1 2/3 cup of warm water (105°F. to 115°F.) 2 tablespoons dry yeast (packet form) 1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
8 cups all-purpose flour 2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
Take 1/3 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar and place in a glass measuring cup and mix until the yeast dissolves. Let this mixture stand at room temperature until it starts to get foamy, about 8-10 minutes. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat the eggs until well blended. Add the oil, 1/2 cup sugar and salt and whisk until pale yellow and slightly thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Add 1 1/3 cups of warm water, then add the yeast mixture and beat until well blended.
Replace the whisk with a dough hook. Then add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form smooth looking dough. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic which should be about 5-6 minutes, adding flour a little at a time if the mixture becomes too sticky. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead 2 minutes on a well-floured surface. Lightly oil a bowl large enough to hold the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough with your fists and cover again with plastic and a warm towel and let rise 30 more minutes.
Grease two large baking sheets and cover the bottom with parchment paper.
Take the dough and place on a lightly floured surface and mix in the raisins by hand until evenly distributed in the challah. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and then divide each portion into 2 equal pieces making sure you have 6 equal portions. Roll each small portion into a nine-inch rope. Then braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining three pieces of dough forming a two-braided challah. Place each challah on a baking sheet and cover with a clean towel and let the bread rise until it is double in size, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 360°F.
Whisk 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons of water. Then brush the top of the dough with the egg mixture.
Bake the bread until it is a golden brown color, which should be about 30-35 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and let them cool.
Mitch was raised in a traditional Reform Jewish home near Boston. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Massachusetts and focused on a culinary career. Mitch worked at some of the finest kitchens in Boston including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, The Parker House and Le Meridien, achieving his goal of cooking with the best chefs in the world. In 1982 Mitch moved to San Francisco and cooked at some of the top restaurants on the West Coast as well. Mitch had a chance to work with other top chefs who introduced a new and lighter style of cooking to America, which became known throughout the United States as New American Cooking.
His destructive lifestyle, however, was detrimental to his career and he could no longer keep up with the high demands and pressures of cooking at the top. He was eventually fired from his job at Stars, once a top restaurant and one of the most creative kitchens in the country. He realized that his life was a wreck and prayed to God for the first time in years. The next day, he quit smoking and drinking. As Mitch began to trust God for the first time in his life, he talked with a Christian co-worker about the Bible and finally began to grasp the Gospel message. Mitch accepted Yeshua (Jesus) into his life in 1987.
Mitch now serves as Vice President of U.S. Ministries for Chosen People Ministries and oversees all recruitment, training, mentoring and leadership of the entire U.S.-based missionary staff. Mitch is married to Kina, a second-generation Jewish believer, and they have two daughters, Kaelee and Alana, and a son, Joshua.