I forget how old I was and at which mall we were at, but my grandmother got me addicted to giant soft pretzels.
It only took one bite to make me an addict. We shared one hot, salty, soft pretzel from Auntie Anne's, dipped in honey mustard sauce (something she also introduced me to. I never in a million years would have made the mustard-pretzel connection if it weren't for her. A few years later, she also got me hooked on frozen yogurt, but that's another story). The parts where the dough crossed over each other were my favorite- a little doughier and slightly less salty than the rest. We stood there in silence, savoring every bite of this pretzel and before we knew it, it was gone. We, of course, in the nature of true addicts, went back for seconds.
Grandma became my enabler, offering to share a pretzel whenever we went to the mall (my grandma is super fun to go shopping with). It's understandable that through my teenage years, I equated going to the mall with eating pretzels, and when I was old enough to take myself to the mall, I don't think I need to tell you that I was doing more than shopping at The Wet Seal. It should also be noted that, because I was a terribly unhealthy eater between the ages of 16 and 17, my lunch consisted of a soft pretzel from the school cafeteria. And a diet coke. I wouldn't have known a balanced diet if it was staring me in the face.
gotten older matured, I have learned to eat a balanced diet full of healthy foods and abstain from soft pretzels except in the case of a low-blood-sugar/forgot-to-pack-a-snack-for-the-mall sort of emergency. To this day, every time I pass a pretzel shop, I stare, almost hypnotized by the teenager in the window, rolling out the dough and forming pretzels, knowing that if I indulged, it would be the beginning of a downward spiral. My stepson, who has the appetite of a very small bird and has incredibly particular tastebuds, also loves soft pretzels. In the extremely rare circumstance that he will tell us that he is hungry, enough so that he will actually ask for food, and we just so happen to be near a pretzel shop, a soft pretzel will always appease him. While he slowly and methodically eats his pretzel, I have to avert my eyes because otherwise, I know I would look similar to a hungry dog, waiting for him to drop a crumb.
A few years ago, when pretzel bread became all the rage, I thought it was the greatest thing since
the beginning of time sliced bread soft pretzels. Now I had an excuse to indulge in the salty doughiness of soft pretzels, but have it disguised as the bread for my sandwich or to dip in my soup. When I became vegan, I knew that I was no longer going to consume pretzel bread because, generally speaking, they are brushed with an egg wash before baking. Recently, on the interwebs (as they say), I've noticed a lot of vegan bloggers making their own versions pretzel bread, and by golly, I knew I had to give it a try. My only requirement was that it taste like the super soft, slightly salty (I would always get the salted version, but brush a lot of the salt off) giant pretzels that my grandma and I would share at the mall. The outcome was better than I expected.
The loaves looked lighter in color than I had expected, but had the perfect amount of saltiness and the perfect amount of soft doughiness that I was craving. Every piece we tore off reminded me of those pre-teen years at the mall with my grandma, not caring what anyone thought because gosh darn it, we were going back for seconds! It's that good, my friends. It's awfully tasty with a light spread of vegan butter and a tiny bit of mustard, or you can check back on Wednesday and see what else we did with this bread. Hint: It's a savory, salty-meets-sweet winter treat.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons almond milk mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, and coconut sugar. Stir together and let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the flour, salt, and melted coconut oil and stir/knead until a ball of dough forms. If it is too dry, add more melted coconut oil by the tablespoon. If it is too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon.
- Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- When finished rising, punch down the dough and turn it over onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Take the dough and form it into four even length loaves (or two larger loaves). Place them side by side (not touching each other though) on the prepared baking sheet.
- Cover with clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise again for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large wide sauce pan wiith water to a boil. Gently sprinkle baking soda in and stir to mix. Lower to a simmer. Place one loaf of bread in the water for 30 seconds then flip over and poach for another 30 seconds. Use two slotted spoons to guide the bread in and out of the pot.
- Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the other loaves. Take a sharp knife and make slits on the top of the loaves.
- Take the almond milk/cornstarch mixture and with a pastry brush, brush the tops of the bread, sprinkle with salt, then place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Loaves will keep in airtight container for 1-2 days.
adapted from Table for Two
As many of you may remember, shortly before Christmas, my family adopted a beagle from a high-kill shelter in Lancaster. Thank you to all of you who shared your warm wishes and congratulations.
Unfortunately, we were unable to keep this wonderful little girl. Things started out okay between Samantha (our first canine companion) and the new dog, but every day, things got a little more tense, especially when there was food involved. We had to be extremely careful during feeding times as well as when we were eating and we could not let them be alone together. Then one night, Chris pulled out the bag of dog food and the dogs got into a barking match, which escalated very quickly into violence before we could break it up. Samantha brought her paw up in front of her face, just as the new dog was going in for a bite, and Samantha got her paw pretty badly bitten. There was blood all over the floor, though Samantha did not cry or whimper. I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me as I held Samantha and watched her lick her wound (which we later found out was a broken toe, in addition to the bite wound). From that point, things got really bad. Sam began hiding under the bed, not acknowledging our presence or reacting when we called her name, not eating or drinking, hobbling around on one foot, and if she even looked at the new dog, she got barked at. We knew it was not fair to Samantha to go on like this.
Fortunately, Bridget, from ARME, whom I had been working with in regards to rescuing this dog, was extremely understanding and helped me get in touch with another person who was interested in rescuing the beagle if we hadn't. Her father's beagle had just passed away and he was devastated. He is retired and lives in Lake Tahoe and she was going to give this beagle to him for Christmas. When he found out that this dog would be able to come live with him after all, he and his wife both cried in happiness. Bridget, who happened to be going to Lake Tahoe a couple days after Christmas, arranged to take her with her and take her to her new home. The beagle is doing extremely well in her new home and her human companion is so happy to have her.
It took Samantha about one week before she started to come out of shock. She is just now starting to put a little pressure on her broken paw, but she's back to her old, happy self. Even though Samantha got hurt, I am so happy that we were able to rescue that dog and give her a ton of love for that short time. She was just "love on legs", as Chris puts it, and I am thrilled to know that she's prospering in her forever home. This experience also reminded us what a wonderful being Samantha is and how blessed we are to know her. I am terribly grateful to Bridget and ARME for all of their help and for all that they do- this has been a great experience, even though things turned out differently than we had expected.
Photography by Chris Miller
I don't know much about pretzels being an English girl, where the only pretzels we get are the crunchy kind in a packet. I have seen those big pretzel knots on tv and blogs though and must say they do look good, as does your version...not so sure about dipped in mustard though..maybe chocolate?! Love salt + choc together.
So sorry to hear about the dog situation but how fortunate that you were able to find a good home for her.
Salt and chocolate is the best, isn't it? They pretzels are pretty amazing with mustard too, even though it sounds like a weird combo. You should bake some and try it out! 🙂
That looks amazing! I have a recipe for some pretzel rolls that I adore but haven't made for a while. I'm going to give this a try!
Bless you for trying to rescue that dog, and I'm so glad it worked out for the other family. I hope your own dog heals quickly.
Thank you, Beth! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
whoa! what a story! my heart is with sam and teared up at her reaction to getting her toe broken ;( i'm so happy maeby was able to find a forever home and that samantha is back to her old self. she's such a precious girl.
back to the bread! i have never heard of soft pretzel bread, but being from philly, we LOVE our soft pretzels. my family would always get the pretzel loaves(log braided soft pretzels) when we were at the mall. i did the same, get the salted but then brush it off 😉 and whenever we were out anywhere where someone was selling pretzels, we were all over it. i sadly haven't had a soft pretzel in probably six years and miss them dearly.
this bread looks so soft and perfect in every way, i can almost taste it. i wish i knew how to replace bread flour, as i'm sure dayv would go bananas for this.
I'm so thrilled with the way things worked out too. We now know that Samantha is an "only" dog and Maeby has the perfect home for her and her new humans adore her. 🙂
I used bread flour because that was the only type of flour I had an entire four cups of. The recipe I adapted it from used regular all-purpose, so I suppose one might be able to try it with gluten-free flour, but I don't know enough about GF baking to figure it out. I think Richa should probably take a stab at it... 🙂
CJ at Food Stories
I am a sucker for a soft pretzel so this recipe looks wonderful & dangerous!
So happy you were able to find a great home for your rescue dog.
Thank you, CJ- I'm a sucker for soft pretzels too (if you hadn't guessed). 😉
Beautiful bread, Kristy! I love the look of those loaves and I'm positive that I will LOVE the taste!
Thank you for the update on your dog adoption - and that despite some stress and pain for all there is a happy ending. It's wonderful that you opened your home like that. Fast recovery to Samantha!
Thank you, Annie! And I'm so happy things worked out for the best too. I love happy endings. 🙂
jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur
The texture of this bread looks amazing! What a great idea. I've seen pretzel rolls, but they still look super dense. This bread looks like it has a lighter texture, which is more my speed. Thanks for the great recipe!
This bread does have a lighter texture, so you might like it, Jodye! Thank you for stopping by!
I'm so sorry to hear about your dog adoption not working out. It's so hard to do what is best for everyone involved, but it sounds like you did it. Happy to hear she found a new home and that Samantha is doing well once again. <3
On a happier note - I love love love this pretzel bread, and I need some in my life asap!
u had me at bread.. 😉 i dont know why i havent made this bread yet. it is time!
I am so sorry that things did not work out. Sometimes you do have to let go. I am so glad to hear that sam is back to her old self and Maeby found a home too. That is one good thing about them pups. They heal, forgive and forget everything in their own time.
When we were fostering, chewie and the fosters usually found their place in the order after a few days. Chewie played with some of the boys but usually just ignored everyone else. Some of the younger gals were very alpha and would bully Chewie for food and toys and i did not give them food at all till they both sat quietly. i used to read up so much back then about being the alpha. Thankfully the only fights they had were very growlly and showy(poms and chis and other small breed mixes are all about being showy). I am rusty at being alpha, so will have to brush up before fostering again. hopefully once i start walking longer distances. All the nervousness with my first foster showed. Both the foster(Simo- I cried for him the most when he was adopted) and chewie could tell that they could get away with bad behavior. Some of the traits though show up only later and it can get very stressful.
Tight Hugs to Sam and you all. she looks so sweet in the pictures. i just gave my pup a tight hug too after reading this.
You're probably right, Richa- I probably needed to be more of an alpha. I'm just so used to Samantha who listens to every word I say and understands every word of it. She even knows what certain words are when we spell them! It's insane how intelligent Samantha is and how well-behaved she is. The beagle did a great job of listening and was learning commands pretty quickly, but heavens the two of them were just not happy with each other. I'm so happy that we've found a solution that works for both of them. 🙂
I am glad the dog situation cleared up. I hope the other dog is alright at its new home.
The pretzel bread looks great. I tried making pretzels a couple months ago and they were the ugliest things, haha! This sounds a lot easier.
I've talked to the new "owners" a few times, and their daughter, and they are just madly in love with her. She is very happy there. I love happy endings!
I'm sure these are much better than regular pretzels, though, I really want to try them now, since this was so easy!
I too have to resist grabbing a pretzel whenever I go to the mall. I ate a fair amount as an elementary student, complete with the neon-orange cheese sauce. I love the salty-sweet combo that a perfectly-baked pretzel presents, so kudos to you for creating a vegan version. I can't wait to see how you used it in your next recipe.
Thank you also for your update on your adoption. I'm sorry that things didn't work out and that poor Sam got hurt, but I am so very thankful that the little beagle found a more suitable home. At least you didn't just go dump her in a shleter like many poor souls are. I think it was fate that you were meant to get her out of the rescue and eventually into her forever home.
Thank you, Reia- I think so too. We were meant to save her life and giver a home with tons of love for a couple weeks before she went to her forever home. It was just supposed to happen that way. 🙂
I'm glad I wasn't the only pretzel-holic in my youth! 🙂
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack!
That bread looks utterly delicious!
I'm sad to see that the new addition to your family didn't work out. At least you have a great outlook on it and were able to give the dog a great home for a little bit!
I'm so happy with the way things worked out. We were so blessed to meet her and give her tons of love for the time she was with us. Now she has the perfect home for her and so does Samantha. 🙂
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Oh there's just something about a hot steaming pretzel with mustard- I used to look forward to those as treats (I mean anything bready or mustardy is great- adding them together is heaven!). This looks like a wonderful healthy alternative 🙂
I'm right there with you- steaming hot,y pretzel bread with mustard... Yum!
I'm so sorry to hear that things didn't go as you'd hoped and expected with your new beagle friend! I would love to take in more animals - either a new cat or dog - but this is exactly the kind of thing that I worry about happening. My first priorities are Jezebel and Spike (the cats who already live with me), and I wouldn't want them to feel unhappy, afraid, stressed, or hurt in their own home. It's such an unknown to maneuver, because a new companion could bring them happiness and a new playmate. You just never know until you try, and it takes a bit of time to figure out if the match will work after they get a chance to know each other. Obviously you had to think of Samantha's needs, and I'm glad that the beagle was able to be re-homed in a place where she'll be well loved.
Your pretzel bread sounds delicious! I remember the first time my aunt introduced me to soft, mall pretzels. I thought they were a revelation.
Thank you, Cadry. We deliberated on this for so long because of the same concerns. We love animals and want to save them all, but Samantha is just happier being alone. We know that now. I'm glad we tried it out, and it was such a treat getting to know this little girl, which makes me even happier to know she's in a good place. 🙂
Say what! Pretzel Bread, how in the world have I never heard of this until now- sorry let me wipe the drool from my keyboard - WOW, this is a game changer!
So sorry to hear about both your pups, I am happy to hear that Sammie is coming around to her same loving puppy self and the other pup has found another forever loving home!
Thank you, Heather! Pretzel Bread is the new black, as I always say (I don't always say that). It's pretty wonderful. With your bread making prowess, I'm sure you could make this 10 times better! 🙂
Hi Kristy, just stumbled on this recipe and would like to try making it as rolls instead of loaves. How do you think I should adjust the cooking?
Sorry to read the follow up about the dogs, but its great that everything worked out for both of them.
Thanks, Sarah. I have not tried this recipe as rolls but I would start by cutting the baking time in half and then keeping an eye on it from there. When they're firm and golden, they're done. 🙂
Made this recipe with my daughter for Easter. She has never made a yeast bread before and this looked easy enough to do. It was great!! We even made our loaves into a huge bunny. The warm bread was so incredibly delicious. I'm going to make it again very soon.