Pretzel Bread

A few years ago, when I had just moved to Vegas (or possibly right before), Mr. K had to attend a dinner with some work people. I got dragged along.

Anyway, the dinner was at a restaurant called Simon inside the Hard Rock, which may or may not be there any longer. Simon's deal was ultra modern trendy decor and retro chic overpriced food. So, for example, instead of serving regular dinner rolls prior to the meal...we got pretzel bread! It was so yummy, and there have been occasions over the years where Mr. K and I sigh longingly for said pretzel bread and say "Remember that time we went to Simon..."

Since the old me didn't cook, and the Hard Rock isn't a stone's throw from my house, and most likely Simon is gone anyway...I haven't had pretzel bread in quite some time.

Until tonight.

I found a recipe for pretzel bread about a month ago, and it seemed easy enough. I get scared when a recipe can't be condensed down to 5 steps or has techniques in it that I have never heard of. Anyway I was super excited 'cause like I said, Mr. K LOVED this bread and I try to be a good wifey from time to time!

While this recipe was easy, it was a bit time consuming just because you have to stop and let the dough rise for an hour (twice!). I knew this ahead of time, which is why I saved this recipe for a rainy day. And, since it poured in Vegas all morning...I decided to give it a whirl!

I will say that the bread turned out awesome! Better than I expected, and certainly better than Simon's! It was absolutely delicious, and I am already concocting some variations, like cinnamon suger...mmmhmm! I, also, think this would make a great homemade gift around the holidays, if that happens to be your thing...you already know it's mine!

So here's the recipe:

Pretzel Bread
1 package dry yeast
2 Tbl melted butter
1 cup warm water
Course sea salt to taste
2 Tbl milk, room temperature
1 Tbl dark brown sugar
3 Tbl butter
1 tsp salt
2 ½ - 3 cups bread flour
1 gallon water½ cup baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, add warm water, yeast, and brown sugar. Stir together, and set in a warm place for 5 minutes to activate. Add milk, butter, salt, and 2 cups of flower, and mix together. Continue adding flour and mixing until a stiff dough forms.

Lightly flour work surface and knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl, add dough, and roll in the bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Once risen, punch down once. Flour work surface, and turn dough out. Divide in ½, sprinkle with flour, and shape into loaves. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot, and allow to rise another hour.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Slowly add baking soda to boiling water. Sprinkle dough with flour and reshape if necessary. Make ¼“ slashes in the dough, about 2” apart, to keep from tearing while cooking. Place each loaf into boiling water for 30 seconds (flip after 15 seconds). Return loaves to cookie sheet and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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