In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 of the eggs and salt. Add the flour in small amounts, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a clean damp cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snakes about 4cm in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and plait from middle.
Grease two baking trays and place finished plait on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each plait. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
Bake for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.
Used different ingredients.
I have made this before, but just yesterday figured out how to make it perfect. I halved the recipe and and altered it as follows: (1) I used 2 1/2 tsp yeast [this means you have to reduce proof time by about a half], (2) used 8 tablespoons of honey instead of 4, (3) used one whole egg plus three yokes [this gives it more challah-like taste], (4) I added about a tablespoon of honey to the eggwash, and (5) I reduced baking time by about 6 or 7 minutes, making sure to cover the challah with aluminium foil after about the first 20 minutes, to prevent too much browning. This came out magnificently and I suggest these alterations to anyone who likes a slightly sweeter and eggier challah! - 14 Jul 2008
When I started making challah on Friday nights, I searched for over a year for a good recipe. I actually bought cookbooks with one challah recipe in hope that it would be "the one". Then I found this recipe. It is without a doubt, the best challah I've ever made (and much better than the shop-bought ones). It is especially wonderful with sultanas and topped with cinnamon and sugar. One caveat though: be careful about the baking time. Mine never takes more than 25 minutes in the oven. - 14 Jul 2008
REALLY GREAT!!! When i found that my usual bakery was out of the round challot for Rosh Hashana, i made this recipe simply by searching for "honey challah" in a search engine. After years of fruitless attempts at making challah that were either too yeasty or just tasteless and hard, this is a REAL WINNER, and my kids think so too!!! Thanks so much! - 14 Jul 2008