Friday, April 2, 2010

Do not fear yeast!

I used to fear yeast. It's such a strange ingredient. It can be at times unreliable and let you down. Never fear though! Once you get the hang of it yeast can be a staple ingredient in your pantry, perhaps it will one day worm its way into your heart as it did mine.

With Easter approaching I thought I would post a recipe for this fantastic bread I found on Last time I made them I served them with soup, but I think they'd go really nicely as the side bun for an Easter dinner. The photograph included is my personal picture of making the bread. It is possible to get that fabulous crust.

Also.. I used to make the dough for all of my bread in the bread machine then bake it off. Recently though my bread machine decided to throw in the towel so I've started making the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm going to modify the directions a bit to fit the Kitchen Aid way to make them.

Pretzel Bread:

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


1. Add yeast, water, milk, brown sugar and butter into your Kitchen Aid bowl (with dough hook on), 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 dough mat later. (I use about setting 2 to achieve this).
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently degas it. 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.
5. 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.
6. Cook the bread for 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.
7. Once removed from the oven, immediately brush the melted butter over the loaves to guarantee a soft crust.

This bread does involve a bit of extra work but trust me, it's definitely worth it!


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