Pretzel Bread ver. 1
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup warm milk (approximately 110-120 degrees)
1 tablespoon malt powder or brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
2-3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
Pretzel or kosher salt
Baking Soda Solution:
2 quarts of water
1/2 cup baking soda
In a large bowl, mix the instant yeast with the warm milk.
Add all other ingredients, except the flour. Let rest for 10 minutes so the yeast can activate.
Add 2 cups of the flour and blend completely. Add the remaining cup of flower as needed until the dough is firm, and doesn’t stick to your hands.
Knead the dough for 2 minutes.
Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and let the dough rise for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 400.
Gently degas the dough.
At this point, you can either form one giant loaf of bread, split it in half forming two smaller loaves.
At this point, the fun begins. I tried two different methods for the final preparation. One was simply brushing a beaten egg white over the loaf, and the other was boiling it for 30 seconds in a baking soda solution.
Baking Soda Solution: Bring water to a boil and add the baking soda. Drop the loaf carefully into the water, letting it boil for no more than 30 seconds. Turn it once to make sure it’s completely submerged. Using a slotted spoon or sieve drain the water off the dough and transfer it to a greased baking sheet.
Sprinkle the boiled, or egg brushed, bread with the salt and put into the oven. In my oven, the baking in either case took between 20 and 25 minutes. The longer the baking time, the darker the crust. Remove the bread from the oven, and move to a baking rack. Make sure to brush a coating of melted butter over the loaves to guarantee a soft crust. Otherwise, you’re going to get a very crusty bread.