Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pretzel Bread Bowls

My sisters are the best. They're always giving me such nice little gifts. Like the other day when I was sitting outside with one of them (Piggie) and I started freaking out because, "WAAAAAAH. There's a giant bug in my hair! HAAALP. Get it out!" And I started sticking my head in her face and flailing my arms all over her.

"Get it out yourself," she said, shoving me away with an amused snort.

So after about ten more minutes of flailing and flapping I finally touched it. It didn't feel like a bug.

As it turns out, it was a bobby pin that the Pig had stuck in my bangs somehow without me noticing hours before.

The golden, buttery bread you see before you is a slightly more awesome type of gift from a slightly less immature sister. She (Nemo) is the same one who brought you the Quick and Easy Bread Bowls a while back. Well, these bread bowls are also quick and easy, but they have the added benefit of tasting exactly like an Auntie Anne's pretzel. It's even better though because instead of having to dip every single bite into the cheese sauce (way too much work) you can just put the cheese right into the pretzel in the form of Spinach Artichoke Dip, Panera Bread Copycat Broccoli Soup, or Cheesy Roasted Potato Soup.

Okay, that thing about dipping pretzels in cheese not being the funnest thing ever was just a little joke.

But all joking aside, you will love these bread bowls. You will never look at soup the same again. Have fun.

    • Pretzel Bread Bowls
    • Makes 3-6 bowls (depending on size)
      Adapted from Auntie Anne's Pretzels: Copycat Recipe

      2 cups warm water (We use hot from the tap, but don't go hotter than 110ºF)
      1 1/2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
      6 tablespoons brown sugar
      4 tablespoons butter, melted
      5-6 cups of flour
      2 teaspoons fine salt

      1/3 cup baking soda
      3 cups warm water
      Coarse salt
      6 tablespoons butter, melted
    • Stir the yeast in the water and let it sit for about 3 minutes. Add the butter and sugar. Add the flour about 1 cup at a time. You want the dough to be sticky, but manageable. and the add the fine salt. 
    • Knead for about 10 minutes with a stand mixer, or by hand. Put it in a greased bowl and cover with a wet cloth. 
    • Let rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size. 
    • Preheat the oven to 500º. Punch down dough and divide into 3-6 lumps (for the humungo ones pictured I did 3). Stretch each one into a TIGHT (Don't be afraid to hurt it. Tighter the better.) ball, pinching the bottom with your fingers and sealing it off by twisting it on the counter (click here for photos).
    • Combine the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl. Dip each ball in the baking soda water and then cut a slit in the top with a serrated knife. Place on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt. 
    • Bake for two minutes at 500ºF then reduce temperature to 375º and continue baking for about 17 minutes (9-15 minutes for smaller bowls) until golden brown.
    • Brush with melted butter immediately after removing from oven.
    • To cut the bread bowls, use a knife to cut a circle directly downwards, then pull it out. 

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