Herb and Cheese Pretzel Bread- A beautifully textured bread

For the February edition of We Knead to Bake, we were asked to bread any bread of our choice. I went through loads of blogs, unsure of what I wanted to bake. I have been dying to bake some Grissini, but I thought it goes best with soup and in this hot and humid weather I wasn’t sure I wanted to make any soup at all.
I wanted to bake monkey bread, but I have left my bundt pan back in Bangalore and didn’t feel like baking them in the muffin pan. Moreover, I wanted something savory and the recipes I saw were mostly sweet. I check out a few dinner rolls as well but didn’t feel like baking them either.

To tell you the truth, without a good camera, I don’t feel like baking these days. I know! I know I am baking to eat and not to photograph, but you know, if you are part of a group with fabulous photographers whose pictures look like works of art, you really don’t feel like putting up your crappy pictures on the same page as theirs.

Anyway, I finally zeroed in on the Herb and Cheese Pretzel Bread that Aparna has on her blog. I didn’t add onions to the bread like she did, coz my in-laws are here and they don’t eat onions.

This time, unlike last time, I kept a close eye on the bread while proving. I wanted a really good texture unlike the dense texture I got last time with the Focaccia Caprese.

This was a fairly easy bread to make. Just mix all the ingredients, knead, leave to prove, shape the bread and then bake. Suited the lazy me coz I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen baking elaborate stuff.

So without further ado, presenting the Herb and Cheese Pretzel Bread for this months “We Knead to Bake” bread. A beautiful bread to accompany a soup, a pasta or even to toast and have it plain. Ofcourse, my bread “uncrazy” family needed me to make a sandwich out of it for breakfast.

Recipe adapted from: Aparna’s blog 

This month’s bread on Aparna’s blog: Ciabatta Rolls

Herb and Cheese Pretzel Bread

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Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 – 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Some white sesame seeds (optional)
Method:
 In a mixing bowl (or processor bowl), put in cheese, flours, Italian herbs, pepper and salt. Mix (or pulse) a couple of times and add warm water. 
Knead very well, adding more water if necessary, till a moderately stiff dough which is smooth and elastic is obtained.
Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, coating the ball with oil by turning it round in the bowl. Cover and allow the dough to double in volume (about an hour or so).
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, letting it rest for 10 minutes. Roll the dough out into a 24″ long smooth rope. Place it on a greased baking sheet and shape into a large pretzel shape. Moisten the ends of the pretzel and tuck them underneath to seal.
Shaped and ready to prove again

Shaped and ready to prove again

Cover and allow to rise till almost double (about half an hour). Brush the top of the bread with cold milk and sprinkle  white sesame seeds if preferred. Preheat the oven at 190C for 10 mins.
Bake at 190C for about 40 minutes till golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. If the bread is browning too much, cover it loosely with aluminium foil during the last 20 minutes in the oven. Cool completely on a rack.
 
The herb and Cheese Pretzel Bread after baking

The herb and Cheese Pretzel Bread after baking

I loved the texture of the bread. Below is the picture of the pretzel bread and store bought whole wheat bread. Just tried comparing it for my satisfaction that’s all.
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It is important to use a sharp cheddar cheese to make this bread for the flavour of the cheese to really come through in this bread.
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