There is a hot issue on the rise that will leave a knot in your stomach: challahs identifying as pretzels. In recent years, pretzel challahs have stealthily ingratiated themselves with unsuspecting balabustas who were all too eager to add some leavened levity to the Shabbat experience.
Relatively quickly, pretzel challahs transitioned from novelty to commonplace and are nearly as prevalent as bagels and babka. Nowadays, if you neglect to serve pretzel challah, it can result in hamotzi humiliation. Family members will cry, guests will scream and your rabbi might excommunicate you into lechem cherem.
If we’ve become so enamored with turning our challahs into soft pretzels, then why not complete the me(dough)morphosis? Why not store our pretzel challahs in a hot pretzel warmer, the kind with the spinning metal racks and glass door? Why not serve our pretzel challahs in those translucent paper pouches? Why not offer our pretzel challahs with spicy mustard and a cold beer?
The answer, of course, is that a Shabbat meal is not a ballgame just like sitting shiva is not a sit-in and Yom Kippur is not a hunger strike. We therefore cannot let pretzel challah completely steal the show. Pretzel challah must accept this reality or else some consumers might sour on pretzel challah, leaving it as nothing more than… sour dough.Jon Kranz