Friday, September 16, 2022

Pletzel (Jewish Onion Board) #BBB


We've gone from pretzels to pletzel this week!  Only similar for the alliteration and rhyme, this month's Bread Baking Babes pick is an Ashkenazi Jewish flatbread and is sometimes called an Onion Board.  The flavor is quite similar to the onion and poppy seed bialys we have made before.  I recall liking those very much!  This is just a larger and arguably easier version that feeds a crowd as far as I am concerned.  The dough can vary from a lean dough like this one, to leftover challah dough, a much richer option.  I think this lean dough is ideal and of course I love my onions.

Not wanting to turn on my oven still, I divided the dough in half and made two boards in my toaster oven.  (I am still thrilled with this new toaster oven!)  They turned out a perfect size for our family and everyone that tried a piece liked it.  The second batch, I topped with some furikake as the closest thing to everything bagel seasoning I had on hand.  Figured it would be good!

We would love to have you try out this savory flat bread with us this month and share how it turned out! New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

Pletzel (Jewish Onion Board)
makes 1 large or two medium onion boards


375 g (3 cups) all purpose flour
7 g (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
7 g (2 tsp) Diamond Crystal kosher salt (That is only 1 tsp sea salt by weight)
3 tbsp, olive oil, divided
294 g (1¼ cups) warm water (about 110º F)


1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for stretching
3 large yellow or brown onions, about 3/8 inch dice
1¾ grams (½ teaspoon) kosher salt
1 tbsp (plus more if desired) poppy seeds
Flake sea salt (optional)


Mix the flour, yeast, salt, 2 tbsp oil, and water until all of the flour is absorbed.

Grease a large bowl or dough rising bucket with remaining oil and scrape the dough into it. Turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise overnight, about 10 to 15 hours. It should double.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator while you heat the oven and prepare the onions.

If you have a baking stone, set it on a rack in the middle or slightly below. Heat your oven to 450º F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is translucent and slightly browned about the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes. When they are almost done, stir in the salt. Remove the onions from the pan and let cool in a bowl.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Scrape the dough onto the parchment and spread it by dimpling it with your oiled fingertips while pushing to the edges. If the dough is resistant, let it rest for 10 minutes, and start spreading it again (until you have about a 10 inch by 14 inch rectangle).

Brush the edges of the dough lightly with olive oil. Spread the onion mixture over the dough, leaving about a 1 inch border. Sprinkle with onions with the poppy seeds. Lightly sprinkle with the optional sea salt. Let rest, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes. 

First half board

Second half board

Place the baking sheet on top of the baking stone and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cut with a pizza wheel or kitchen scissors. It's best fresh from the oven, but can be reheated, just like pizza. 

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Toffee Apple Pretzels #BreadBakers

Our BreadBakers theme this month, hosted by Cook with Renu, is everything pretzel!  Any type of pretzel, be it bread, buns, crisps, you name it, was on the table.  I have made soft pretzels once before and they were delicious.  And though I did have a different kind of pretzel pinned to try, this idea for Toffee Apple Pretzels popped into my head.  I knew what I had in mind and took cues from a bunch of recipes and techniques.  I wanted them stuffed but not streuseled, and decadent but not as messy as some other options I had seen.  These are still a bit messy, but oh my goodness.  They got the "WOW" from hubby.  All the sweet comes from the toffee bits and icing and it is plenty.

You might be wondering if you can make these without the boiling step.  Technically the answer is yes, but they will not be the same and in my opinion, not worth it.  Better to make something else because the result is quite different and so much better as a pretzel and not just a filled bread product.  I tried it both ways to be sure; much better pretzeled and very worth the extra few minutes.

Toffee Apple Stuffed Pretzels
makes 6 pretzels

1½ cups (340g) water (110-115°F)
2½ tsp (9g) instant yeast
3½ cups + 1½ tbsp (450g) bread flour
½ tbsp (7g) brown sugar
1 tsp (6g) sea salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 large granny smith apple, peeled and small diced)
2 tbsp (14g) brown sugar
½ cup toffee bits (such as bits o' brickle)

Egg wash:
1 egg
2 tsp water

For boiling:
6 cups water
2 tbsp baking soda

Butterscotch Icing:
(Recipe follows)

Mix together the water, yeast, and sugar in bowl of a stand mixer.  Let rest for 5 minutes.

In medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon and salt. Add to the yeast mixture and knead for a few minutes until it forms a cohesive mass.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  If dough is very sticky, you may add 1-2 tbsp flour until it stops sticking to sides. 

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°F), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.  (The timing is very forgiving - mine got two rises because I thought I had toffee bits in the freezer and then didn't and had to run around for an hour trying to find a store that carried them.  Thank you Albertson's!)

Meanwhile, toss the chopped apples with the 2 tbsp brown sugar and set aside. 

Combine 6 cups water and 2 tbsp baking soda in a non-aluminum Dutch oven or large pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer while forming the pretzels.

Divide dough in two and roll out one half into a long rectangle about 20x9 inches.  Cut the rectangle into three long strips. 

Divide the apples into six portions and place one portion along the middle of each strip.  Leave any juice in the bowl.

 Sprinkle the toffee bits along the strip of apples, about 2 1⁄3 tbsp per pretzel.

Carefully fold over the long edges to meet and seal very well.  Gently stretch to around 20-22 inches. To shape the pretzel, take the ends of the rope and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.

Place the pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet(s).  Repeat with the remaining half of dough and filling ingredients.

Cut the parchment pieces apart to separate the pretzels.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Gently lower one pretzel into the simmering water mixture (leave it on the parchment to transfer); cook 15 seconds (the parchment will separate immediately and can be pulled out). Turn pretzel with a large slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.

Place pretzels on a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment. Whisk together the egg wash.  Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels.  Bake at 425°F for 12-14 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Ice when just slightly warm and serve.

These are best when fresh baked and just cooled, but may be stored in an airtight container for a day or frozen for up to 3 months.  They can be reheated directly from frozen in a low oven or toaster oven for 10-15 minutes.  Glaze will melt to form a crispy, crackle finish when reheated.

Butterscotch Icing Glaze:
¼ cup (57g) butter, cubed
¼ cup (53g) packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (28g) milk
1 cup (114g) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For glaze, in a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Drizzle over cooled pretzels.  (I like to put the icing in a freezer ziptop bag and pipe it through a snipped off end.)

Be sure to check out the rest of our pretzel publications:

 #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. 


Friday, September 2, 2022

Nutty Brookies: Testing out new appliances with their own recipes

Gremlins have hidden my old toaster oven.  It is very annoying.  Now that I have purchased a replacement it is almost certain that we will find the old one soon.  Murphy's Law and all that.  It was a very good little appliance for 22 years, a wedding present, and so I replaced it with the same brand (Delonghi), and high hopes for performance.  Somewhere in another dimension, it is sitting in my garage but the entrance to that location is not accessible at the moment.  Being the time of year for miserable weather for baking, I was very much not happy that I had to turn on the regular stove to make dinner last week.  I detest the stove we got to replace the old one when it died and would never purchase that brand again.  You blew it, GE.  There is no insulation and you can get second degree burns just by touching the front control area when the oven is on.  And it has an idiotic broiler in the bottom "drawer", you have to lie on the floor to use it.  Bottom line, never get a stove online.  Go check it out in store first.  Annnnyway, here is this new toaster oven to test out and I decided to give one of the recipes in the manual a bake to break it in.  

This is basically a brookie or a "drop brownie" recipe though it is technically named a chocolate nut cookie.  I have made similar cookies before and this one is more brownie like and less flourless cake like.  And heavy on the nuts!  I am pleased with both the new appliance and the recipe!  Extremely happy with the front glass insulative quality.  The double pane glass is a huge upgrade from the old one.  Making enchiladas in it tonight!  I am giving approximate temps as I used a program function and a thermometer to check.  It is also a convection oven so that makes a difference in time and temp. 

Chocolate Nut Cookies
makes 18-24

8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp unsalted butter (I used salted and reduced salt in recipe)
1 tbsp instant coffee powder (I used Pero)
2 tsp vanilla
1⁄3 cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (I used ¼ tsp)
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped (yes, you can reduce this amount)
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (I used sliced almonds) (consider adding some chocolate chips instead!)

Lightly toast the nuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes over medium heat, until slightly colored and fragrant.  Allow to cool, then chop.

Preheat oven to 350ºF or 325ºF convection.

Heat the chocolate chips, butter, and instant coffee in a small saucepan over low heat, or in a microwave in 30-second increments.  Stir until smooth, add vanilla, and cool for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and set aside. 

Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until light in color and slightly thickened.

Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs, then add the flour just until combined.

Stir in the nuts.

Drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls onto parchment lined sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes depending on the size of scoops.  *Note that the cookies will be less shiny the longer the dough sits before baking, but still tasty.  This is one of those bake-right-away recipes that does not benefit, at least visually, from a rest period.

Remove with paper to a wire rack to cool, then serve.