Pretzel Challah

Jan Rood-Ojalvo
Recipe by
Jan Rood-Ojalvo

This pretzel challah is the perfect combination of history and religion: it's a family recipe that has been joyfully shared over the years and is a delicious celebration of Shabbat! The crusty ends are favorites on their own, and the chewy middle invites all sorts of spreads. The crunchy topping of salt adds a special kick to the whole loaf! 

1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
5 to 5 1/2 cups flour
pretzel salt (or extra coarse salt)
olive oil
  1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook (or by hand), mix yeast, water, sugar, and flour until dough forms a ball. Add water or flour, as needed.
  2. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place inverted bowl over dough and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  4. Punch down dough and divide into two parts.
  5. For each challah, divide dough into 3 equal parts, roll into ropes, pinch together, and braid. Pinch at the end and tuck ends under.  
  6. Place both challot on greased baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Let rise until almost double, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  7. Bake at 375°F  for about half an hour or until golden brown (loaves should sound hollow when tapped on bottom).
  8. Cool on rack.