Pretzel Challah (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)
2 1/2 cups Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
Salt to top
1 tablespoon margarine, melted
Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl and beat until well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for 5 to 8 minutes, until it’s soft, smooth, and elastic,
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 30 minutes.
To make the Pretzel Bath: While the dough is rising, prepare the topping in a shallow pan. Combine the boiling water and baking soda, stirring until the soda is dissolved. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm (or cooler).
Preheat your oven to 430°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into two equal pieces, and then those two into three strands. Braid into two medium sized challahs.
Put the challahs in the pan with the baking soda/water, spooning the water over their tops; leave them in the water for 2 minutes before placing them on the baking sheet.
Transfer the pretzel challahs to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with salt, if desired. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Bake the pretzel challahs for about 16-18 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. [If you only make one challah it should need about 18-20 minutes]
Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them with the melted margarine.