Street Corner to Kitchen, Sea Salted Soft Challah Pretzel Rolls from Joy of Kosher

I joked with a Jewish friend that with September being chockfull of Jewish holidays it felt like a way to slowly transition from summer to fall, extend the summer season.

Today (September 27) is Simchat Torah and it seems a good time to share sneak preview from Joy of Kosher (William Morrow, October 2013) by Joy of Kosher Jamie Geller.

Sea-Salted Soft Challah Pretzel Rolls

Kosher Status: Pareve • Prep: 30 minutes • Bake: 10 minutes •
Cool: 5 to 10 minutes • Total: About 50 minutes • Yield: 16 pretzels • photo on page 339

When I was a kid back in Philly, guys used to stand on the street corners every Sunday selling soft pretzels. We’d stop at a red light, wave a dollar bill out the window, and they’d run over and drop a bagful of them into our outstretched hands. The pretzels were shaped like figure eights and then purposely squished together so there were no holes.
There would be four of them, attached to one another, stuffed into the bag. Imagine: four for a dollar—that was a long time ago.
Fast-forward to my Shabbos table as Hubby dips my challah into kosher salt and says, “This tastes like a soft pretzel.” Lightbulb moment. I’m back at the street corner in Philly.
Why not go all the way and shape my challah dough into pretzels? Even though this is not traditional pretzel dough, we’re going to make the traditional pretzel shape, but hey, the dough swells up in the oven and there are no holes, just like Philly pretzels! Think of me when you make ’em.
I suggest serving these with mustard. I strongly suggest spicy mustard. I happen to love it. But that’s up to you! You can also serve them dipped in melted butter if you’re feeling really naughty (and dairy).

2 pounds Basic Pull-Apart Challah dough
(page 323)
Cooking spray
1⁄4 cup baking soda
2 cups hot water
1 large egg
2 tablespoons coarse flake sea salt
Mustard, for serving (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Place the dough on a smooth work surface. Cut the dough in half so it is easier to handle. Loosely cover one piece of the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap while shaping the other. Squeeze out any air bubbles from the dough and roll it into a 15-inch rope. If the dough is sticking, lightly spray your work surface with cooking spray. Cut the rope into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18- to 20-inch rope.

3. Make a U-shape with a rope on the work surface. Holding the ends, twist them together, and bring the ends down, pressing them onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

4. Combine the baking soda and hot water in a large bowl; whisk to dissolve. Using your hands or a large flat spatula, dunk the pretzels into the water, one at a time, completely immersing and soaking it for about 10 seconds. Remove the pretzel from the water and return it to the baking sheet.

5. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush the pretzels with the egg mixture, sprinkle with the salt, and bake until dark golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan and serve warm, or carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with mustard.

(* Recipe from Joy of Kosher by Jamie Geller- Published by William Morrow, October 2013- all rights reserved)

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