Pretzel Bread

I know my german friends always complain( yeah, I admit it, me included) how they don’t like american bread also known as the toast that turns straight into sugar in your body. The longer I am here the more places I find that actually have quiet some good bread. We miss our whole grain bread and all the good stuff in the bread…Did you see my post that there are over 300 kinds of bread in Germany? Germans love their bread:) I actually went to a french bakery today to buy some bread there as similar as it gets to the german one. But it is sooo expensive here. SO, I went through a bunch of baking books and looked for recipes for bread and I will put more and more up in the next couple weeks because I decided to start baking my own bread. (I can imagine better ways to spend my money).

So those Pretzel Breads are one of my favorites and always used to be as a child:)

Pretzel bread is not quite a simple as flat bread or dinner rolls, but the loaves come out of the oven with a deep, brown pretzel crust and a slightly sweet, tender center. This particular recipe should be treated as a base to which other ingredients may be added. Cinnamon and extra brown sugar can create a sweet pretzel, or garlic and other spices can create a more savory pretzel. The loaves can be baked into mini-loaves, sandwich loaves or just cut into chunks and served as a snack. If you come up with something good, leave it in the comments.

But now for the bread.

Makes : 2 small loaves.

Prep time : 3-4 hours (including rise time).

Ingredients :

1 packet dry active yeast, or 2 tsp.
2 cups warm (110F) water.
1 tbsp dark brown sugar.
1 tbsp honey.
2 tbsp half-and-half.
3 tbsp unsalted butter.
1.5 tsp salt.
3-3.5 cups bread flour.
3 tbsp baking soda.

Combine the warm water, dark brown sugar and honey in a mixing bowl and stir. Add the yeast carefully to avoid clumps. Stir again and let the mixture stand until the surface of the water starts to turn a light brown as the yeast begins to foam. It should take no longer than a few minutes. If your water is too hot, too cold or the yeast is bad it will not foam. It’s a lot easier to deal with bad yeast or water early on.

Also, note that this recipe uses dry active yeast. fresh yeast or fast/self rising yeast can be used, but be sure to read the instructions on the packet to adapt the recipe.

The yeast, when added to the warm, sugary water, starts to consume the sugar and multiply like crazy. They are what gives the bread its ability to rise and expand later on. While the yeast is started to get going, melt the 3 tbsp of unsalted butter, then add the half-and-half. By adding the half and half to the melted butter, the half and half warms up a bit if it is straight out of the fridge. Add the tsp of salt  to the yeast mixture with the butter and half and half then stir well.

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~ by Colorful Soul on 09/17/2011.

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