Cakes & Bakes: Pretzel loaf

Sliced home-made pretzel loaf | H is for Home

This pretzel loaf has been on my ‘to bake’ list for weeks. I’ve been putting it off because we’ve been having a very busy June. Instead, I’ve made a couple of recipes that were quick & easy to pull together, bake and photograph.

Sugar and bicarbonate of soda for adding to water to boil pretzel loaf | H is for Home

I needn’t have delayed, making a pretzel loaf isn’t as long, drawn out or difficult as I’d imagined. I think it was the boiling process that put me off attempting it for so long.

Pretzel bread dough formed into a ball | H is for Home

Yes, it did seem a bit strange par-boiling a ball of dough; but the technique produced a beautifully browned and deliciously chewy crust. It was a bit fiddly, make sure you use a large enough saucepan with enough boiling water. I had a pair of stainless steel skimmers which were perfect for the job of flipping the loaf over in the pan.

Home-made pretzel loaf | H is for Home

My decision to experiment with smoked salt flakes instead of traditional pretzel salt was a success – it gave it a very subtle flavour which didn’t overpower in the least.

Click here to pin the recipe for future reference!

Pretzel loaf
Yields 1
Ingredients
  1. 500g/17 oz strong bread flour
  2. 1tbsp sugar
  3. 2tsp instant yeast
  4. 1¼tsp salt
  5. 250ml/ 9fl oz full-fat milk
  6. 125ml/ 4½fl oz warm water (blood temperature)
For boiling
  1. 2L water
  2. 3tbsp brown sugar
  3. 2tbsp bicarbonate of soda
For the topping
  1. water in a spray bottle
  2. pretzel salt (I used smoked sea salt flakes)Home-made pretzel loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast
  2. Mix for a couple of seconds on low to combine the dry ingredients
  3. With the mixer on low, carefully pour in the milk and water. Continue mixing on low until you have a smooth, soft, slightly tacky dough
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with cling film or put it inside a large, clear plastic bag and set aside somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size (about an hour)
  5. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/Gas mark
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface
  8. Lift the dough, gently pull the edge of the dough down and tuck under. Turn the dough a ¼ turn and repeat. Do this until you've formed a cohesive round. Place the round on the clean surface and use your hands to gently turn and tighten the dough down over the surface
  9. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel or length of oiled cling film and allow to rise while the oven preheats
  10. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (enamelled cast-iron, tempered glass etc.)
  11. When the water comes to a boil, add the brown sugar and bicarbonate of soda
  12. Gently lift the loaf and carefully ease the dough - top side down first - into the boiling water
  13. Simmer for about 3 minutes, flip the dough over using two spatulas or slotted spoons and simmer on that side for another 2 minutes
  14. Use the two spatulas or slotted spoons to carefully lift the dough out of the water and transfer back over to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  15. Spritz the loaf with water and sprinkle with the coarse salt
  16. Using a lamé or a sharp knife, slice along the contours of the bread about ½cm/¼-inch thick.
  17. Bake for 35 minutes or until deep brown
  18. Transfer the loaf to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing
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Adapted from Foodie with Family
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