A hearty wheat pretzel bowl with a salted pretzel crust, the perfect complement to a creamy soup on a cold winter night. These look a lot more difficult than they actually are; one bowl and the yeast does most of the work
Crusty, whole wheat salted pretzel carbs.
The best kind, arguably.
I did make mini cinnamon rolls this weekend (coming soon!) so it is indeed an argument of the best carb.
I dare you to find a better best friend for a creamy, winter soup. Actually, I dare you to make these crusty little bowls of delight, giving Panera a run for their money. Mmm.
I could live in Panera.
And newsflash: the ingredients here are so delightfully simple, I bet they are sitting in your pantry right now. Much cheaper than a trip to Panera, plus a nice dose of some whole grain goodness. I love the combination of hearty whole wheat with the salted exterior. So homey, so lovely.
I think I should maybe highlight a few steps that go into these bowls to completely convince you how user friendly and easy this recipe is. In addition to activating the yeast and kneading the dough, the yeast does most of the work for you. In order for the yeast to rise, you want to create a nice, warm environment for it to grow in.
How do you do this without turning your thermostat up to 90 degrees?
Proofing oven. A sort of DIY, not fancy proofing oven. Simply turn your oven to preheat to 150-200 degrees while you’re putting together the dough and turn it off once preheated, or before you set the dough in there to rise. The goal is to make the dough rise not to bake it. Leave the oven door slightly open while it’s in there and make sure to oil the top.
Another fun, fancy chef step? The boil. In order to get that crusty pretzel exterior, you have to boil the uncooked dough in a baking soda and water bath before putting it in the oven. Note: this will make you feel like you are in the know. When your friends ask, you will nonchalantly tell them of your newfound crusty exterior knowledge and make them infinitely jealous.
In the photo above, I simply cut a funnel shape out to make a little bread “cap,” but I hollowed it out more with a spoon later on so I could fit more soup. Keep in mind these are not basketball sized bread bowls like Panera because all that bread and all that creamy, delicious soup calls for a little portion control. And room for dessert, obviously.
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 package rapid rise yeast (1/4 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4-5 cups flour (I did a mix of all purpose and whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- coarse salt
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees (see note in post)
- Combine water and yeast in an oven safe medium bowl and let it sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy. Add sugar, two teaspoons of salt, and flour; one cup at a time. You can use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment or just the bowl and a wooden spoon. I did the latter. Continue to add flour one cup at a time until the dough isn't super sticky and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl Remember, you can always add flour but can't take any away.
- Remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface for 4-5 minutes. Clean most of the flour and dough bits out of the bowl and add oil. Put dough ball into the bowl and turn a few times until it is completely oiled.
- Turn off oven and put the dough in. Leave the oven dough slightly open and let rise for 40-60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Remove dough and split into four equal pieces.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bring a medium pot of water to boil. Once water is boiling, add the 1/4 cup baking soda. Place two dough balls into the boiling water and cook for one minute, flip, and cook the other side for an additional minute. Repeat process with other two dough balls.
- Place dough balls on a greased cookie sheet or silicon baking liners, making sure they are at least 1 1/2- 2 inches apart. Beat the egg in a small bowl and lightly brush the tops of the dough balls and carefully slit an "x" into the top of each one. Sprinkle the tops with coarse salt.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
- To serve, cut a cone shape out of each top using a serrated knife and scoop out extra bread with a spoon.
Recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown, "Homemade Soft Pretzels"