Challah dough is incredibly versatile. You can make the perfect loaf for Shabbat dinner and then transform the leftovers into French toast for Sunday morning; stuff it full of pesto and cheese or wrap it around hot dogs for the perfect nosh. Challah can be sweet or savory, and shaped so many ways. It’s a miracle bread.
The dough can also be turned into perfect soft pretzels, which are (very obviously) one of the world’s most perfect comfort foods. Dip the shaped challah dough in a baking soda bath, give it a good egg wash and—voila!—you have warm, freshly baked soft pretzels. You can go traditional and add some pretzel salt, or have fun with toppings and sprinkle on everything bagel seasoning, za’atar or cinnamon sugar.
Notes: You can use whatever challah dough recipe you prefer to make. You will need a 1 lb piece of dough for this recipe. You can also easily double this recipe.
• 1 lb prepared challah dough (you can use whatever recipe you prefer)
• 2 Tbsp baking soda
• 1 large egg, beaten
• pretzel salt
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Divide challah dough into roughly 2.5-3 oz pieces of dough. Shape each piece of dough into a long rope, approximately 16-20 inches long. (Yes, you want it to be on the longer side in order to shape it.)
3. Create a semicircle and then twist the ends. Flip the ends up to form a pretzel and pinch the two end pieces onto the circle part of the pretzel. Repeat with all the pieces of dough.
4. Bring a large, wide pot of water to a rolling simmer. Add 2 Tbsp baking soda to the pot and a pinch of salt.
5. Working with 1 or 2 pretzels at a time, gently place the pretzel into the water and allow to sit 30 seconds. Using a spider, remove the pretzel and allow excess water to drip back into the pot.
6. Place pretzel onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat baking mat. Repeat process above with remaining dough.
7. Brush the pretzels with beaten egg. Top with pretzel salt (or other toppings).
8. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown all over.
9. Serve warm, with mustard or other dipping sauces.
Shannon Sarna is a contributing writer to Nosher and Kiddish Magazine.