Yes…I shared with my dogs! And they gave this delicious bread an enthusiastic 3 paws up. They were all at my feet, pawing my leg and begging for another sample as the knife gracefully cut through the bread and hit the cutting board. But “feast” on this bread? A resounding NO. It’s too good for them. Period.
I’ve made Pretzels, Pretzel Bites, Pretzel Buns – and now – Pretzel Bread. Cue the singing angels! This bread is quite simply perfect. Firm [not hard], browned exterior…check. Salt encrusted…check. Soft insides…check. True pretzel flavors…check. There is no doubt in my mind THIS is the recipe I will now use for pretzel buns too. What amazes me most is this recipe was in a post dating back to 2007 on Two Bites in Suburbia. This is the recipe of blogger Mike, an aspiring chef. In my opinion, Mike was ahead of his time. He absolutely nailed a recipe mainstream home cooks didn’t attempt until the last couple of years. I’m so happy I found this recipe. I hope his 7 month silence on his blog means he has “made” it as a big time chef 🙂 If this recipe is any indication of his talents, the guy deserves it! We had this bread as grilled cheese, toasted with eggs and slice after slice right out of the oven. The only problem…lack of photos. Sorry! My only excuse is the pure excitement this bread gave me. I was thinking with my stomach and not my brain. Selfish I know. Only problem…not enough in one recipe. Next time I’ll double the recipe. Make your own this weekend. I mean, what’s better than homemade pretzel bread fresh out of the oven on a crisp fall day. How will you serve it?
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water, 110-120°F
2 Tablespoons room temperature milk
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter [allow to cool so not “hot”]
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 – 3 cups bread flour
4 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
Kosher salt to taste
2 Tablespoons melted butter
Add yeast, water, milk, brown sugar and butter into a large bowl, whisking until all ingredients are combined. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes for yeast to activate.
Mix in kosher salt. Start by adding two cups of the flour to the bowl, combining it with other ingredients. Add more flour as it’s needed, reserving just a bit for coating the work surface later. [Note: I added all but a mere 2 teaspoons or so of flour.]
The dough should form a slightly tacky, but firm ball. Oil the bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, knead the dough by hand or machine for at least 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and satiny. Place dough back in the bowl and recover for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and gently degas it [give it a poke or two and it will slightly deflate].
Form two separate balls of dough, forming them into the shape you want.
Drop one of the smaller balls into the baking soda bath for no longer than 30 seconds, turning it once to guarantee both sides covered. Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with second ball of dough.
Sprinkle the kosher salt over the bread to your specific tastes, and make sure to use a knife to cut a small incision on the top of the bread so the dough has somewhere to expand.
Cook the bread for 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.
Once removed from the oven, immediately brush the melted butter over the loaves to guarantee a soft crust.
This is where I found the recipe: http://twobites.wordpress.com/2007/07/13/signature-pretzel-bread/