Monday, January 30, 2012

#Baketogether Peasant Boule ~ Take Two: Soft Pretzels with Italian Sea Salt and Caramel Dipping Sauce

This is my second take on Abby Dodge's Peasant Boule recipe for January's #Baketogether (recipe can be found in her website as well as in her book, The Weekend Baker). I know I said that I would stick to the original recipe the next time I make this, but once again, I couldn't resist utilizing this recipe as a base for one of my favorite things to snack on -- soft pretzels! I can say that the results were amazing! They were so soft and really, really delicious especially when sprinkled with sea salt and dunked in homemade caramel sauce. They're quick to bake as well -- only took about 10-12 minutes at 450 F.

Here are my revisions to the original Peasant Boule recipe to make my homemade Soft Pretzels:

3 1/3 (15 ounces/425 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon lecithin granules
A pinch of ginger powder
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups very warm whole milk (between 115 and 125 F/46 and 52 C)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coarse Italian sea salt for sprinkling (or any preferred coarse grained salt)

Dipping Solution (2 options): I used lye solution

Lye Solution -- 2 tablespoons food grade lye water mixed in 4 cups warm water
Baking soda solution -- 4 cups hot water mixed with 4 ounces baking soda

1. In a large bowl of electric stand mixer, whisk the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking powder, ginger powder, and vital wheat gluten. Clip the bowl into the mixer stand and fit the mixer with the dough hook.

2. Check that the milk temperature registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (In order for this type of yeast to grow, the liquid needs to be between 115 and 125 degrees.) Add the vegetable oil and lecithin and stir.
3. With mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until completely incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bottom and sides of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Don’t venture too far away while it’s mixing as the mixer might dance around on the counter.
4. Scoop up the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and pop the dough, rounded side up, back into the bowl. Cover the top securely with plastic wrap. Let the covered dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

5. Punch down the dough and cut weigh about 50 grams dough for each pretzel.

6. To make the pretzel, I rolled each ball into a long narrow log about 12-15 inches long on a clean and lightly floured surface then made a U shape then double twisted the ends and attached them to the bottom of the U.

7. Completely dip each pretzel into the Baking Soda (or Lye) solution for a few seconds then place then on top of parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with your preferred salt (I used coarse Italian sea salt).

8. Place in oven which has been pre-heated to 450 F and bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffed up and medium brown.

Note: The pretzels will not brown properly if you didn't use a dipping solution.

Caramel Dipping Sauce:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream

In a thick saucepan, caramelize the sugar over medium heat. Add the butter and cream. Stir until the caramel has dissolved. Cool.

Note: You can also coat the pretzels with whatever you want but dip the pretzels first with clarified butter so the toppings would adhere to the pretzels.

Hope you give these a try. Enjoy!


  1. Oh wow, these look amazing. I've always wanted to try and make soft pretzels at home. I'm glad you went ahead with your changes, especially the addition of oil (I did that too) and vital wheat gluten (I couldn't decide whether to add it or not, so I didn't).

    Btw, I keep forgetting to mention that I really like the new look of your blog. Great job!!!! :o)

    1. Thanks Hanaa! I've just been researching on natural dough enhancers and found that vital wheat gluten, lecithin granules and even ginger powder help in giving homemade bread a store-bought quality in that it'll remain soft and moist even after a few days. My complaint with all the breads I make is that they all turn rock hard and crumbly the following day (no matter how good the recipe or how well you make the bread).

      And thanks for your comment on the look of my blog! I really prefer the simplicity of this one more than the previous one :)

  2. Since you like caramel sauce, try this one sometime: Cinnamon-Honey Caramel Glaze: It's my favorite!

    1. Thanks for sharing your recipe for caramel sauce Hanaa! This sounds amazing! I'm sure the addition of cinnamon and Honey will make it sensational :-) will surely give it a try!!