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Pretzel Challah Bread Recipe

There’s nothing wrong with traditional holiday recipes. In fact, we’re sure a majority of you look forward to certain Hanukkah staples every year like brisket and kugel. However, there is also nothing wrong with wanting to mix it up. You know, you could always “challah” at us for a great new recipe. If you’re looking for a twist (pun intended) on a classic Hanukkah food dish, check out the JCHC’s signature pretzel challah bread. We think your guests will enjoy this reimagined challah – especially if they spend a lot of time watching America’s pastime at the ballpark. 

Ingredients for 1 Loaf of Pretzel Challah Bread:

Step 1

  • Active dry yeast or bread machine yeast (1 tbsp.) 
  • Sugar (½ tbsp.)
  • Lukewarm water (¼ cup)

Steps 2-3

  • Sugar (1 ½ tbsp.)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Fine sea salt (¾ tsp.)
  • Canola oil (1/8  cup)
  • Bread flour (3 cups)

Step 8

  • Room temperature water (4 cups)
  • Baking soda (1/3 cup)
  • Coarse pretzel salt and/or sesame seeds
  • We recommend grabbing spicy brown mustard for dipping!

Directions to Bake Pretzel Challah Bread: 

  1. Grab a medium glass bowl. Place the yeast, ½ tablespoon of sugar and ¼ cup lukewarm water in the bowl. Make sure to “test” your yeast. It should show signs of life by already starting to expand, bubble or move. If none of those things are happening, you have to spill out the contents of the bowl and try again with new yeast. 
  2. Next, grab your stand mixer with the dough hook attached and mix the 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar, 1 cup of water, fine sea salt and canola oil on medium-low speed. This step can also be done by hand with a good ol’ whisk. 
  3. If your yeast passes the test, transfer the yeast mixture into your stand mixer bowl. With the mixer running at a low speed, add in the flour. Then, raise the speed to medium and knead the dough for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough feels nice and smooth with an almost matte appearance. If you are kneading the dough by hand, this step may take a few minutes longer to get the dough just right. 
  4. Cover the bowl of dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours or until the dough has doubled in size. 
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare for baking by lining a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. 
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured surface. If the dough is sticky, knead in flour a little at a time until it becomes easy to roll. 
  7. Divide the dough into 3 balls and roll each one into a long strand. Braid the challah using the 3 long strands of dough and place it onto a prepared baking sheet. Set aside to rise while you continue onto the next step. 
  8. Bring the 4 cups of room temperature water and baking soda to a boil in a pot. Make sure the pot you choose has a wide opening. Gently lower your challah into the water and baking soda mixture. Then, using 2 wooden spoons, carefully turn the challah so all sides receive an event coat of the mixture for about 30 seconds. 
  9. Remove the challah from the water and baking soda mixture and transfer it to the parchment- lined jelly roll pan you set aside earlier. Once on the pan, brush the challah with water from the pot and sprinkle it with pretzel salt and sesame seeds. 
  10. Bake your challah bread for 30 minutes and serve to your guests with mustard for dipping! 

Traditional Jewish Food and More at Lester Senior Living

The senior living residents at Lester have the option to eat in our spacious dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day if they so choose! Whether they are Jewish or not, residents can enjoy many staples from our culture like challah bread, matzo ball soup, latkes, and so much more. Our dining services team understands that some residents may have dietary allergies or preferences and will gladly modify any recipe to suit their needs. 

For more information about our dining services for seniors in Morris County, NJ, please give the team at Lester Senior Living a call today. You could also visit the JCHC website to learn more about what assisted living and independent living look like at one our our senior communities in New Jersey: https://jchcorp.org/