as many recipes as there are for this bread, there are also a myriad of ways to form it. one of the most complicated is the 6 stranded method. i often make it this way as i like the height that it gives the final loaf. it took me a while to figure it out as it is tricky. if you are easily frustrated, i say stick with a 3 stranded one.
here is a video of someone showing you how to do it. looks confusing at first but once you practice it a few times, it becomes easy. explanation follows ....
still confused? don't be. it's really only a repetition of two steps:
the basic order is this —
|(1) |(2) |(3) center area |(c) |(b) |(a)
six strands, 1 - 2 - 3 AND c - b - a
outer right (a) goes to outer left (becomes 1) and outer left (1) over to outer right (becomes a).
then, follow this order and repeat until the end:
1 ---> center area
b ---> outer left [becomes 1]
a ---> center area
2 ---> outer right [becomes a]
REPEAT these four basic steps until the end.
squish the loose ends together and tuck them under the loaf.
my advice is to practice with play dough until you get the hang of it. buy some or make your own.
update: i use this recipe, always successful (double it for two large challot or use 1 batch for two quite small ones or just one large) — another version here.