I have a child who is allergic to eggs but the rest of the family loves the taste of typical egg-challah so I had to come up with a recipe that did not have eggs but tasted like it did. Here's the result. Most people never believe that there aren't any eggs in it.
2½ cup water - warm to touch
2 cup water - warm to touch
4½ Tbsp yeast
1½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 cup oil
5 lb flour
2 Tbsp salt
11/1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp Maple syrup for glaze
2 Tbsp water to mix with syrup for glaze
Put an oven proof bowl/pan of water on lower rack of oven. Preheat oven to warm and then TURN OFF.
In a measuring cup mix together yeast with 2 ½ cups water and a little sugar. Set aside to proof (become bubbly).
In a large bowl, pour in a little more than ¾ of the bag of flour, the sugar, salt, honey, oil, and vanilla.
Add the proofed yeast and the rest of the water (2 cups). With your hands or a mixer if preferred, mix all ingredients until forms a warm, sticky but smooth dough, about 5 minutes.
Add more flour if necessary (probably another cup or two but ideally the dough should be somewhat sticky.
Put dough onto floured surface and knead for a couple more minutes. (I don't have a good surface to work on so I tend to keep the dough in the bowl to knead.)
Place dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place into warm oven. (I like to put it on top of a cookie sheet in case it rises over the bowl.)
Let rise until doubled in size (1 ½ to 2 hours).
Then punch down the dough and perform the mitzvah of separating challah with a blessing.
Working on a floured surface shape dough into challah, should make about 5-6 good sized challot.
Place onto greased cookie sheets and let rise another 30 minutes. Remove pan of water from oven.
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly brush top with maple syrup mixed with water and bake about 25 minutes until golden. ENJOY!