The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Feed aggregator

Soft Pretzels – (How-to Video on Shaping the Dough)

Artisan Bread in 5 - January 17, 2020 - 2:26pm

When I was growing up in Connecticut I’d spend a fair amount of time in New York City. Every time I’d get off the train I’d get a pretzel from a cart outside the station. That, and a trip to the Papaya King, were enough to get me through the day. It was a cheap, tasty and filling snack for a teenager.

Part of the characteristics of that perfect New York pretzel is the way they look. Philadelphia has a pretzel culture too, but you’d never confuse it with its northern cousin, due to the shape. Philly has figure-8 knots and New York has … pretzel shape. Admittedly, it’s nostalgia that makes me partial to the New York version. And you really should serve these homemade soft pretzels with mustard to complete the experience. I like a grainy mustard and that is just not at all traditional. Oh well.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Pretzel Dough from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:

3 cups lukewarm water

1 tablespoon Platinum Yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons Non-diastatic malt powder (or sugar)

6 1/2 cups (2 pounds) bread flour – (this will make a stronger dough and holds up to boiling the pretzels. BUT, I’m not going to boil these pretzels, so feel free to use all-purpose flour for this recipe. If you want to boil the pretzels, be sure to use the bread flour.)

For top of the Homemade Soft Pretzels:

2 cups water

2 tablespoons baking soda – (We didn’t use lye, because it is a chemical that few people will have on hand and it is a bit risky to use. If you are committed to the authentic pretzel you really will want to find some lye and be very careful when using it, there are some pretty significant warnings on the label.)

1 tablespoon sugar

Pretzel Salt

If you’ve used bread flour, you’ll notice it is dryer than our master recipe (which uses all-purpose flour), and this is by design, so that the dough will hold up when dipped in the baking soda solution.

Because of the bread flour and the Platinum yeast, you’ll see lots of air holes in the dough. Refrigerate and use the dough over the next 14 days.

When you are ready to make your pretzels:

Preheat the oven to 375°F (this is a touch hotter than we say in the book. I did this because my pretzels are bigger and I liked the color, crispness and interior with the hotter oven.)

I’ve made larger pretzels than we make in our book, but you can make them any size you like. These are about 6-ounces each. If you take 2-pounds out of the bucket (about half the dough) and divide it into 5 pieces, you’ll come up with about the right amount of dough.

Form each piece into smooth balls. Cover them and let them rest for about 30 minutes to relax. This will help in your shaping.

Here is a video that shows how to get the right shape. I made a simple pretzel and one with an extra twist:

(Thank you to my son, Henri, for shooting and editing the video. So great to have a teenager in the house.)

After you shape your pretzel, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them and let them rest for about 20 to 30 minutes.

While they are resting, mix the water, baking soda and sugar, stirring until the soda and sugar has dissolved completely.  Brush the pretzels with the baking soda solution.

Sprinkle with pretzel salt or coarse salt. You can slash with a Lame or knife along the bottom or leave them as is, both are a fine look.

Bake with steam for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Let cool on a rack.

Serve with your favorite mustard or with nothing at all.

Note: Red Star Yeast (Lesaffre Corp) is a sponsor of BreadIn5, LLC and its promotional activities, and supplied yeast for recipe testing.

The post Soft Pretzels – (How-to Video on Shaping the Dough) appeared first on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Panettone Monkey Bread

Artisan Bread in 5 - December 14, 2019 - 6:29am

We are big fans of sweet dough (especially around the most wonderful time of the year), and while we often choose gigantic cinnamon rolls, we will never say no to monkey bread. Over the years we’ve made Classic Monkey Bread, Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread, and even Crock Pot Monkey Bread, and now we are adding Panettone Monkey Bread to the list. The Panettone dough comes from our Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five book (a fabulous Holiday gift, wink wink), and works well in this adaption; it’s studded with orange, lemon, and dried fruit, coated in sugar and butter and then more sugar and butter. It’s the perfect way to start out Christmas break (or even just Monday morning).

Panettone Monkey Bread

(For step-by-step instructions, check out our Instagram highlights!)

Panettone Dough (from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five)

1 1/2 cups (340g) lukewarm water (100F or below)
1 tablespoon (10g) Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 tablespoon (17g) kosher salt
1/2 cup (170g) honey
8 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks | 225g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
2 cups (340g) mixed dried and/or candied fruit (I used a mixture of dried cranberries and candied orange peel, but golden raisins, dried pineapple, dried apricots, and dried cherries are all good options.)
7 1/2 cups (1065g) all-purpose flour


9 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 tablespoons Triple Sec (optional)

Generously butter a 9 x 4 x 4-inch Pullman Pan or 10-cup Bundt pan.

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Divide the dough into about 30 equal pieces. Roll the dough into small balls. If the dough is sticking to your hands, coat your palms with a small amount of soft butter. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a bowl. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a second bowl. Drop the dough balls into the butter and then coat them with the cinnamon sugar.

Place the balls in the prepared pan.

Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F, with a rack placed int he center of the oven.

Just before putting the pan in the oven, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and then add any remaining cinnamon sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt. Add the triple sec and stir to combine.

Set the pan on a baking sheet, just in case the caramel bubbles over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until caramelized and set.

Allow the bread to cool for 5 minutes.

Invert the loaf onto a serving tray.

Lesaffre Yeast Corporation (Red Star) provided yeast samples for recipe testing, and sponsors BreadIn5’s website and other promotional activities.

The post Panettone Monkey Bread appeared first on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Subscribe to The Fresh Loaf aggregator