Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oktoberfest-Pretzel Bread

Pretzel Bread is a common accompaniment to all three meals in Germany. They call it Butterbrezel and the taste is very similar to the more well know soft pretzels. Served warm or room temperature this versatile bread is delicious topped with anything you would dip a pretzel into or anything you would slather a dinner roll with.

Pretzel Bread

2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water (not hot)
2 Tbsp milk, room temperature
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp sea salt or kosher
2 cups bread flour (plus more if needed)

Soda Bath
1 gallon water
1/2 cup baking soda

Toppings
Sea/Kosher salt to taste
2 Tbsp melted butter

n a large bowl combine yeast, water, milk, brown sugar and butter. Whisk ingredients together and allow mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Stir in kosher salt. Add flour to mixture, if dough seems thin add more flour as needed. Form dough into a ball, it will be slightly sticky. Spray the bowl with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil and replace the dough ball into the bowl and cover with a damp towel for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, knead the dough for at least 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and takes on a slightly glossy sheen. Return dough to the bowl and cover with a damp towel for 1 hour.

Bring the gallon of water to a boil. Once the water comes to a full boil, add the baking soda.

Remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down. Divide the dough into two balls and round them out. Drop one of the balls into the baking soda bath for 30 seconds (maximum). Turn the ball once to cover both sides. Give the dough a good shake to remove excess moisture. Place on greased cookie sheet and repeat the process with second ball of dough. Cut a cross in top of the dough and sprinkle salt all over the balls to your taste.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Rotating baking sheet once during baking. Once the bread is removed from oven brush both loaves all over with melted butter.

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