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Pretzel Bread October 3, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in bread.
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Pretzels.  I eat them almost every day between 10:30 and 11am as my “second breakfast.”  My favorite bagel is the Bruegger’s pretzel bagel (with a slice of swiss!) No matter how many pretzels I eat each week, I’ll never get sick of nice warm pretzel bread.  Trader Joe’s has nice little pretzel rolls, but by the time they leave wherever they are baked and reach the store, they are sort of moist and cold and if you are me, you believe there has to be a better way to get that warm pretzel deliciousness besides heating up a TJ’s roll in the microwave.

I started googling pretzel bread recipes a while back and put this recipe, from Two Bites in Suburbia, on my “must make soon” list.  Today ended up being that day.  This recipe takes a while, but don’t let that deter you.  There’s a lot of waiting time, so if you are going to be around the house for a while you could get plenty done while making time to make this bread.

This was my first attempt at making this bread and I definitely learned from it. Things I would do differently next time:

  • Knead it longer in the final step (I kneaded for 3 minutes with a KitchenAid, would probably do 4 or 5 minutes)
  • Boil the finished dough for 30 sec per side (I did 30 sec total this time)
  • MORE SALT!!! (in both the dough and on top) Put more on than you think you want.
  • I’d slash the final loaf deeper before putting it in the oven.  My crust turned nice and golden but cracked  on top, and I think it is because I didn’t slash the boiled dough enough, giving it inadequate room to expand

Mike’s Signature Pretzel Loaf
(Printable Recipe)
(From Two Bites in Suburbia)

pretzel bread

Ingredients:

2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 cup water (110-120 degrees)
2 Tbsp room temperature milk
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt
2 ½ – 3 cups bread flour

4 quarts water
½ cup baking soda

Kosher salt to taste
2 Tbsp melted butter

Method:

First, gather up your ingredients.  You’ll want to use bread flour, and dark brown sugar is preferable (I didn’t have it).

pretzel bread ingredients

Start by proofing your yeast.  I used active dry yeast (one small packet, or 2 1/4 tsp). Melt 3 tbs butter and mix in with warm water (110-120 F), brown sugar, and milk. If your water is too cool, the yeast won’t bubble.  If it’s too hot, it’ll kill it.  You can use a thermometer for best results or just run tap water until it feels like bath water to the touch.  Whisk the water, yeast, melted butter, and milk together in a large bowl and let it set for 10 minutes.  The yeast should start to bubble:

yeast bubbling

When the ten minutes is up, stir in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the bread flour. Start with two cups, and add more as necessary (no more than 2  1/2 – 3 cups total). Mix well.  Remove the dough from the bowl, oil the bowl, and place the dough back in the bowl.

dough

Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for 30-45 minutes.  Our house is on the chilly side today (67F) so I put the covered bowl in the oven with the oven light on (just the light, not the oven!).

oven light on

After 30-45 minutes, peak under the towel.  The dough should’ve risen, about doubled in size:

risen dough

At this point, you will need to knead the dough.  If you are kneading by hand, knead it for 5-10 minutes.  If you have a KitchenAid mixer, put the dough hook on, lightly oil the bowl, and knead it with the dough hook for 3 minutes or so. After you are done, it should be elasticy and have a slight sheen to it.

dough with sheen

Put it back in the oiled bowl, cover it, and let it rise for another hour.

It should get nice and puffy:

puffy dough

During the final part of the rise, start your boiling water.  Put 4 quarts/16 cups of water in a large pot and mix in 1/2 cup of baking soda.  Bring to a boil.  When the hour is up, gently take the puffy dough from the boil and place in the boiling water.  Turn it after 30 seconds, allowing it to boil for 20-30 seconds per side. This is the crucial step for giving the bread the final golden pretzel color and crust.

dough in water

Carefully remove the dough from the boiling water and place on a piece of parchment paper.  Slash the top of the boiled loaf to allow room for the dough to expand while baking.  Sprinkle the top with kosher salt to taste.  You’ll probably want to put more salt on than you think you’ll want—I thought I put a lot on but wished I had more when it was done.

before baking

Alright, now put that dough in the oven!  I baked mine in an uncovered dutch oven but a baking sheet would be fine.  Keep it on the parchment paper, no matter what you do.  I made a single loaf and baked it for about 50 minutes at 400F.

bread after baking

(Printable Recipe)

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