In the bowl of the bread machine place yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and warm water. Allow yeast to proof 5 minutes.
Add ½ cup sugar, eggs, oil, flour, and salt on top.
Put into bread machine and set to dough setting.
When entire dough cycle is done (approx 1 ½ hours) i like to leave dough to rise up to 30 more minutes until dough has risen to the top of the lid.
Remove dough from container and split into two.
Split the first ball into 3 (or more) strands and braid. Place braided loaf into greased pan.
Repeat with second dough ball.
Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with desired topping, if using.
Heat oven to 350ºF. Allow challah to rise while waiting for oven to heat.
Bake challah for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow challah to cool for 5-10 minutes then remove from pan allow loaves to cool on cooling rack.