Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pretzel Bread

Pretzel Bread!?!  Yes please!  I was very impressed with this bread (even considering my yeast was a little out of date, and I didn't have bread flour).  The only down side was the quantity was small.  I guess I underestimated the yield of "two small loaves".   I didn't brush the bread with butter after it came out of the oven.  I did, however, eat a ham sandwich with melted cheese and mustard with it. Mmm. Mmm!

Pretzel Bread

1 packet (2 1/4 tsps) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 – 120 degrees)
2 Tbsp. milk, room temperature
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 Tbsps. melted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 cups bread flour (spooned and leveled)

4 quarts of water
1/2 cup baking soda

Coarse salt to taste
2 Tbsps. melted butter

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, milk, brown sugar, and butter. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes so the yeast come alive.
  • Mix in the coarse salt, then the flour, one cup at a time. The dough will be tacky.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or coat with oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, flip to coat on both sides, and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, flip to cover both sides, and re-cover for an hour, or until roughly doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring 4 quarts (16 cups) of water to a boil. Gently deflate the dough and cut in half using a sharp knife or bench scraper. Shape each half into a round loaf.
  • Slowly add the 1/2 cup of baking soda to the boiling water (it will bubble). Place one piece of dough onto a large slotted spoon and gently lower into the boiling water. Use the spoon to flip the dough in the boiling water for around 20 seconds, then lift the dough out of the water with the slotted spoon – allow the excess water to drip back into the pot.
  • Set the dough onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat the water bath with the remaining dough. Sprinkle both rounds with coarse salt, then slash an X on the top of each with a sharp knife so the bread can expand while it bakes.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
Yield: 2 small loaves

Recipe and photo from The Apron Archives.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Grilled Mozzarella Cheese Sandwich

This is one of those instances where you say, "Why didn't I think of that?"  I came across this idea on Pinterest a while back.  The novelty has worn off a little, but the kids and I were eating it a couple times a week for lunch after we learned about it.
Grilled Cheese . . . using Mozzarella cheese (or provolone, which is our preference) . . . served with a side of marinara sauce.  {sigh}  HELLO!!! It's amazing!
Here's a side bar:  I just went on the assumption that the recipe said, "make grilled cheese sandwich the original way but use mozzarella."  Well, Martha Stewart has her own high-calorie, high-fat version of the Grilled Mozzarella Cheese sandwich.  I'm sure it tastes great if you can afford buffalo mozzarella and all the other ingredients, but the cheese we use from the local discount store works just as well also.  I've also seen recipes that include tomato and basil, pesto or spinach as a combo with the mozzarella if you want to try something a little more extravagant.