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 Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Spirit Plans Sensory Bending Benefit Dinner

Pittsburgh chefs, bartenders, artists and musicians will help kick-off the Lawrenceville bar's Vault 3.0 with a benefit for its rooftop garden project.

Build or Remodel in 2018? Submit Your Home to Our Best of Design Contest

Categories include Best New and Best Renovated homes, Best Kitchens and Best Outdoor Space.

HGTV's Leanne Ford Partners With PPG on Perfect White Paints

Known for her signature "white on white" aesthetic, the star of "Restored by the Fords" shares her "fail proof" color choices.

Halloween in Pittsburgh: How to Embrace the Fright

From haunted houses and scary movies to pumpkin patches and zombie bars –– we are here to help you experience as much of the ghoulish holiday as you dare.

Perspectives: Mourning Without a Road Map

A 30-year-old woman “who had lost her father too soon” learns the importance of following a plan when saying goodbye.

On Fitness: Peace and Posture Instead of No Pain, No Gain

Client by client, personal trainer Ian Riggins is dismantling the aggressive side of the fitness industry.

Angling for Tranquility: The Lure of Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is growing in popularity as anglers discover the peaceful joys of casting a line from the water's surface.

MultiStories: Pittsburgh's Art Deco Obelisk – The Gulf Building

As the Gulf Building rose into Pittsburgh skyline in the early 1930s, the prospects of its owner were headed in the opposite direction.

“First Man” Author to Appear at Heinz History Center

James R. Hansen, author of the authorized Neil Armstrong biography, will speak about the astronaut’s life on Nov. 1.

Results Are In: Jobs are Plentiful in Pittsburgh

Glassdoor’s newly released city shortlist for hot jobs ranks Pittsburgh #1.

The 400-Word Review: The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford's alleged final performance is a quiet, fitting farewell.

Sandwich, Helmet, Teammates Await Bell’s Return to Steelers

Le’Veon Bell reportedly intends to return to the Steelers before the second Browns game on Oct. 28, but hasn’t yet. But that didn’t stop some of his teammates from trying to have some fun with Bell at the media’s expense.

A New Day for Craft Beer in Pittsburgh

Day Bracey, along with Ed Bailey and Mike Potter, forges a more inclusive approach to craft brewing.

Southern Cuisine Served with a Big Side of Hospitality

Sugar and Smoke owner Andrea Robinson not only wants to feed customers of her new eatery in Bloomfield –– she wants to know their names.

Meet Pittsburgh's 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2018

For two decades, Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP have presented the annual 40 Under 40 list. And every year, 40 people who have been alive for less than four decades are chosen because of their career accomplishments, dogged volunteer work and commitment to the Pittsburgh region. This year is no different. Read on to learn more about some of our very best neighbors.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Halloween in Pittsburgh: How to Embrace the Fright

Halloween in Pittsburgh: How to Embrace the Fright

From haunted houses and scary movies to pumpkin patches and zombie bars –– we are here to help you experience as much of the ghoulish holiday as you dare.

Comments

“First Man” Author to Appear at Heinz History Center

“First Man” Author to Appear at Heinz History Center

James R. Hansen, author of the authorized Neil Armstrong biography, will speak about the astronaut’s life on Nov. 1.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Spirit Plans Sensory Bending Benefit Dinner

Spirit Plans Sensory Bending Benefit Dinner

Pittsburgh chefs, bartenders, artists and musicians will help kick-off the Lawrenceville bar's Vault 3.0 with a benefit for its rooftop garden project.

Comments

Southern Cuisine Served with a Big Side of Hospitality

Southern Cuisine Served with a Big Side of Hospitality

Sugar and Smoke owner Andrea Robinson not only wants to feed customers of her new eatery in Bloomfield –– she wants to know their names.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Places to Shop If You Have a Green Thumb

The 5 Best Places to Shop If You Have a Green Thumb

Hone your gardening skills at these top Pittsburgh-area nurseries, garden centers and shops.

Comments

The 5 Best Movie Theaters in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Movie Theaters in Pittsburgh

A movie-going experience is about more than just the movie. PM Film Critic Sean Collier takes a break from movie reviews and shares the best spots for cocktails, classics and comfort.

Comments


House of 1000 Beers Is Not Exaggerating

House of 1000 Beers Is Not Exaggerating

There are actually more than 1,000 different varieties of beer available at the pleasant Warrendale bar and restaurant.

Comments

Phantom Fright Nights is Creepy, Essential Kennywood

Phantom Fright Nights is Creepy, Essential Kennywood

The Halloween attraction turns the playful park sinister in delightful ways.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Sandwich, Helmet, Teammates Await Bell’s Return to Steelers

Sandwich, Helmet, Teammates Await Bell’s Return to Steelers

Le’Veon Bell reportedly intends to return to the Steelers before the second Browns game on Oct. 28, but hasn’t yet. But that didn’t stop some of his teammates from trying to have some fun with Bell at the media’s expense.

Comments

Shazier, Steelers Return to Cincinnati Still Seeking a Happy Ending

Shazier, Steelers Return to Cincinnati Still Seeking a Happy Ending

Sunday's return to Paul Brown Stadium will be the Steelers' first trip back since last December when linebacker Ryan Shazier went down and stayed down. But this time he’ll be back on the sideline with his team, and most significantly he’ll be back on his feet.

Comments


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

The 400-Word Review: The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford's alleged final performance is a quiet, fitting farewell.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Halloween

The 400-Word Review: Halloween

Forty years later, a new "Halloween" resets most of the franchise and returns to form.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Pittsburgh Couples with Perfect New York City Proposals

Pittsburgh Couples with Perfect New York City Proposals

Another city of bridges provided the perfect backdrop for these romantic engagements.

Comments

Love and the Law: This Couple's Professor Nailed It

Love and the Law: This Couple's Professor Nailed It

When Julia Conley and Scott Scheinberg's law school professor predicted two people in the class would end up married to one another, they never imagined it would be them.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Build or Remodel in 2018? Submit Your Home to Our Best of Design Contest

Build or Remodel in 2018? Submit Your Home to Our Best of Design Contest

Categories include Best New and Best Renovated homes, Best Kitchens and Best Outdoor Space.

Comments

HGTV's Leanne Ford Partners With PPG on Perfect White Paints

HGTV's Leanne Ford Partners With PPG on Perfect White Paints

Known for her signature "white on white" aesthetic, the star of "Restored by the Fords" shares her "fail proof" color choices.

Comments