Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Beer Pretzels

I’ve been pinning pretzel recipes on pinterest for a while now but never got around to trying them, then a friend passed me Taste of Home magazine and there was another pretzel recipe staring me down. I decided that the end of fall called for some homemade soft pretzels (and beer) so we could celebrate raking our final leaves in true fall fashion. The pretzels turned out very tasty, and they were EVEN more delicious on the second day when the soft pretzels were reheated. The recipe seems a bit daunting since it is long but the end result was tasty, so I’d say it’s worth the work!

Recipe was adapted from “Soft Beer Pretzels” page 71, Taste of Home Magazine September/October 2013.


1 bottle amber beer, or nonalcoholic beer
1/2 oz active dry yeast (1 packet if you buy them in packet form)
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 – 4 1/2 cups Flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp water
Coarse salt


Heat bear to 110 – 115 in a small pan and then remove from heat. Stir in yeast until dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, 1 – 1/2 tsp of salt, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour. Beat (medium speed) until smooth and then stir in flour until the mixture becomes a soft dough (it will be sticky!).

Turn dough down on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Place in greased bowl (turn the dough over once to grease the top), cover with saran-wrap and let sit in a warm place until it has doubled – about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Punch dough down and turn on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 balls and roll each ball into a 14″ rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape.

In a dutch oven bring water and baking soda to a boil. Drop pretzels in two at a time and cook for 30 seconds. Drain the pretzels on a paper towel. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet (either use grease or parchment paper to “line” the sheet). Whisk egg and water in a small bowl and then brush that over each pretzel on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven.

Bake pretzels 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!! Again, reheated on day 2 (for about 15 seconds in the microwave) will also yield very delicious pretzels!


The BEST bagels this side of New York…

Being from the NJ (and just outside of NYC) I grew up with having amazing bagels and pizza available whenever and wherever I wanted them. It was something that simply just always existed and was pretty much always available. Moving to DC was a complete shock in those two areas of food. A girl (and her bagelman husband) can only be deprived for so long. Another former NJ resident friend of mine also had a longing for delicious bagels and unearthed a LA Times recipe for homemade bagels. With my stand mixer at the ready and a previous forray into bread making under my belt I rolled up my sleeves and was ready to make the bagels!

Here is a link to the recipe I followed:


– 1 tbsp Barley Malt (or barley malt syrup)  OR 1 tbsp Honey
– 3 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
– 3 tsp Salt (divided!)
– 3/4 tsp Instant Yeast
– 1 cup + 2 tbsp Water
– 1 tsp Baking Soda
Toppings (sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced onion, etc etc)

What to do:

Mix the flour, 2 tsp salt, yeast, barley malt syrup (or honey) and water in a medium bowl (or with a stand mixer on 2) until the ingredients form a stiff, coarse ball of dough (about 3 min of mixing by hand, about 1 in a food processor). If you need at a pinch more water (we did add about one extra tbsp of water). Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 2 – 3 minutes until the dough has a slightly tacky feel. If the dough is too soft or too tacky, sprinkle just a little extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to several. You will not want to leave the dough overnight like this because you have to shape the bagels and let them rest shaped overnight before eating….

When you are ready to shape the bagels line a baking sheet with either parchment paper (greased lightly) or a silicone baking mat (whatever can withstand up to 450 F in the oven). Divide the dough into 6 – 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loose, round ball by rolling it on a clean and dry surface. Do not use flour on the surface! If the dough slides too much and won’t ball up work the surface with a damp paper towel, small amounts of moisture will help the dough grip and form a ball. Once the dough is in a ball shape you can start making the dough into bagel shapes.

Using your hands roll each dough ball into a  rope about 8 – 10 inches long. If you need to moisten your surface again with a damp paper towel that will again add that grip/bite. Slightly taper the rope at the ends so that they are thinner than the middle and squeeze the overlapping ends together and press the ends into the work surface to ensure they are completely sealed. Even out the thickness of the dough so that there is about a 2 inch hole in the center (ah ha! It looks like a bagel, almost…). Place the bagel on the prepared sheet pan and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Lightly wipe the bagels wiht oil, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Wake up about 2 hours BEFORE you will want to eat your bagels for breakfast

Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 90 minutes before you plan to bake them. Fill a large stockpot with 3 quarts of water at least 4 inches deep and slowly bring the water to a boil. When it comes to a boil add the last 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of baking soda and simmer with the lid on.

Thirty minutes before baking heat the oven to 500 degrees

Test the bagels by placing one in a bowl of cold water, if it sinks and doesn’t float return it to the sheet for 15 minutes before re-testing. When one bagel passes they are all ready for the pot. Drop each bagel (gently!) into the simmering water. Add as many will fit in the pot. After 1 minute use a slotted spoon to flip each bagel over and poach for an extra 30 seconds. Remove each bagel to the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each bagel with your topping.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the heat to 450 F. Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate the sheet (if you use more than 1 sheet this is when you would want to rotate their positions as well). Check the underside of the bagels, if they get too dark place another baking sheet underneath the one you are using. Bake the bagels until they are golden brown (an additional 8 – 12 minutes from when you rotated them).

Once they have cooled off for about 30 minutes on a wire rack – ENJOY! Oh and please be sure to share with anyone else that appreciates a delicious bagel!

The finished bagels – YUM!

Italian Semolina Bread

We were lucky enough to receive a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer for our wedding, and this was our first trial with it! The wedding was about 6 – 7 months ago and for this to be our first time using the stand mixer is a bit pathetic, but let me tell you, that thing is intimidating. Now that I have used it though, I can say that I am so excited to find the next recipe I want to make with it – it made baking and mixing SUCH a breeze. Enough about my stand mixer and onto the bread now! Also a wedding gift, we received Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois so this was clearly our day to dig out the gifts we hadn’t gotten to try out get and use ’em! This cookbook had lots of great bread recipes, but we were having Italian food for dinner and decided that Italian Semolina bread would be a great match, we adapted the recipe featured in that book to what is below. I definitely plan to make this bread again and think i will be trying some other recipes included in this book. Here goes for how to recreate this bread at your home:

 What I am posting will yield 3 slightly less than a 1-lb loaves


– 1.5 cups lukewarm water
–  3/4 tbsp granulated yeast
– 3/4 tbsp Kosher salt (slightly heaping)
– 1.5 cups durum flour
– 1  7/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
–  2 tsp of sesame seeds
– Handfuls of cornmeal
– Cornstarch ‘Wash’ (1/2 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 cup water)


Mix the yeast and salt with the lukewarm water in a bowl, or lidded (not airtight) container. Mix in the flours without kneading, using a stand mixer with dough hook – Keep it on level 2 for mixing. Cover this mixture, not airtight and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top) which will take about 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, but it is said to be easier to handle when cold. You can refrigerate the dough in a lidded (not airtight) container for up to 14 days. To make the cornstarch wash: Using a fork blend the cornstarch with a small amount of water to form a paste. add 1/2 cup water and whisk with the fork and microwave (or boil) about 30 – 60 seconds until it appears glassy. This will stay in your fridge for about two weeks.

On the day you are baking (we did ours same day) dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a less than 1-lb piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides. Elongate the ball to form an oval-shaped free-form loaf. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered sheet for about 40 minutes.

You should heat your oven, baking stone and an empty broiler pan up about 20 minutes before you are ready to put the bread in. Pre-heat the oven to 450 F.

Just before baking paint the surface with the cornstarch wash, sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and slash the surface diagonally with a serrated bread knife. Put the loaf directly onto the hot stone on top of more cornmeal and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes until deeply browned and firm.

One place we messed up was that the bread really stuck on the bottom to the hot stone. I don’t think we put enough cornmeal on the bottom of the bread or on the stone. Next time around we definitely plan to put more cornmeal onto the stone to prevent sticking. We loved this bread though and are excited to try it again. If you make it – enjoy!!

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