So, I’m well aware that I have kind of done this before. One of my first posts on this blog was for German Pretzel Rolls, which I guess are essentially pretty similar to Pretzel Bread, but I make no apologies. Why? Because pretzels are my favorite things ever, as you may have already known from the 5 pretzel-related posts I’ve done in the past year in which I mention my pretzel obsession. (By the way, I would have 2 more pretzel posts if my work camera didn’t get stolen back in April.)
Obviously I love pretzels. I love pretzels so much that, as I’ve said before, I would make variations of them for the blog all the time if you wouldn’t get sick of them. I would eat pretzels for every meal. I would live in a house made of pretzels, with salty pretzel walls and warm pretzel beds. Shh. Don’t tell me I’m taking this too far.
I said don’t.
Anyway, as your resident pretzel-guru, I have to say that all of you fellow pretzel lovers out there need to make this Pretzel Bread immediately. Sandwiches will never be the same.
Speaking of sandwiches, you should make this bread today because (SPOILER ALERT) I’m posting a recipe for Tomato Bacon Bisque tomorrow, and if you dip Pretzel Bread Grilled Cheeses in Tomato Bacon Bisque, something magical happens. It’s like your taste buds become 10,000 teeny tiny Belinda Carlisles and they all start belting out the “Heaven is a Place On Earth” chorus. That sounds kind of frightening but it’s actually wonderful when you experience it in real life.
Side note: I have the sleepy hahas right now, so I realize that everything that I’m writing is ridiculous but I really don’t have enough brain power to fix it. I’m feeling awfully goofy. I’m a little sorry for that.
By the way, I didn’t know we had 10,000 taste buds, but because Google is my best pal, we now have that fun fact to try and incorporate into our conversations today. I also found out that we apparently have highly salt-sensitive taste buds on our lips. I knew you’d be as curious about that as I was, so I tested this theory by pouring a mound of table salt in my palm and pressing my face into it. Don’t try it for yourself; the results are disappointing.
So anyway, yes, the sleepy hahas have taken over, but I can’t go to sleep until I write at least the majority of this post. I need to get it out there as soon as possible so you can make it as soon as possible. That’s how good this bread was. It was so good that I am sacrificing my current sanity in order to get you the recipe.
You might think that making bread is too difficult for you to bother with, or that making pretzels must be a pain, but it’s really not that hard at all. Sure, there are several steps, but it’s not hard. If I can do it and not mess it up, so can you! You might be saying, “But Morgan, you’re a food blogger! How can you say that?” And the answer is that I cook a million things a week and ruin nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-seven of them. Then I post the three things worth sharing. This was worth sharing. Don’t doubt yourself, just make the dough and go from there. Your family and friends will thank you.
- 1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 lb + 1 oz bread flour (~4 cups)
- 8½ oz white whole wheat flour (~2 cups)
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 quarts (8 cups) water
- ½ cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- Pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt
- Plastic wrap
- Plastic gloves
- Clean kitchen towel
- Large, deep casserole dish or roasting pan
- Pour warm water (about 110 degrees) into a medium-sized bowl and then pour over the active dry yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until the yeast becomes foamy.
- In the mean time, sift and whisk together the flours, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle of the dry mix.
- When the yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the center of the well. Also add the canola oil. Stir together until a soft dough forms and it pulls away from the bowl. Then, knead the dough for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. The dough should not be extremely sticky when you're done-- if it's too sticky to form into a ball, knead in additional flour until you can make a tacky dough ball.
- Spray a large bowl with your oil sprayer and place the dough ball inside. Spray a piece of plastic wrap and loosely cover the bowl with it. Let the dough rise about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Shape each dough piece into an oval, or whatever shape you prefer your bread to be. As you shape the dough, pull the dough towards the bottom and tuck any seams underneath the dough.
- Transfer the loaves to the parchment lined baking sheets and once again cover them with sprayed plastic wrap. Let them rise for 20 more minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and heat your water in a large pot until boiling.
- Once the water boils, carefully pour it into a large casserole dish, roasting pan, or a container that is large and deep enough to fit each dough half. Whisk in the baking soda and light brown sugar immediately, and continue to whisk until they've dissolved and the water fizzes and becomes slightly cloudy.
- Lay out a clean kitchen towel in front of the baking soda solution. Put on the plastic gloves. (If you don't have plastic gloves, use utensils for the following steps. It's easier with gloves, though!)
- Dunk a dough half into the solution, let sit for 15 seconds, and then turn to soak the other side and let sit for 15 seconds. Remove the dough from the solution and place on the kitchen towel. It may slightly lose it's shape at this point... that's ok! Let the dough sit for a few seconds to drip off excess moisture and then transfer it back to the parchment lined baking sheet. Gently reshape a bit if necessary. Repeat with the second dough half.
- Sprinkle each loaf with pretzel salt or kosher salt, score the tops with a knife in either 2 Xs or three diagonal lines, and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
- Completely cool the loaves before cutting. Serve slices with mustard, butter, or eat them the way they are!