Here's a long overdue updated photo of Pretzel Bread, a recipe I've been making for over a decade now. This recipe is one of our favorites. It doesn't take very long to make (at least as far as breads go) and it's just kind of fun to serve.
Payard Bakery Pretzel Bread
My inspiration for this recipe was pretzel bread we had at Payard bakery, where they use it for sandwiches. Back then it seemed so innovative! And then after trying it at Payard, I found it at some point at Whole Foods (in Austin) before eventually making it at home. The recipe eventually became a mainstay and I've since made variations including a pretzel bread with cheddar and jalapenos. Unfortunately my husband doesn't like cheddar cheese, so I usually make this loaf rather than the cheese variation.
Non-Diastatic Malt Powder an Option
Some things to know about this bread. The dough does not fully double. It comes close, but don't be disappointed if an hour passes and it has not doubled. You can punch it down and bake it anyway. Another thing I've learned is that instead of baking soda, you can make a boiling solution of 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons of non-diastatic malt powder -- 'cause everyone has that lying around, right? Well, maybe not. But if you do have the non-diastatic malt powder you can use it. The pretzel bread won't be quite as brown as when made with baking soda. The picture in the bottom is a loaf that used baking soda, while the loaf in the first photo was made with malt powder.
- 1 cup milk (240 grams/ml)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (28 grams)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour (13.5 oz/380 grams)***
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (25 grams)
- 1 envelope fast rising yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 quarts water can use slightly less
- ⅓ cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Put the milk and butter in a saucepan or in a microwave-safe measuring cup and heat until a deep fry or candy thermometer measures between 110 and 116 degrees.
- Meanwhile, stir 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a stand mixer bowl. Pour the warm milk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until well blended, then gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough. I do this with a heavy duty scraper rather than a paddle attachment so that I can get a feel for the consistency of the dough.
- Attach dough hook to mixer and let the mixer knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, then cover and let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour (temperature of room might affect time), or until doubled in size.
- Punch dough down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball and let sit for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven and get the boiling mixture ready.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.
- In a large pot, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Boil each loaf for about 2 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Remove loaves from pot using a slotted spoon or slotted spatula and let water drain off. Dab with a paper towel if necessary. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush loaves with egg wash and cut a cross in the top (sharp razor works well for this) of each. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until the loaves are evenly browned. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.