Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pretzel Challah

Mr. Incredible is a good sport when it comes to wearing ridiculous costumes of my choosing and asking him to pose for photos. Last year, I was obsessed with the show "The Tudors" and wanted to dress up as Queen Catherine of Aragon. He of course, had to be Henry VIII...he already had the red beard.

We were invited to a friend's costume party again this year. I liked the idea of coordinating costumes

so when I proposed the concept of him dressing as a Bavarian guy he seemed open to the idea.

Then the costumes arrived...

 ...and he put on the shirt...

...and then the knee high socks...

...and then the lederhosen.

Verdict: Not my favorite look on him.

But I did love my Fraulein dress with the double layered petticoat!

This is a picture of Mr. Incredible and I dressed as a Fraulein and Bavarian guy.

The Wurstfest is next weekend. I wonder if Mr. Incredible will want to attend in costume this year :)

In other news, I made pretzel challahs! These would be the perfect accompaniment to some beer cheese soup. Yum.

Pretzel Challah
from The Shiksa Blog

3/4 cup warm water 
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet) 
1 tbsp white sugar 
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 1/4 tsp salt 
1 egg 
2 to 3 cups flour 

Water Bath

4 quarts (16 cups) water 
1/2 cup baking soda 
1/2 cup dark brown sugar 
Corn meal for dusting the baking sheet 
Kosher or coarse salt for dusting 

Egg Wash

1 egg yolk 
1 tbsp cold water 
1/4 tsp white sugar 
1/4 tsp salt

Add warm (not hot) water, 1 tbsp white sugar, and yeast into a large bowl, whisk till combined. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes.

Whisk in oil, salt, and egg and beat till well combined. Begin adding the flour to the bowl by half-cupfuls, stirring with a large spoon each time flour is added.

When mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead. Continue to add flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. The amount of flour you will need to achieve this texture varies—only add flour until the dough feels soft and pliable.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Take the dough bowl out and punch it down several times to remove air pockets. Let it rise for 1 hour longer.

Flour a smooth surface like a cutting board. Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from feeling sticky.

Now it's time to braid your challah. For challah braiding instructions, click here.Make two smaller braids or form the dough into knots.

Line a large cookie sheet with a clean, dry, smooth kitchen towel. Place the braids on top of the towel and let them rise for 30-45 minutes longer. You’ll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into the dough and the indentation stays, rather than bouncing back.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a oval saucepan or roasting pan on your stovetop. The pan should be large, with an opening wide enough to immerse the entire challah. Dissolve the baking soda and 1/2 cup brown sugar into the boiling water, using a whisk to break up the baking soda and sugar that settles on the bottom of the pan.

Gently immerse the two braids in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Turn them once with a spatula to make sure both sides of the braid are evenly moistened by the boiling water. Use the spatulas to carefully remove the braids from the water and place them on the kitchen towel lined cookie sheet.

Prepare the egg wash, whisk together the yolk, water, sugar and salt till smooth.

Line another baking sheet, or two half sheets, with parchment paper. Sprinkle the parchment paper with a light dusting of cornmeal. Transfer the challah onto the baking sheets.

Brush the challahs evenly with a light, thorough coating of the egg wash. Dust the challahs with kosher or coarse salt to taste.

Bake the challah for about 30-40 minutes or until deep brown. Take them out of the oven and brush with melted butter (optional).  Serve warm.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. can i use instant dry yeast? i could not find active here in israel.

    1. Yes, just use 25% less instant yeast when substituting for active dry.

  3. thanks for putting up with all my questions! i'm living in israel and think this would be a fun twist on challah for my friends! do i add the instant yeast with the flour or just like i would the active?

    1. Hi Jamie,
      I would recommend dissolving it in liquid like you would for active yeast. It will give the yeast a good start :)

    2. great, thank you! i made it last night and it came out very good but a little heavy. this time, i dissolved it in the beginning like the recipe says, so i'll keep my fingers crossed! thanks again for all the information!

  4. oh you two look adorable...

    xoxo Wengie


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