Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Recipe: Chris Fennimore's New Year's Pretzel Bread

There is something magical about the chemical reaction of gluten and sugar and yeast that turns inert ingredients into a living, growing and delectable treat.



People often ask me about kitchen tools and utensils, and they always want to know what my favorite food is to cook. That answer is easy: Bread. There is something magical about the chemical reaction of gluten and sugar and yeast that turns inert ingredients into a living, growing and delectable treat. Besides the mystery of transforming a few cups of flour into an expanding mass of dough, baking bread has all the satisfactory components that bring cooks to the kitchen.

Bread doughs are easy and very forgiving. The smell of baking bread permeates the house with an aroma of comfort. The final product is beautiful to behold and delicious to eat.

Keep a supply of bread flour (the higher gluten content makes for chewier, more flavorful loaves), some yeast (buy it economically by the pound) and some powdered milk (for those days when you are snowed in), and you can be baking golden loaves and rolls all winter long.

Because it has such a history as a staple of life, bread has inspired endless traditions in many cultures that tie it to holidays and seasons. For the new year, it is a European tradition to make large, soft, pretzel-shaped breads that are often garnished with candied fruit and nuts. The pretzel is the universal sign of the baker, and it is also supposed to bring luck for the whole year. Not as sweet as cake and not as plain as bread, this colorful pretzel makes a beautiful centerpiece for any New Year's table, and everyone who eats it will feel lucky. Now, where did I put that electric bread slicer?
 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded and skimmed
1/2 cup sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
6 to 7 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs
1 pound confectioner's sugar
Almond extract
Water
Toasted, sliced almonds
Candied cherries

Directions

  • Put the scalded milk, sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and let stir until the butter and sugar are dissolved.
     
  • In another small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a few grains of sugar. It should begin to foam in about 5 minutes.
     
  • Add 5 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, the yeast mixture and the 2 eggs to the milk mixture.
     
  • Use a dough hook to mix until it is a soft, even batter. Add more flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Continue to knead until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Take the dough out on a lightly floured board and give it a few turns to form a smooth ball. Put it into a greased bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
     
  • Turn the dough out onto the board and divide in half. Roll each half into a long rope and shape into a pretzel. Lay the pretzel onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and allow to rise for another hour.
     
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until dark golden-brown. (Thermometer will read 190 to 200 degrees.) Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
     
  • Make a frosting by mixing the confectioner's sugar with a teaspoon of almond extract (or vanilla if you prefer) and enough water to make a spreadable icing. Pour the icing over the bread and decorate with the toasted almond slices and candied cherries.
     

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

The Topgolf complex opening in Bridgeville features a driving range with microchipped golf balls that score themselves, plus plenty of food and drink options.

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

5 Great Ways to Enjoy Picklesburgh

The city’s fourth annual pickle festival will feature more food, more music and even pickle-inspired beers.

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Three of Pittsburgh’s Green Spaces Nominated for National List

Some of the city’s parks could earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places by 2020. So why should you care?

Watch: Mister Rogers' Wonderful Sense of Humor

We stumbled upon this old clip of Fred Rogers' appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” in February of 1982. It includes an amusing clip in which Mister Rogers loses a wrestling match with a tent.

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

Sample cheese of every rind during the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese.

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

The WTAE anchor was voted Best Journalist by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. She answers 12 random questions ranging from her most memorable vacation to who should portray her in a movie.

Tax Credit Brought Mister Rogers Flick to Pittsburgh

The granting of the credit means the majority, if not most of the movie starring Tom Hanks, will indeed be shot in the Pittsburgh area.

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Comments

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

The Topgolf complex opening in Bridgeville features a driving range with microchipped golf balls that score themselves, plus plenty of food and drink options.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Comments

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Aaron Allen comes to Willow by way of 2-star Daniel in New York City. Plus, Greta Harmon joins the staff of the Ohio Township hideaway as the restaurant's new bar manager.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Leave enough time in your next visit to Kennywood to revisit some old favorites and these underrated gems.

Comments


Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

Comments

Five Essential July Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential July Events in Pittsburgh

Parking-lot punk, polished Potter and other July attractions.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Comments

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Netflix exclusive Josh Brolin flick is pleasant enough, but light on laughs.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Comments

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Comments

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

Comments