1/2 tumbler size glass hot water 1 tbls. yeast (or 1 envelope) regular not rapid rise 2 tbls. sugar (stir together and let it do its thing while you combine . . . ) 8 cups unsifted, UNbleached flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 tsps. salt Make a well in the center of the flour and pour sponge (frothy head, liquid, and all) into it. Cover sponge with some of the flour mixture. Add to this . . . 4 beaten eggs 4 tblsp. vegetable oil (canola, sunflower, etc.) Combine well with wooden spatula or spoon. Begin to knead by hand, adding water until all flour can be absorbed. Add water a little at a time. The weather (dampness) determines whether you need a little or a lot. Remove from bowl and continue kneading on a formica or stainless steel counter until the dough is smooth and springy (like a baby's bottom). Scrape the bowl clean. Pour a little oil into the bowl and return kneeded dough to it, lightly coating all the dough with the oil. Cover with wax paper and let sit for at least four (4) hours. . . . . . . When dough has risen double its original size, remove from bowl and punch down to get the air out. Kneed a little more. Divide into three equal amounts for three challahs. Braiding the challah: Divide the dough into four equal amounts. Set one lump aside and roll out three ropes with the remaining three lumps of dough. Braid these three ropes beginning in the middle, stretching the dough as you get to each end. This will give your challah a lovely shape. Repeat this process with the fourth lump that you had set aside, dividing that piece into three parts, rolling them into ropes, and braiding from the center out. Secure ends, and let rest for approximately 20 minutes on a greased cookie sheet. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. After this second rise, paint the challahs with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 1/2 hour. Remove from cookie sheet and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until challah sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool on baking rack. Shabbat Shalom! Eat and enjoy!!! Instructions for Making Challah with Young Children You will be making 40 cups of flour for 15 children. You will need five sets of: large mixing bowls cereal size bowls for mixing eggs measuring spoons & cups large spoons (to fill cups w/flour) large paint brushes Divide children into 5 teams of 3 each. There should be one older child in each group. Pour hot water into glasses and give one to each group. Assign one young child to be in charge of making and observing sponge. Another young child can measure the flour with older child supervising. Use handle of large spoon to level off cup of flour. Young child can also measure sugar. Older child should measure salt and oil. Young child can break eggs, older child beating eggs with fork. If a child is truly uncoordinated, let the child create own shape. However, with a little help, anyone can do a three strand braid. I have done this alone with about six children. Good luck. Seeing the look of pride on their faces when they see how large their challahs have risen in the oven is worth all of it. By the way, the older children can wash the dishes and younger dry. I have found (through desperation) that a hyper child makes an excellent dish washer. The warm, soapy water seems to calm them down (water therapy!). They should complete the clean up. Better give them 45 minutes for entire braiding and cleaning kitchen. Put challahs in oven as they leave. You can bake three at a time one one sheet.