This easy bread requires very little kneading. Make sure you use a thermometer to ensure the water temperature is Goldilocks-perfect.
1¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. water, divided
1 ¼-oz. package active dry yeast
½ cup honey
½ cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks, divided
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5¼ cups flour, divided
• Microwave 1¼ cup water on high until it’s 105 to 110 degrees, about 40 seconds. Pour the yeast into the warm water, stirring to dissolve. Let sit until the mixture becomes foamy on top, about 5 minutes.
• In a large mixing bowl, combine the honey, sugar, oil, eggs, 1 egg yolk, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and vanilla. Beat with a fork until well combined. Add the yeast mixture and stir again.
• Add 5 cups flour to the liquid mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until absorbed. The dough will be very sticky. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup flour onto a work surface and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and only slightly tacky.
• Wash, dry, then lightly oil the mixing bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover it with a clean dishcloth. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down, then let it rise again until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, and roll it out into long ropes on the floured surface. Braid the dough. Transfer the braided loaf to the prepared baking sheet, cover with a dishcloth and let rest 30 minutes.
• Mix the remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over the braided loaf. Bake the challah until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.