I blogged recently about my foray into pretzel rolls, which were a big hit. I began wondering, if you can make pretzel rolls…..why not a pretzel challah? A google search confirmed that a bakery in Los Angeles offers this delicacy, and that Suzy Fishbein includes a version in one of the Kosher By Design books. So, this past shabbat, when we were invited to friends for a meal and I didn’t have to cook anything else, I thought I’d try my hand at a pretzel challah.

I used the same dough recipe as I used for the rolls, which you can find here. (I replaced the butter with pareve margarine.) I mixed the dough in my bread machine and put two raw challah loaves into the refrigerator for a slow overnight rise. (I do this fairly often so that we can have hot-out-of-the-oven challah for dinner, but in this case I thought it was crucial, since pretzel rolls are not very good the day after.) I took them out of the oven at lunch time (it’s great to work around the corner from my house) to bring them to room temperature.
pretzel challah
Pretzels need to be poached briefly in a baking soda solution. (See the recipe for details.) This is the part I was concerned about – I was afraid the challah would fall apart. I pinched the ends tightly before gently sliding the challahs into the water. I poached them one at a time and used two spatulas to retrieve them. Don’t be concerned when they deflate slightly in the water!
I was concerned that the baking temperature of the rolls might lead to a challah that wasn’t fully baked so I lowered the temperature to 375. I’m going to continue to experiment with the baking temperature, but 375 seemed fine. They baked for about 30 minutes.
Here’s the final product, coated with egg and kosher salt.
pretzel challah2

The were crusty on the outside and chewy inside, just as I had hoped. We served them with a few kinds of mustard, and they were devoured. Quickly.
I wouldn’t want this kind of challah every week – I’m a sucker for tradition – but once in a while these make a nice change of pace. Let me know if you give them a try!
p.s., have you checked out my latest piece on Kveller?
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