* 10 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (maybe more)
* 2 tablespoons salt
* ½ cup raisings (optional)
* ½ cup sugar
* 2 heaping tablespoons yeast
* ½ pound pareve margarine, melted
* 2½ cups warm water
* 7 eggs at room temperature
* Sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to warm (140 degrees F.)
2. Mix the flour, salt, and raisings, if using, in a large bowl, making a well in the center.
3. Add ¼ cup sugar to the well, cover with the yeast, and top with the remaining ¼ cup sugar.
4. Mix the yeast with the sugar in the well.
5. Add the melted margarine and warm water slowly, mixing well.
6. Add the margarine mixture to the yeast mixture and work in well with your hands.
7. Set aside 1 egg plus the yolk of another. The orthodox way is to break each egg individual into a cup, lest blood be found, in which case the egg in not kosher.
8. Add the remaining 5 eggs (plus the white of the separated egg) individually to the bread dough, kneading well after each addition, until all the flour is absorbed (about 10 minutes). As you knead, you may have to add more flour, so have some handy. You can divide the dough into about 4 parts and knead it in a food processor, using the steel blade.
9. Cover the bowl first with waxed paper smeared with margarine, then with a towel, and put in the warm oven for ¼ hour.
10. When the dough has almost doubled in size, punch it down and knead thoroughly and briskly for about 10 minutes.
11. Cover with the greased paper and towel and let rise for 15-20 minutes more in the warm oven, until it is almost doubled again.
12. Remove once more, punch down, knead again for 5-10 minutes. Re-cover and let rise once more for 15-20 minutes in the warm oven.
13. Turn the dough onto a pastry board and knead thoroughly. Using a knife, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Then divide each piece into 6. Add a little flour, and knead each portion, and shape it into a ball. Cover the pieces not being worked on with a moist paper towel.
14. With the palm of your hand, roll out the balls into long ropes about 9 inches in length. Continue until all 6 balls are shapes into ropes.
15. Place all the ropes side by side, touching at one end. Pinch that end to seal well. Bring the extreme right rope over the next three; then bring the extreme left over three. Continue until the bread is completely braided. When no more can be braided, pinch the ends to seal together. Shape to the size of the pan. Braid the remaining 3 loaves.
16. Brush with the remaining egg yolk, making sure you get into all the cracks. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
17. Place the bread in greased and floured 4½ X 10-inch pans or other rectangular bread pans.
18. Place in warm oven for 20 minutes.
19. Raise the oven temperature to 200 F. for 15 minutes.
20. Raise it to 275 F. for 15 minutes
21. Finally, raise the oven temperature to 375 F. for 10-15 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. The baked hallah freezes well.