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Huevos del Toro

Pretzel Bread?

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I was asked recently about pretzel bread (her nomenclature). It seems she had this in a German themed restaurant. She described it as having a pretzel-like exterior, with the crunchy salt, but the inside was bread, neither hard nor chewy, just a nice bread. It was fairly small and oval like a roll. It was offered amongst a wide variety of different breads.

Any clues as to what it might be? She’d like to recreate it at home or buy it from the baker. We assumed it wasn’t baked on premises just because of the wide variety of breads that were offered. I told her to call the restaurant and ask them.

Any clues as to what it might be?

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I had something like this at a restaurant years ago. I believe it was a fairly standard bread that had been boiled in a water and 'chemical' (is it baking soda? I don't remember) bath before baking. It's sort of like making bagels, but the ingredients in the pretzel bath cause the crust to become shiny and dark as it bakes. Makes a great snack.

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pretzels and pretzel bread are treated in lye before baking which gives it the characteristic dark brown, slightly bitter exterior.


Edited by alanamoana (log)

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I made similar breads during summers spent with family in Germany. I e-mailed my cousin in Germany to see if she still makes it. My cousin -- torch bearer of the family metzgerei and konditerei -- says the bread is run through "slowly boiling" water to which salt and "Natron" (German baking soda) is added. She said the salt is added to increase the temperature at which the water boils -- or something like that -- and not to add too much -- "It is a bath, not a brine" -- and that the soda is added for appearance. I didn't ask her if Natron is the German word for Baking soda or if it is a brand name. Sorry.

I do remember from making it that the rolls didn't spend much time in the simmering water. They went in, spent 45 seconds or so, then were dipped out with a wire strainer. They were then placed on a cornmeal-dusted paking sheet and, when the tray was full, sprinkled with pretzel salt and placed in the oven.

Wow -- I just read through the first paragraph. I have managed, through poor writing and grammar -- to be appauled by my own work! I guess I should be re-reading Elements of Style instead of Larouse Gastronomie!

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I didn't ask her if Natron is the German word for Baking soda or if it is a brand name.

The German to English translator comes up with "soda". I think the Egyptians used it to desiccate the bodies of those they were mummifying. It came from dried lake beds. On the other hand, I could be massively wrong about that! :rolleyes:

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just checked in my swiss confectionary cookbook and they call it "soda lye"

here is what they say about it:

"a) commercially: soda lye is available below 5% concentration, without a poison certification (max 4.9%)

b) own preparation of the lye: 1000g warm water and 50g sodium hydroxide, pure, in disc form

boil the discs in water until completely dissolved. use at a temperature of approx. 40 degrees celsius"

they don't say to leave it in the water while boiling, just dip and then sprinkle with pretzle salt and bake

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I make pretzel rolls from an OLD Gourmet (recipe is on Epicurious) that you boil in baking soda and sugar.

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they don't say to leave it in the water while boiling, just dip and then sprinkle with pretzle salt and bake

I just had an e-mail exchange with my cousin to ask her about timing on the bread. I was totally mistaken in my recollection. She said:

>the small breads should stay in the water no time at all. Maybe 5 seconds. >45 seconds is much too long a time. Abba never put more >into the water than he could pull out with his strainer at one >time. Jacob is the same way now. Tell people salt should> go on at while dough is wet.

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I didn't ask her if Natron is the German word for Baking soda or if it is a brand name.

The German to English translator comes up with "soda". I think the Egyptians used it to desiccate the bodies of those they were mummifying. It came from dried lake beds. On the other hand, I could be massively wrong about that! :rolleyes:

you're right.

i actually thought natron was salt peter.

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