Five variations on the classic braided egg bread

I started baking bread 15 years ago, when my son's first teeth were coming in and he was beginning to eat real food. Supple, buttery challah quickly became his favorite; for a year and a half he ate it every day. It's my favorite bread too--sweetened with honey and enriched with eggs, it has a heavenly taste and a feather-light texture. Challah has essentially the same ingredients as brioche, but it's easier to make and wonderfully versatile. As a voluptuous free-standing braid, it has graced Jewish tables for centuries of Sabbaths. But it can also be shaped into tender loaf bread for sandwiches and toast. The raisin-studded cinnamon-sugar version is a breakfast treat that's worth jumping out of bed for. And it's lovely as individual rolls. Fifteen years later, it's still my son's favorite bread--and his younger sisters' too.

Lauren Groveman is a cooking teacher and the author of Lauren Groveman's Kitchen: Nurturing Food for Family and Friends (Chronicle).