Sift flour into an extra large bowl.
Add 1/2 c. sugar to the flour.
In a separate bowl, dissolve 1/2 c. sugar into the water.
Add yeast to the water. Stir gently to moisten all the yeast but do not mix. Allow the yeast to bloom 5-10 minutes. You will know it’s ready when a layer of foam has formed on top of the water.
Add 2 eggs, slightly beaten to the flour and knead until combined.
Add the water mixture to the flour and knead thoroughly. The dough should be sticky. If it is too dry to incorporate all of the flour, add additional warm water a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is moist enough to combine all of the flour.
Add the oil, knead to combine.
Add the salt, knead to combine.
Spray the dough with canola cooking spray and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in the bowl for 30-45 minutes.
Take challah portion, wrap in foil and and burn on a gas burner. See notes below.
Once the dough has risen, divide it into six equal portions. Spray your work surface with cooking spray and your hands as well to keep the dough from sticking.
Braid the dough and place it into medium size loaf pans lined with baking paper.
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. (Optional)
Allow to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Bake for 40 minutes. If using both oven shelves, be sure to rotate from top to bottom half way through baking time.
Allow challah to cook completely. Store in Renyald’s Oven Bags.