Spicy Cherry Pretzel Knots

February 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 30 knots


For the knots

½ cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
1¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons golden brown sugar (packed)
¾ teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
¼ cup spicy mustard
1⁄3 cup dried cherries, chopped fine
2 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt
Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

For the poaching liquid

8 cups water
¼ cup amber beer
¼ cup baking soda
¼ cup golden brown sugar (packed)
¼ cup cracked mustard seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoon pretzel salt or 1-2 tablespoon coarse sea salt

For egg glaze

1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
¼ cup water blended with 1 tablespoon dried cherries


Place ½ cup warm water in medium bowl. Stir in yeast; let stand until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add buttermilk, both sugars, and vegetable oil; mix well. Mix flour and salt in processor. With motor running, add yeast mixture, mustard and dried cherries and process 2 minutes. Spray large bowl with nonstick spray. Scrape dough into bowl (dough will be very sticky). Spray sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick spray; cover bowl with plastic, sprayed side down. Refrigerate dough until slightly puffed and light, about 1 hour. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, and then spray parchment with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Spray hands with nonstick spray. Divide dough into 30 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll into 5-inch long rope. Tie in knot, leaving room on each end sticking up through the center. Tuck other end under, if needed. Transfer pretzels to prepared baking sheet, knob side up. Cover pretzels with plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray. Refrigerate until puffed and light 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Bring 8 cups water, beer, baking soda, and brown sugar and mustard seeds to simmer in large wide pot (liquid should reach depth of at least 1½”. Carefully invert each pretzel into liquid in pot, allowing to slide off paper. Poach 10 seconds. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, turn pretzels over; poach 10 seconds longer. Lift from poaching liquid, allowing pretzel to drain well. Transfer to prepared sheets. Brush with egg mixture oil and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake pretzels 15 minutes, until pretzels are deep brown. (Rotate baking sheets halfway through baking time.) Transfer pretzels to rack; let cool to room temperature.

Herb crusted Chicken with Caramelized Onion Jam on Ciabatta

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4 to 6


For herb crusted chicken

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups arugula leaves, for sandwich
Ciabatta, recipe follows

For caramelized onion jam

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 sweet onions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup water


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine herbs and lemon zest. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and coat in herb mixture. In a large sauté pan, add oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and sea on one side, flip breast and then place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness of breast) or until cooked through. Once out of oven, let rest 10 minutes and then slice on breasts on the bias.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add oil over medium low heat. Add onions and cook very slowly, 10 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar and water and season with salt. Cook until onions are deep golden brown and sauce is reduced to a syrupy sauce, 15 to 20 minutes more.

To assemble sandwich, spread onion jam on ciabatta loaf, top with arugula leaves and sliced chicken breast. Cut into individual sandwiches and serve.

For ciabatta

Makes 2 loaves


For sponge

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105°-115°F)
13 cup room-temperature water
1 cup bread flour

For bread

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
23 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt


Make sponge

In a small bowl stir together yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl, stir together yeast mixture, room-temperature water, and flour and stir 4 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

Make bread

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl of a blender, blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour and combine with wooden spoon. Add salt and mix. Turn out dough from bowl on floured surface and knead until soft, about 10 minutes. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.)

Have ready a rimless baking sheet and 2 well-floured 12-by-6-inch sheets parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone or 4 to 6 unglazed “quarry” tiles (see note, above) arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up for edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone or tiles in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. With a large spatula transfer loaves to a rack to cool.


October 18th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 1 loaf


2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened), plus 2 more tablespoons for top of dough
3½ unbleached bread flour
½ cup warm water (100°F)
13 cup sugar
¼ cup milk (warmed, 100°F)
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk, for egg wash


Spray a bowl with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, add first seven ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to bowl and brush the top with melted butter. Let double, about 1 hour.
Turn out dough in a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, then return back to the bowl. Brush with butter and allow again to double in bulk, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll each into a ball. Cover loosely on table and allow resting for about 20 minutes.

Roll out into 12″ logs and allow the middle to be thicker. Braid and tuck ends underneath and transfer to buttered baking sheet, allow doubling, 20 minutes.

Brush all dough with egg wash and bake for 30-45 minutes, let cool.

Total time: 3 hrs.

© Recipe courtesy of Ashton Keefe

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