Homemade Pretzel Challah Bread

With the cooler weather, I’m craving piping hot, freshly baked bread out of the oven. I’ve pulled out my friend, Paula’s delicious, homemade Pretzel Challah Bread recipe to bake this week. 

The crispy pretzel crust sprinkled with coarse salt is a great complement to the soft inside of the bread! It’s fun making this with my kids, who love to knead the dough. If we can do it, anyone can!

Ingredients for Pretzel Challah Bread

*Makes one very large loaf or 2 smaller loaves of Pretzel Challah Bread

2 TBS Active Dry Yeast

1 TBS Sugar

1/2 Cup Lukewarm Water


3 TBS Sugar

1 TBS Fine Sea Salt

2 Cups Water

1/4 Cup Canola Oil


6 Cups Bread Flour (regular flour works too)


8 Cups Water

2/3 Cup Baking Soda

Coarse Salt to finish ( I used Himalayan salt from Trader Joes)

Directions for Pretzel Challah Bread

Place 2 TBS yeast, 1 TBS sugar and 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Allow it to proof for 10 minutes. Proofing is a term for the yeast and sugar working to form a bubbly foam from the Carbon Dioxide being released.

In another bowl, add 3 TBS sugar, 2 cups of water, 1 TBS of fine sea salt and 1/4 cup oil together and mix well.

Add bubbling yeast to liquid. Mix well.

Add flour and knead until a smooth dough forms. If it seems too wet, add 1/4 cup more flour. It should be moist but separating from the bowl and able to be formed somewhat into a ball. It will not yet look like it can be rolled out.

Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Form challah: Separate dough into three dough pieces and roll out to make long breadstick shapes. Braid loosely and pinch the ends to close off. Note: You can make two separate loaves if you want smaller, in which case you will separate into six pieces. My examples show one large loaf.

Take the 8 cups of water, add baking soda to a large shallow pan on high heat. Allow the water to come to a boil. Pay close attention here – this is the hardest part.

Gently place the challah into the pan- let sit 30 seconds on each side (use large spatulas which will make flipping bread easier). Then with two wooden spoons, take out and place on parchment paper covered baking tray (I used spray oil since I was out of paper).

Brush with the baking soda and water solution you just used.

Sprinkle coarse salt.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Since ovens can vary, keep an eye on it after 20 to make sure crust doesn’t over-cook.

Put on wire rack to cool.

Watch my 2.5-minute video of the process.  This delicious bread is easy to make!

If you liked this recipe, try my post on The Most Delicious Cranberry Scones.

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“Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt.” A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.