight with no punching. Do what you have time for and test it out! Make sure your bowl is big enough so the blob doesn't take over your kitchen.
Braid*, then egg wash (I use just egg, some use egg + water + salt) and bake--don't let it sit too long after it's been egg washed, it'll deflate and get weird.
Bake until golden on top at 350 degrees, watch the bottom so it doesn't burn. When it's done, you will tap the bottom and it will sound hollow. Also, if you bake challah somewhat frequently, you will burn your forearms. It's a fact!
*Click here for some background on "taking" challah and the blessing over it.