Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I think it was at the beginning of the pandemic a year and a half ago – when people were going crazy putting sourdough discard in everything – that I first heard of adding sourdough discard to cookies. Now I don’t bat an eye at adding sourdough discard into recipes and it has produced some pretty amazing bakes i.e.: sourdough blueberry crumb cake, I’m looking at you! In the beginning, I did have a few misses with an overly-sour flavor that just wasn’t the flavor I wanted. As I’ve baked more and more with sourdough discard, I love creating recipes with the addition of discard. These brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are no exception. The brown butter combined with the sourdough discard (or bubbly starter) adds such a complex and delicious flavor. I wish I was eating one right now! Thin and crispy or thick and chewy, these brown butter sourdough cookies are only about half an hour away from this screen to your stomach.

Jump to Brown Butter Sourdough Discard Cookies

Brown Butter in Sourdough Discard Cookies

Browning the butter is one of the key steps to these sourdough cookies. If you’ve never browned butter before, it’s a pretty simple process. Heat butter over medium heat, stirring every couple minutes. It is easiest to use a pan with a white bottom, but you can also use a darker bottom pan. As the butter heats it will start to brown. This can take 5-10 minutes, so it’s important to watch closely. Brown butter can easily turn into burned butter if you don’t watch it and that is no good for cookies! Once you notice little brown bits on the bottom of the pan take it off the heat. It will smell nutty and delicious. Pour the butter with the brown bits into a bowl to cool a bit before using in the cookie dough.

Sourdough Discard in Cookies

In working with sourdough discard recipes, I have found some recipes complement the discard and enhance the flavor. Other recipes don’t necessarily need sourdough discard, but they are a great vehicle for using up sourdough discard so it doesn’t go to waste while still tasting delicious. This is the case with these Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Brown butter cookies don’t necessarily need sourdough discard (plenty of recipes out there don’t call for sourdough discard in their cookies) but these cookies taste amazing with the discard. The brown butter complements the discard and makes for a deliciously complex cookie that you can feel good about. No waste, plus a delicious flavor. The sourdough discard in this recipe is made from starter that is 100% hydration. If you use discard that is fed at a different hydration, you may need to add more or less flour to the cookie dough.

Thin and Crispy or Thick and Chewy Cookies?

There is one simple trick for turning a thick and chewy cookie into a thinner and crispier cookie. Less flour! I prefer my cookies to puff up, be a little bit thick and gooey in the middle with crispy edges. The flour called for in this recipe is the perfect amount for a thick and chewy cookie. If you want to make these thinner and crispier…which is also super delicious, reduce the flour by 1/3 cup. Only add 1 cup of flour instead of the 1 1/3 cups flour and you will get cookies that look like this. Still delicious, just spread a bit thinner with a crispier bite. Either way, these brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are delish.

Convection Bake for Cookies

I have waxed poetic before about using convection bake when baking cookies. I make a lot of cookies (my kids run a little bake shop that sells awesome cookies and yours truly helps them create the recipes, etc…). Convection bake is one of the secrets to a delicious crispy edge with a gooey or chewy middle. If you have convection bake on your oven, use it! If you don’t have convection, you can increase the temperature by 25 degrees (400 degrees Fahrenheit for this recipe) and preheat your oven for 15-20 minutes to get it really hot. 

Chilling the Dough

The brown butter in the dough is warm and melted which means that these cookies will spread even more in the oven if you don’t chill the dough. If I’m in a hurry, which let’s face it, I usually am when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I’ll stick the bowl of dough into the freezer for 15 minutes. It is just long enough for the dough to firm up a bit, which helps solidify the fats. This will help the cookies hold their shape while baking. If you want even better flavor, you can chill the dough for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. This dough also freezes well. Shape the dough into balls and freeze. When you’re ready to bake, pull the dough balls out of the freezer and set them out for 10-15 minutes to thaw a bit, then bake according to the recipe directions. 

Chocolate Chunks, Dark Brown Sugar and Sea Salt

I love using dark chocolate chunks in these cookies. They add a yummy pop of rich chocolate flavor that complements the brown butter. Dark brown sugar is another key ingredient to these cookies. Can you use light brown? Yes, you can. However, the dark brown sugar complements the sourdough and brown butter flavor much better than regular brown sugar. If you can grab some dark brown sugar, do it (though not having any wouldn’t keep me from making these cookies). Adding a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (affiliate link) also takes these cookies to next-level deliciousness! You can also use chocolate chips in these cookies if you don’t have chocolate chunks on hand.

Cookie Scoop

My grandma gifted me this cookie scoop many, many years ago (affiliate link). It has made hundreds and thousands of cookies and held up so well. I use it for scooping mini muffin batter with these banana muffins, scooping meatballs and of course cookies. It is the perfect size and I highly recommend investing in one of these if you are cookie connoisseur. And if you don’t have sourdough discard on hand and want some awesome chocolate chip cookies, check these favorites out here.

If you love using sourdough discard and a deep, complex cookie flavor, these cookies are for you! They are chewy, rich and downright delicious. These cookies are kind of addicting, it was hard to stop at one or two. My kids gobbled them up and didn’t even know they had sourdough discard in them. I hope you love them too!

Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Thick, chewy and deep flavor – these brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth. Add a sprinkle of sea salt for a more complex flavor or a little less flour for a thinner, crispier cookie.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Chill Time 15 mins
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard see recipe notes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour see recipe notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
  • flaky sea salt if desired

Instructions
 

  • Brown Butter: Heat the butter in a pan or pot on the stove over medium heat. Swirl the butter around and stir every few minutes until little brown flecks are on the bottom of the pan and the butter smells nutty and delicious. Be careful not to overheat as it can burn the butter. Pour the brown butter along with all the little brown bits on the bottom of the pan into a medium sized bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to cool.
  • Add the dark brown sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl with the brown butter. Stir to combine.
  • Mix in the egg yolk, sourdough discard and vanilla extract. Mix together with a spoon until the mixture turns light and fluffy.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the middle of the bowl. Mix together using a light hand so the flour mixture is evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
  • Add chocolate chunks (or chips) and stir into the dough.
  • Place the whole bowl into the freezer and chill the dough for 15 minutes. It is possible to bake these cookies right away, but they will not be quite as puffy and will spread a lot more than the chilled dough. You can also chill the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or freeze the dough in small balls. Let the balls come back to "chilled" temperature before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees convection. Scoop the dough into balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet (my favorite linked here, affiliate link), about 12 cookies per baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt if desired.
  • Bake cookies at 375 degrees convection for 6 minutes until cookies are puffed up and the edges are a little crispy. Let the cookies sit for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet to set up before removing. If your oven doesn't have a convection setting, preheat oven for 20 minutes and bake cookies at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
  • Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and enjoy!

Notes

Substitutions: This recipe has the best flavor with dark brown sugar. You can substitute for light brown sugar, but the cookies may have a little more sourdough tang.
Sourdough Discard: I feed my starter with equal weights of water and flour for a 100% hydration starter. If your starter is fed differently, you will want to adjust the amount of flour called for in the recipe; adding more flour for a starter that is fed with a higher percentage of water and less flour for a lower hydration starter. The longer your discard sits in the fridge, the more “tang” it will have. I prefer using a younger discard in this recipe to balance with the other flavors.
Flour: This recipe has been tested with more and less flour. If you want a thinner and crispier cookie, use 1 cup of flour. If you prefer a thicker cookie, use 1 2/3 cup flour. I’ve found 1 1/3 cup flour to be perfect for the way we like our cookies. FYI: When I scoop flour, 1 cup is about 5 oz.
Keyword beginner sourdough, chocolate chip cookie, cookies, sourdough discard

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Perfect Peach Cobbler

We are at the tail end of peach season, but this recipe is one I’ve been working on perfecting over the summer – and I’ve got it just where I wanted it. This perfect peach cobbler is a combination of biscuit/cake topping, perfectly spiced peaches and absolutely divine with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. Even thought I may be a bit late to the game posting it for this season, I want it somewhere I can come back to again and again, because it tastes like summer in a pan. While I love fall and have many pounds of apples sitting on my kitchen counter, I’m still holding on to the tail end of our warm days while I can.

Jump to Recipe

Cake or Biscuit?

Peach cobbler is often made with a biscuit topping or a cake topping. Both are delicious in their own right. This peach cobbler combines the flavor of a biscuit topping with the spreadability of the cake topping. It is not overly sweet like cake toppings sometimes are, allowing the fresh peaches to really shine through. The cake topping benefits from baking powder and buttermilk which give it a beautiful rise and the combination of a crispy crust with tender cake and mixed with fresh peach…it can’t be beat!

Fresh, Frozen or Canned Peaches

This perfect peach cobbler is definitely best with in-season, fresh peaches. Can this be made in the “off season” with frozen or canned peaches? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, make sure to drain the canned peaches or for frozen, bring them to room temperature, then drain off the juice and excess water. You may also want to increase a Tablespoon or two of flour in the peach mixture to help thicken the peach mixture. This will help your peach cobbler from turning into peach soup!

Use a Glass Baking Dish

I love USA bakeware metal pans (affiliate link) that I use daily for almost all my baking. Originally I baked this peach cobbler in a metal baking dish but when I switched over to a glass dish (affiliate link), my results were consistently better. Cobbler is baked for a long time and the slow heating of the glass pan helps the cobbler bake evenly and retains the heat when the cobbler is finished baking in the oven. If you can use a glass dish, it will improve your finished cobbler.

One Bowl, One Baking Dish

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I love using one bowl when I can. My favorite one bowl pumpkin spice muffins here. Applesauce bread using one bowl is here. This favorite sourdough discard zucchini bread here. Perfect peach cobbler is no different! The less dishes, the better. I mix together the peaches with the sugar, flour and spices right into the baking dish. Then I’ll mix up the cobbler topping in a bowl and spread it on top. I love how simple this recipe is and how you really only need to wash one bowl.

If you’re looking for a way to use up the last of those summer peaches, give this perfect peach cobbler a try. I’m hoping to make this cobbler or my favorite sweet peach bread at least once more this season. Either would be the perfect end-of-summer dessert, and I won’t tell if you happen to have a bowl or two for breakfast!

Perfect Peach Cobbler

Perfect Peach Cobbler

Perfect peach cobbler with fresh peaches, spices and the perfect topping that tastes a little bit biscuit and a little bit cake.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8 by 8 pan

Ingredients
  

Peaches

  • 5-6 cups peaches sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Peach Cobbler Topping

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour about 6 oz
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut and slice 5-6 cups of fresh, soft peaches. Add them to the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass pan (affiliate link). Add the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla to the peaches and stir to combine.
  • To a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and whisk together until no dry streaks remain.
  • Spread the batter over the top of the peaches.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick is inserted into the center of the cobbler and no batter streaks remain.
  • Serve the cobbler warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

For canned or frozen peaches: Bring frozen peaches to room temperature and drain the excess liquid before using. Drain canned peaches before using. Add a Tablespoon or two of extra flour to the peach mixture before topping with cake topping.
Buttermilk substitution: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, substitute 3 Tablespoons sour cream with 2.5 Tablespoons milk, mixed together.
Peeled or unpeeled: Peaches can be peeled or unpeeled depending on your preference.
Keyword peach, peach cobbler

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Sweet Peach Bread

Have you ever had fresh Georgia peaches? Twice a summer the peach truck stops in our little town bringing fresh Georgia peaches to all who want a 25 pound box. Twenty five pounds is a lot of peaches. I had dreams of all the baking I would do with these beauties which were quickly dashed as my son ate 12 peaches on that first day! Slow down kiddos! I couldn’t really blame them though. Ripe peaches are what summer dreams are made of. Sweet, juicy and if you’re lucky you can save a few of them to make this absolutely perfect peach bread. What more could you ask for?

Are the Peaches Ready?

Part of the beauty of this peach bread is how the peaches just melt into the bread giving a beautiful moist texture and delicious flavor. To get this texture and flavor, it’s important to use very ripe and soft peaches. I often let my peaches ripen on the countertop for a few days until they are very soft and even start to wrinkle. Then I chop them up to use in the bread. These slightly over-ripe peaches seem to have the best peach flavor and texture for the perfect peach bread. I’ve only ever used fresh, ripe, peaches, though I think that canned peaches would work as long as they are well drained.

Jump to Sweet Peach Bread Recipe

Peeled or Un-Peeled?

Do you have a preference? We love eating peaches with the skins on and I truthfully don’t mind the peach skin on peaches in my peach cobbler, but for this perfect peach bread, I prefer the texture using peeled peaches. I know you can throw the peaches into some boiling water to help remove the skins, but I don’t ever do that. I use very ripe peaches that pucker a bit on the skin. Then I will gently cut the peach into quarters and peel the skin back, using a paring knife and my fingers to separate the peach from the skin. Dice the peaches into chunks until you have two cups worth of ripe peaches for this recipe. 

Coat Peaches in Flour Mixture

This peach bread can be made all in one bowl and a liquid measuring cup (my favorites linked, affiliate link). I whisk together the dry ingredients first. Then add the diced peaches to the flour mixture and coat the peaches in the flour mixture. This flour coating helps suspend the peaches throughout the bread and keeps them from all sinking to the bottom. Definitely don’t skip this step! I’ve found this method works great for blueberry breads or anytime you are adding a mix in to a quick bread. Giving it a quick toss in the dry mixture before adding the liquid ingredients helps make the perfect loaf. After coating the peach chunks in the flour mixture, whisk the liquid ingredients together in a liquid measuring cup, pour on top and stir until just combined.

Crumb Topping

Basically, any quick bread is better with a crumb topping. It gives a little extra sweetness and sets this bread apart from a more traditional loaf. Mix together the butter, brown sugar, flour and spices with a fork or your fingers and sprinkle over the top of the loaf. If you want to omit this step, you can. I like a little extra sweetness to the top of my bread.

Parchment Paper

Line your pan with parchment paper and thank me later. The first time I made this peach bread the flavor was delicious but we were scooping it out of the pan because it stuck to the edges. I love my nonstick USA pans, but whenever I make something sticky like this swirled brioche or this cinnamon chip bread, I always line my pan with parchment paper. It’s a small step but you will be happy when you can pull the whole loaf out of the pan to cool and it looks perfect! One other note about this recipe, it works best in a 9 by 5 pan which is slightly bigger than my trusty USA bread pans. Check out this pan (affiliate link) if you’re looking for another good option.

We love peach season at our house and this peach bread has made its way into our yearly rotation. It is moist, flavorful and really the perfect peach bread. 

Sweet Peach Bread

Amy
A delicious loaf of bread dotted with sweet peaches and topped with a crumb topping. This bread is delicious with fresh peaches and makes the perfect breakfast or snack on a summer day.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

Fresh Peach Bread

  • 2 cups fresh, ripe peaches peeled & chopped (13.5 oz)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (11 oz)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (6 oz)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract optional, but delicious

Crumb Topping

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Choose peaches that are very soft, ripe and feel like the skin will come off easily when cut open. Peel and chop the peaches until you have 2 cups worth. I like using a liquid measuring cup (affiliate link) to measure the chopped peaches and later to whisk my liquid ingredients together.
  • To a mixing bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to combine.
  • Pour the peaches on top of this flour mixture and lightly coat the peaches in the flour mixture until dispersed throughout.
  • To a liquid measuring cup (affiliate link), add the oil, milk, egg, vanilla and almond. Use a fork or whisk to mix it all together.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the peach/flour mixture and stir gently to combine until a thick batter is formed.
  • Make the crumb topping by mixing together with a spoon or your fingers, the softened butter, brown sugar, flour and spices. Set aside.
  • Line a 9 by 5 loaf pan with parchment paper. This recipe is perfect for a 9 by 5 pan. If you use a smaller bread pan it may be a little too much batter and you'll want to leave some out or have an overflowing pan.
  • Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan. Top with chunks of the crumb topping.
  • Bake for about 60-70 minutes until a toothpick is inserted in the middle and comes out clean. Let rest for 5 minutes in the pan and then pull out and cool on a cooling rack. Let the bread cool to room temperature. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

Canned Peaches: I haven’t tried this recipe with canned peaches, though I think it would work well. To substitute them, drain as much juice as possible, chop and use in the recipe.
Keyword peach, peach bread

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Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka

This Babka bread is decadent. It is filled with buttery cinnamon sugar. It is light, soft, tender and uses 100% sourdough to make a really delicious loaf of sweet bread. The sourdough has a bit of a learning curve that includes making a sweet leaven, but when you open the oven door and see two beautifully risen loaves of Babka, all the time is completely worth it. If you’ve never made a Babka before, this advanced sourdough cinnamon sugar babka recipe should make your list.

Jump to Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka Recipe

What is babka?

Babka originated in Eastern Europe and is an enriched bread dough that is usually swirled with a sweet chocolate or cinnamon sugar filling. If you’re looking for a chocolate filling, try out this one I’ve used for a swirled brioche before. It would be delicious with this recipe. Pronounced “bahb-kah,” this bread has become very popular at bakeries and in home kitchens this past year with the beautiful swirl braids and outstanding flavor. I love that this recipe gives two loaves of Babka. If I’m going to trouble with a three day sourdough recipe, I always like to share a loaf or freeze one for later (or who am I kidding…eat the day after we eat the first loaf).

Sample Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka Schedule

I find it personally helpful to see a sample schedule when making sourdough because it does take longer than a traditional dough using commercial yeast. This dough is enriched with a lot of eggs, butter and sugar which takes even a bit longer to rise. 

Day 1 (Make Sweet Leaven)
  • 8 AM: Mix sweet leaven, let rise and bubble
  • 8 PM: Take 120 grams of the sweet leaven and feed it again with the measurements in the recipe. Cover and let it rise and bubble until morning.
Day 2 (Mix Babka Dough, First Rise)
  • 8 AM: Mix together Babka dough ingredients (except salt and butter), rest. Add salt, mix, rest. Add butter a Tablespoon at a time and mix using stand mixer for 10 minutes.
  • 11 AM: First set of Coil Fold
  • 1 PM: Second set of Coil Folds
  • 2 PM: Cover dough and rest in refrigerator overnight (12-24 hours)
Day 3 (Assemble and Bake)
  • 8 AM: Roll out and shape Babka
  • 8:30-3PM: Let Babka rise (the rise time will vary depending on the warmth of your kitchen, but allow for at least 6-8 hours)
  • 3-4PM: Bake Babka

Sweet Leaven

One of the unique things about this sourdough recipe is making a sweet leaven before actually making the bread. Typically with sourdough, the longer the bread rises, the more tang you will taste from sourdough. I love the tang in this recipe in my Basic Country Artisan Loaf or my no-knead sourdough loaf but in a sweet babka, I don’t want to taste the tang. Making a sweet leaven helps temper the tang and mellows the flavors, letting the sweet cinnamon be the overpowering flavor. The addition of sugar to the leaven also helps temper the sour flavor. The taste of the Babka is sweet, light and delicious when using a sweet leaven. You can create this leaven directly from your current sourdough starter and through a series of power feeds (feeding it twice in a 24 hour period before using it), have it ready to mix your Babka in just 24 hours. Sweet leaven is also fairly stiff compared to a regular 100% hydration leaven. Due to the low water content, this stiff leaven ferments slowly and helps the bread keep its texture and maintain the gluten structure. This helps the bread rise slowly to keep the sweet flavor expected from a Babka.

Enriched Dough

Babka is made with an enriched dough. Lots of milk, butter, eggs and sugar go into this beautiful loaf. One of the keys to making a great Babka is the process of incorporating the butter. Once the leaven, flour, milk, eggs, sugar and salt have been mixed together to form a dough, it is time to add the butter. This takes a somewhat thick dough and turns it into a silky, smooth and a little bit sticky enriched dough. Cut the softened butter into chunks and add it to the center of the dough hook as the dough is mixing. Plan to knead the dough for about 10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let my dough get to work developing the gluten and incorporating the butter. I highly recommend using a stand mixer for this process. It can get very sticky and is difficult to knead for the length of time required with cold hands (so the butter doesn’t melt and leak everywhere)

Coil Fold

The coil fold is a technique of picking up the dough from the middle and letting the dough fall down onto and under itself, resulting in a coil. Wet your hands with water. Place your hands under the middle of the dough and pull up. The dough will stretch up (but should not tear) and release from the bottom of the bowl. Once the dough releases, let the dough fall back under itself. Repeat the process for both sides of dough. Then turn the container and repeat the coil fold. This process of folding the dough increases tension and strengthens the strands of gluten in the dough. If you skip this step, the dough can bake up flat because it lacks structure. Watch the coil fold process below to help visualize the process.

Refrigeration

Refrigerating the sourdough cinnamon sugar babka dough overnight or 12-24 hours (not much longer than that) chills the butter, enhances the sweet Babka flavor and makes the dough easy to work with when you pull it out in the morning to shape your Babka. The dough will not double in size and may not even look like it did much rising. Don’t worry! Once it comes back to room temperature it will rise again. When you pull the dough out of the refrigerator to roll out, it will be a little stiff and hard because it is cold. This chill actually makes it easier to work with the Babka dough. Add a little bit of flour on the bottom and on top of the Babka to help roll it out. 

Babka Filling

Babka can be filled with any kind of sweet (or sometimes savory) filling. When mixing the filling, use softened, room temperature butter to mix with the dough. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate fully into a paste. If it is melted, it will leak all over the dough and make the Babka difficult to shape. I also love the addition of a bit of flour to the filling. This keeps the filling sticking to the dough and not falling all over your pastry mat. Mix the ingredients together to form a thick paste and set it aside. I have also made this Babka into a strawberry flavored version, using white sugar and crushed up freeze dried strawberries, that was insanely delicious. Check the recipe notes for the full substitution.

How to Shape Babka

Flour a countertop or pastry mat and roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 by 18 inches. Spread half of the cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough and roll up cinnamon-roll style. Take a sharp knife and slice the Babka in half, length-wise. This will leave you with two long, open-faced pieces. Pinch together the ends and twist the dough around each other to form a swirled and braided loaf. Place into a parchment-lined loaf pan and let rise.

A Long Final Rise

I have made the mistake before with this recipe of being a bit impatient and baking the Babka too quickly. This results in a dense, gummy bread that is just not good. It can be hard to be patient with sourdough, but I promise the results are worth it. Wait until the bread has puffed up and mostly filled out the loaf tin which will take 6-8 hours. You can also lightly press the top of the Babka dough and watch as the dough springs back. If it springs back without any indentation, it needs to rise longer. If it springs back just a little and has been at least six hours, then you should be good to bake. The time will vary based on the warmth of your kitchen so it could rise faster or slower. My experience has been six to eight hours generally.

Simple Syrup

What better way to finish off a decadent bread than with some simple syrup, am I right?! To help keep the Babka fresh and moist, whip up this simple syrup while the Babka is baking. I make mine in the microwave, but you could use a pot on the stovetop as well. Mix together the sugar and water. Microwave on high in 1 minute increments until the sugar is dissolved and liquid is boiling. Stir together and let sit while waiting for the Babka to bake. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Pull the Babka out of the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Then remove to a baking rack and brush the simple syrup over the top of the Babka. Use all of the simple syrup, even if it looks like it doesn’t need more.

It is hard to let the Babka cool and truthfully, I don’t always wait because it is so tempting! This Babka does slice best when it has cooled and even makes great french toast a day or two later if it lasts that long. Sourdough cinnamon sugar Babka is a showstopper recipe and it tastes even better than it looks! Enjoy!

Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka

A rich and delicious cinnamon sugar babka bread made completely with sourdough
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 55 mins
Rise Time 1 d
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Polish, Ukrainian
Servings 2 loaves

Ingredients
  

Sweet Leaven (feed at least twice before making the Babka dough)

  • 120 grams sourdough starter 100% hydration see recipe notes
  • 100 grams all purpose flour
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 40 grams water

Babka Dough

  • all of the leaven about 300 grams
  • 620 grams all purpose flour
  • 200 grams whole milk see recipe notes
  • 4 large eggs about 200 grams
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 16 grams salt
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, softened about 14 Tablespoons

Babka Filing

  • 160 grams unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 160 grams brown sugar 2/3 cup
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour

Egg Wash

  • 1 teaspoon water

Simple Syrup for Babka

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions
 

Sweet Leaven (24 hours)

  • Mix together ripe sourdough starter, flour, granulated sugar and water. Cover and let sit for about 8-12 hours.
  • Take 120 grams of this new leaven and feed it with flour, sugar and water. Cover and let sit for 8-12 hours until bubbly, about doubled in size and passes the float test.

Babka Dough Day 1

  • Set the bowl of a stand mixer on a kitchen scale. Tare the scale and add all of the sweet leaven, flour, whole milk and eggs. Mix together with a spoon or dough whisk. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add the dough hook to the bowl, sprinkle in the salt and mix for 6 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.
  • Cut the butter into Tablespoon sized chunks. With the dough hook running, add the butter to the center of the dough. The butter will begin to incorporate into the dough. Continue adding chunks of butter until all the butter is added.
  • Knead for a total of ten minutes until the dough is smooth, sticky and silky.
  • Turn the dough out into a rectangular container (I use this 9 by 13 pan, affiliate link). The dough will be sticky. It can help to wet your hands before turning the dough out if it sticks to your fingers. Cover the dough and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, wet your hands and perform one set of coil folds on the dough by lifting up in the middle of the dough and letting the sides pull up and fall under the dough. Repeat from the other direction. This is one set of coil folds. See video for how to perform a coil fold. Cover and let rest.
  • After another 2 hours, perform a second set of coil folds on the dough. Cover and let rest another hour.
  • Transfer the dough to a container, cover tightly and set in the fridge to chill overnight or 12-24 hours.

Babka Dough Day 2

  • Prepare two 9 by 5 loaf pans (affiliate link) with parchment paper.
  • The next morning, make the Babka filling. Mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour to make a thick paste. Set aside. See recipe notes for strawberry version.
  • Pull the dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly flour a pastry mat or silpat liner (affiliate link). Turn the dough out onto the mat and cut in half.
  • Lightly flour one piece of dough and roll into a 14 by 18 inch rectangle.
  • Divide the Babka paste in two. Use your fingers to spread half the cinnamon sugar mixture over the rectangle of dough. Once the dough is covered, roll the dough up cinnamon-roll style.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half; straight down the middle of the roll the long way. This will leave two long ropes of dough. Beginning on one end, squish the ends of the dough together and then twist the dough around each other forming the Babka loaf. Push the ends of the dough together and place the Babka in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat this process with the second loaf.
  • Cover the loaves and let rise 6-8 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. This bread is made with 100% sourdough and will take much longer than a traditional loaf of bread to rise. Let it rise until it has mostly filled the loaf pan and gets light and puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the egg and a teaspoon of water. Lightly brush the egg wash on top of the bread until covered.
  • Bake Babka for 50-55 minutes until baked all the way through.
  • While the Babka is baking, prepare the simple syrup for the top of the Babka. Mix together the granulated sugar and water in a microwave safe liquid measuring cup. Microwave on high a minute at a time until boiling and all the sugar is dissolved. Mix together with a spoon and let cool until the Babka is out of the oven. The simple syrup can also be made on the stovetop. Boil the sugar and water together for about 1 minute until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool a bit while the Babka bakes.
  • Pull Babka out of the oven and let rest in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans using the parchment paper and place on a cooling rack. Pour half of the simple syrup on one loaf and half on the other loaf, using a pastry brush as needed. Let it soak into the warm bread.
  • Let the bread cool before slicing and enjoy!

Notes

Sweet Leaven: I make this leaven with 100% hydration sourdough starter. If you don’t have 100% hydration starter, take a Tablespoon of sourdough starter and add equal weights of water and flour to it. Let it rise and then use it in the recipe for sweet leaven.
Whole Milk: If you don’t have whole milk, you can substitute 180 grams 2% milk and 20 grams heavy cream.
Strawberry Babka:  To make a strawberry filling, replace the brown sugar with white granulated sugar. Replace the cinnamon with 2 Tablespoons of crushed up freeze-dried strawberries. Combine white sugar, softened butter, crushed up freeze-dried strawberries and flour. Mix together into a paste and use in place of the cinnamon-sugar filling for a delicious strawberry flavored Babka.
Keyword babka, Cinnamon sugar

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Sourdough Focaccia

Focaccia bread – where have you been all my life? I have made focaccia before but it wasn’t until I started using my sourdough starter that focaccia has become a staple around our house. Airy, filled with craggy holes and a crisp, crunchy bottom, this focaccia bread is perfect for sandwiches, to dip in some oil and vinegar or just to eat plain. Every time I make this recipe, the bread disappears within a day. My family can’t get enough of it and I don’t blame them. It is show-stopper worthy!

This is an advanced sourdough recipe. Click the links some beginner sourdough tips, tools and recipes.

Jump to Sourdough Focaccia Recipe

Sourdough Takes Time

One thing to always keep in mind when working with sourdough is that it takes time. Sourdough starter is not the same as instant yeast. It’s going to take at least 24-48 hours for this focaccia bread to make it from your mixer to your belly, and that’s okay! Leaven is mixed and rises. Dough is mixed and folded using the coil fold technique. The dough is spread in a pan and left to sit overnight in the refrigerator giving a beautiful crust and flavor to the focaccia bread. You can find a sample schedule below:

Focaccia Sample Schedule

Day 1: Build Leaven

10 PM: Mix the leaven using ripe sourdough starter. Cover and let sit overnight.

Day 2: Mixing/Developing Dough 

8 AM: Mix the dough using a stand mixer (affiliate link). 

9 AM: Use coil folds to strengthen the gluten in the dough. Let the dough bulk rise

12-1 PM: Stretch the dough into an oiled pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3: Bake Day

8 AM: Pull Focaccia out of the fridge, let it bubble up and come to room temperature.

12 PM: Top and bake focaccia

High Hydration Dough

This recipe for focaccia uses a very high hydration dough. Hydration is the percentage of flour to water in a recipe. For this focaccia you will be working with a dough that is 85% hydration. This can be a little tricky because the dough is so wet. The benefit of this high hydration is the beautiful crumb that will result in your focaccia. It will be airy, bubbly and have lots of holes throughout. To help deal with such a high hydration dough, keep a jug of water nearby to continuously water your hands as you work with the dough. This prevents dough from sticking to your fingers. The dough is initially mixed in a mixer on low speed for five minutes and then high speed for five minutes to develop the gluten. It will be very, very wet. Don’t worry! You will see a beautiful change in the dough as you proceed with folding the dough over the period of a few hours.

High Gluten Bread Flour

Another trick to help with the high water content is to choose a high gluten bread flour (affiliate link). High gluten bread flour will have a protein content at or above 14%. You can find it here. Please do not substitute all purpose flour for this recipe as written. Transforming the gluten in this dough is very important to a beautifully risen focaccia bread. If you don’t have high gluten bread flour, use bread flour and add vital wheat gluten (affiliate link) to the dough. You can find more information about the benefits of using vital wheat gluten in your bread baking here. Check the recipe notes for the exact measurements. If you are adding the vital wheat gluten instead of using high gluten bread flour, you can also try decreasing the amount of water in the dough by 25 grams to make the dough easier to work with.

Coil Folds

The coil fold is a technique of picking up the dough from the middle and letting the dough fall down onto and under itself, resulting in a coil. Once the dough is initially mixed, it will be very sticky. Place the dough in a rectangular container or glass pan. Cover it and let it sit. After half an hour, open the container and perform 4-6 coil folds. The dough will be very sticky for this first set of coil folds but will strengthen over time. Wet your hands with water. Place your hands under the middle of the dough and pull up. The dough will stretch up (but should not tear) and release from the bottom of the bowl. Once the dough releases, let the dough fall back under itself. Repeat the process for both sides of dough. Then turn the container and repeat the coil fold. Don’t worry if the dough is super sticky for the first one or two coil folds. It will transform into beautiful dough throughout this process.

I find it very helpful to watch this process before attempting it.You can watch the process here:

Focaccia Pan and Refrigerated Rise

After the dough has been developed through coil folds, let it bulk rise for an hour or two. Then it is time to put the dough in a pan. I have tried this recipe in a glass pan and a metal pan – the metal pan (affiliate link) wins hands down. I personally love using this pan. Coat a metal pan with olive oil and transfer the dough to the pan. Stretch lightly to get the dough into all four corners of the pan. If the dough resists, wait a minute and then try again, lightly stretching until the dough fills the pan. Cover the pan and place in the refrigerator overnight. This refrigeration process adds flavor and texture to the focaccia bread. I have baked the focaccia before without the refrigeration, and I think the bread turns out best when it has been refrigerated. If you really can’t wait, you can let the focaccia rise in the pan for another hour or two and get bubbly on top. Then dimple, cover with toppings and bake. For best results, though, use the overnight refrigeration method.

Good Quality Olive Oil and Salt

Another important step to amazing focaccia bread is using good quality olive oil. Olive oil coats the bottom of the pan that the dough is baked in. The focaccia will take on the flavors of the olive oil and give the most beautiful crispy crust. It may just be my favorite part of the focaccia bread. Top the focaccia bread with a flaky sea salt, some fresh herbs and maybe parmesan cheese for a delicious flavor. You can also top focaccia with tomatoes, olives, peppers, really anything that would be delicious in bread.

Dimpling the Dough

Focaccia bread is known for its dimpled look. Once the dough has been refrigerated overnight, pull it out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature (this may take longer in the winter months and shorter in the summer). Watch for the dough to bubble up and see that fermentation happening. Once the dough is bubbly and puffed up, top with desired toppings. Then take your fingers and press down lightly into the dough all around the pan. The entire top of the bread should look dimpled and bubbly. At that point it is ready to bake.

The Perfect Slice

Once the focaccia has been baked at high heat, let the bread sit in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. This lets some of the oil soak into the bread dough a little more and keeps the bottom nice and crispy. Remove it from the pan after 5-10 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack. We all agree that focaccia is one of those breads that tastes better cooled or room temperature. The flavors have a chance to blend and it is just perfection!

If you’ve never made focaccia before, what are you waiting for? It is one of our favorite breads to snack on and never lasts more than a day around our house. If I ever have any leftovers I love to slice them up and freeze them in a big ziplock bag. I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Sourdough Focaccia

Crispy, light and airy sourdough focaccia bread. This recipe is made with 100% sourdough starter and makes delicious bread to eat as a sandwich or to enjoy plain.
Prep Time 1 d 12 hrs
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 d 12 hrs 25 mins
Course Bread, Sourdough
Cuisine Italian
Servings 1 9 by 13 pan

Ingredients
  

Leaven

  • 1 teaspoon ripe sourdough starter
  • 50 grams room temperature water
  • 50 grams all purpose flour

Focaccia Dough

  • 100 grams leaven
  • 425 grams room temperature water
  • 500 grams high gluten bread flour (14% protein or higher) see recipe notes for substitution
  • 13 grams salt

Instructions
 

Leaven (night before you mix the bread, day 1)

  • Mix together 1 teaspoon ripe sourdough starter with 50 grams water and 50 grams flour. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature until bubbly and passes the float test. You can also substitute 100 grams of bubbly sourdough starter if you have some on hand.

Focaccia Dough (Mixing/Developing Dough day 2)

  • To a bowl with a stand mixer, add 100 grams leaven, 425 grams water and 500 grams high gluten bread flour. Mix together with a spoon until a sticky dough forms. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  • Add the salt. Place the bowl into the stand mixer and fit it with a dough hook. Mix for 5 minutes on low speed (I use a 2 on my KitchenAid, affiliate link). After five minutes, on low speed, mix for 5 minutes on high speed (6-8 on my KitchenAid). Don't add more flour. The dough will be very wet but stays together.
  • Get your hands wet and transfer the dough to a shallow container. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Coil Fold 1: Open the container and perform 4-6 coil folds. The dough will be very sticky for this first set of coil folds but will strengthen over time. Wet your hands with water. Place your hands under the middle of the dough and pull up. The dough will stretch up (but should not tear) and release from the bottom of the bowl. Once the dough releases, let the dough fall back under itself. Repeat the process for both sides of dough. Then turn the container and repeat the coil fold. I find it very helpful to watch this process before attempting it. You can watch a video of the coil fold here. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Coil Fold 2: Wet your hands. You will notice the dough is stronger than your first set of coil folds. Repeat the coil fold 4-6 times. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Coil Fold 3: Wet your hands. Repeat the coil fold 4-6 times. Notice the dough is getting stronger and the coil folds are easier to perform. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  • Coil Fold 4: Repeat the coil fold 4-6 times. Cover and rest for 1.5-2 hours.
  • After the long bulk rest, prepare a 9 by 13 baking pan (my favorite here, affiliate link) with 1/4-1/3 cup good quality oil. Pour the oil in the pan and tip the pan around to cover the entire bottom.
  • Turn the dough out into the pan and stretch slowly to fill the edges of the pan. Pull up gently on the underside of the dough to stretch it into place. If it doesn't want to stretch, let the dough rest for a minute and then try again.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge to rest overnight.

Baking the Focaccia (day 3)

  • Take the pan of dough out of the fridge and set on the counter. Let it come to room temperature (2-4 hours). The focaccia dough will begin to bubble up as it sits on the counter.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • After the dough is at room temperature, puffed up and you see little air bubbles, take your fingers and gently dimple the dough. Start at the top and work your way down the dough until the entire focaccia is dimpled and bubbly.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the top of the dough. Top with your choice of fresh or dried herbs, salt and parmesan cheese (or any other topping you would like ie: cherry tomatoes, peppers, olives, etc…).
  • Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly, crispy and light golden brown on top. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  • Cool to room temperature before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

High Gluten Bread Flour: The high protein content in high gluten bread flour is really important for this recipe because of the high hydration level in this dough. Flour with 14% protein content or more works best. You can buy that here or if you don’t have bread flour, you can substitute with:
440 grams all purpose flour and 60 grams of vital wheat gluten
475 grams bread flour and 25 grams vital wheat gluten
The vital wheat gluten adds enough protein to the flour to give a similar texture to the high gluten bread flour. 
Keyword focaccia, sourdough

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Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf

Something about this time of year with the warmer weather, flowers pushing their way out of the ground and birds singing in the trees makes me want to pull out my pans and whip up a loaf of quick bread. I have some delicious recipes on my site; this sourdough zucchini bread, gingerbread snack cake and this delicious applesauce bread, not to mention some favorite muffin recipes. But springtime and Easter season have me eyeing carrots and dreaming about a nice slice of carrot bread. Last year I made these carrot cake muffins for our Easter dessert. This year, I decided to mix in some of my sourdough discard to make a loaf of carrot cake bread and let me tell you, it is delicious!

Jump to Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf Recipe

Shredding the Carrots

One of the biggest tips about this carrot cake: please do not use the shortcut of “pre-shredded” carrots at the grocery store. I have made this mistake before and the bread just doesn’t have the same texture. Pre-shredded carrots get all crunchy and don’t melt into the bread like freshly-shredded carrots do. The best carrots for this recipe are traditional, large and long carrots. You can also use baby carrots in a pinch. Shred your own carrots, please! I use a food processor (affiliate link) to make quick work of the carrots, but you could also use a cheese grater for good results. The carrots melt into the quick bread, giving it beautiful pops of orange and delicious flavor.

Sourdough Discard

Not all sourdough discard is created equal. Some discard might have been sitting around in your fridge for a week or two and some is only a day or two old. I prefer to use a “young” discard because it isn’t quite as strong as an older discard. I like a light sourdough flavor instead of a strong flavor in my carrot loaf. You can use what you prefer. I typically use a 100% hydration sourdough discard–equal weights of water and flour mixed with the starter. If your discard is maintained at a different hydration you may need a splash of milk for a thicker discard or a little extra flour for a thinner discard.

Mixing the Loaf

Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off. This bread is super quick and will come together in just a few minutes. The hardest part is shredding up the carrots (and that isn’t very hard). Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl with the spices. Add the carrots and mix until the carrots are lightly floured. To a liquid measuring cup (affiliate link…I use it almost daily and it’s my favorite), mix together the sourdough discard, vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Baking Tips

One of my favorite tips when baking quick breads is to keep the heat high for the first few minutes of baking and then reduce the temperature. This activates the rising agents and gives the bread a nicely domed top. I also like using a 9 by 5 pan (affiliate link) for this bread, though it would probably work in an 8.5 by 4.5 pan too (just be careful not to overfill it).

Cream Cheese Icing

This sourdough discard carrot loaf is amazing without any cream cheese icing, and you can definitely serve it that way. However, I love cream cheese icing that just gives a hint of cream cheese but isn’t overpoweringly “cream cheesy.” This icing fits the bill. It is rich, buttery and has just a hint of cream cheese flavor that pairs beautifully with the carrots and spices in this loaf. If you’re looking for a little extra luxurious taste, whip up this cream cheese icing and top the loaf with it. The carrot loaf with the icing puts this recipe dangerously into the “yearly family tradition” category. It is that good. 

Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf would make the perfect addition to your Easter spread. We also love it for a spring dessert or an afternoon snack. It looks delicious, tastes divine and is just all around a yummy bake. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf

A delicious loaf of spiced, carrot-flavored quick bread made with sourdough discard and perfect for any carrot-cake lovers. The creamy topping adds a delicious sweetness to this moist carrot cake loaf.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Course Bread, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 9 by 5 loaf

Ingredients
  

Carrot Cake Loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded see recipe note
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard see recipe note
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil any neutral flavored oil works
  • 5 Tablespoons plain yogurt sour cream can be substituted in a pinch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit optional

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Carrot Cake Loaf

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Shred the carrots in a food processor (affiliate link) or grate them on a box grater. Set aside.
  • To a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add the shredded carrots and mix with a spoon to combine.
  • To a large measuring cup (affiliate link and my favorite), whisk together the liquid ingredients: vegetable oil, plain yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the liquid mixture on top of the flour/carrot mixture and gently stir to combine. Add 3/4 cup chopped fruit, nuts or a combination of both if desired.
  • Line a 9 by 5 loaf pan with parchment paper or use a good quality non-stick loaf pan (affiliate link).
  • Spread the carrot cake loaf batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 45-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife in the center to check for doneness. If it comes out "clean" with no crumbs, it is ready. If it comes out wet, let it bake for another few minutes and check again.
  • While the loaf cools, prepare the cream cheese topping.

Cream Cheese Topping

  • To a small bowl, whip the unsalted butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and a tablespoon of heavy cream. Whip together. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Continue whipping until light and fluffy. Add a little more heavy cream as needed if the topping is too thick.
  • Spread the cream cheese topping on the cooled loaf and enjoy!

Notes

Carrots: The best carrots for this recipe are traditional, large and long carrots. Peel and grate them (or use a food processor) for best results. You can also use baby carrots. I do not recommend pre-shredded carrots which you can buy at the grocery store. They do not hold the moisture needed for this recipe and don’t melt into the loaf as well.
Sourdough Discard: I prefer to use fresh sourdough discard (or even young sourdough starter) in this recipe. I find it doesn’t give an overpowering “sour” aftertaste to the finished loaf. If you want more sour flavor, use discard that has been sitting longer in your fridge.
Keyword beginner sourdough, carrot cake, carrot cake loaf, quick bread, sourdough discard

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Hearty Bread Bowls

I think one of my all-time favorite foods when I was growing up was clam chowder in a bread bowl. I spent my teenage years in the San Francisco area and I loved the delicious seafood and sourdough, especially the chowder in a bread bowl. Recently, my daughter planned to make soup for dinner and I decided to whip out these bread bowls to complement our soup. While they are not sourdough like the bread bowls of my childhood (I’ll be working on that recipe soon, I promise), they definitely gave me a nostalgic feel for my favorite hearty and chewy bread bowls that stand their own against a delicious soup.

The Best Hearty Bread Bowl for Soup

These hearty bread bowls are perfect to hold a delicious soup. I wouldn’t recommend this recipe as a normal roll recipe. They have a bit more flour than I normally like and are not quite as light and tender as a regular roll. Light and tender is actually not what you want when making a bread bowl because they will tend to disintegrate into the soup leaving you with gummy bread in your soup. That is NOT this recipe. The combination of whole wheat flour and bread flour makes these bowls extra hearty and perfect to stand up to a cup of soup. The soup softens the bread a little and makes for the perfect bite of soup with bread. The bowl itself doesn’t get soggy and has the perfect crumb and chewy exterior which complement the soup so well.

Refrigerated or Overnight Rise

If I know ahead of time that I want bread bowls for soup, I will mix up the dough in the morning and then stick the dough in the fridge to rise throughout the day. This extra refrigeration step adds flavor to the bowl, promotes a chewier crumb (which is perfect for bread bowls) and has a better color crust. If you don’t have time to refrigerate the dough, you can proceed with the recipe but for best results, refrigerate for the first rise for 8-12 hours. Then shape the bowls, let them rise again and bake them.

Shaping Hearty Bread Bowls

This recipe makes six good-sized bread bowls. I shape my bread bowls in a similar way to how I shape rolls. I take the dough and push the edges down around the center, pinching them together and then circling the dough on the counter to form a tight, round shape. You can watch a video of that below.

Scoring and Cutting the Top of the Bowl

Once the dough has risen for a second time, score the top of the bread bowl with a bread lame or sharp knife. Bake the bowls and then let them cool completely before cutting into them. Once the bowls are cooled, use a sharp knife to cut into the bowl like you would a pumpkin. Cut at an angle creating a circle in the bowl. Use your fingers to scrape out the middle of the bread bowl until you have a nicely sized cavity for about a cup of soup. Serve the bread bowl with or without the top.

When I pulled out these bread bowls the other night, my kiddos didn’t even care that there was broccoli in their soup! They gobbled it right up and had so much fun getting to eat their bowl. It makes me think that I need to make bread bowls for soup a lot more often! I hope you enjoy them too.

Hearty Bread Bowls

A hearty bread bowl with chewy crust that is the perfect complement to any soup.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 28 mins
Rise Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Bread, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/4 cups milk warmed, temperature of baby's bathwater
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4-4 1/2 cups bread flour

Instructions
 

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the warm milk, instant yeast and granulated sugar. Let sit until foamy and you smell the yeast activating.
  • Add the olive oil, salt, whole wheat flour and 4 cups of the bread flour. Knead together, adding a little more flour at a time as needed. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be tacky but not overly sticky. Knead for 8 minutes (set a timer and let the mixer do the work for you, or knead for 10 minutes by hand). The kneading time is very important because it develops the gluten, creating good structure, chewy crust and a tall bowl to hold the soup in.
  • Lightly oil a container and transfer the dough to the container for the first rise. Let the dough rise until doubled or tripled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. For more flavor and chewy texture, stick the dough in the fridge to rise for 8-24 hours. Then proceed with the shaping and follow the recipe.
  • Once the dough has risen, cut the dough into six pieces. Shape into large round spheres, pulling the dough tightly into a large round ball. Watch how I shape rolls here. Place rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet (affiliate link). Cover and let rolls rise for about an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once rolls are puffed up, score the top with a bread lame or sharp knife.
  • Toss a handful of ice cubes into the preheated oven and immediately put the pan of bread bowls into the oven. Bake for 25-28 minutes until crusty and golden. Top immediately with melted butter if desired.
  • Let bread bowls cool completely before cutting a hole in the center and using your fingers to pull out the interior of the bread bowl. Fill with your choice of soup and enjoy!

Notes

Bread Flour: This recipe works best with bread flour. If you need a substitute for bread flour, add a Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour to increase the protein content. 
Refrigerated Rise: For more flavor and an extra chewy crust, let the dough rise in the fridge for 8-24 hours. Shape, rise and bake.
Keyword bread bowl, soup

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Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that makes a normal day just a little extra special. We love to celebrate with a visit from the leprechaun and a festive meal. Often we’ll serve this Irish Soda Bread to accompany our dinner and some years we choose to make these cloverleaf dinner rolls. We love them for any special meal, though they are especially fun on St. Patrick’s Day. Shaped like a clover, three little bread balls are set in a muffin tin to rise and create the perfect, fluffy, pull-apart dinner roll. Cloverleaf rolls are tender and would be a tasty addition to your March 17th. 

Honey and Oil

One of my favorite tips whenever I’m using a recipe that calls for both honey and some kind of oil or melted butter is this: Pour the oil (or butter in this case) in first, then use the same measuring cup for the honey. In the case of this recipe I melt the butter in a liquid measuring cup and then add the honey to the same measuring cup. The honey slides right out and doesn’t stick to the measuring cup.

Bread Flour or All Purpose Flour?

Bread flour really gives these rolls a nice texture. The exterior is chewy and the rolls bake up nice and tall. I recommend getting your hands on a bag of bread flour if you can. If you only have all purpose flour, go ahead and use it, but the rolls might not rise quite as much. Adding about a Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to the all purpose flour is a good substitute for bread flour in this recipe. And if you don’t have vital wheat gluten, check out this post that tells you all about why you need it in your kitchen.

Eight Minutes of Kneading

One of the keys to good bread and dinner rolls is in the long kneading time. You can knead this dough by hand, but it will be an arm workout. I like to use a Bosch Mixer (affiliate link) or a Kitchen Aid (affiliate link) stand mixer. Any mixer that is fitted with a dough hook should work. When I mix bread dough, I add flour just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Pinch a piece of dough off, roll it into a ball and notice if you have just a bit of sticky residue left. These are clues that you can stop adding flour. After I’ve determined that the amount of flour is correct, I’ll set a timer and let my mixer go for about 8 minutes. Doing this develops the gluten strands in the dough. These gluten strands are what will trap the gases from the yeast and give your rolls a beautiful shape. If you want to improve your bread skills, start with kneading the dough for a good eight minutes (ten to twelve minutes if you are doing it by hand).

Shaping Dough into Large Rolls

After the dough has risen, it is ready to be shaped. This recipe makes twelve large rolls. If you’d like to make them a little smaller or even four-leaf-clover shaped, cut the dough into more pieces. Separate the dough into twelve (or more) equal-sized pieces. Taking a piece at a time, cut it into three equal-sized balls. Place each ball into the cup of a lightly greased, non-stick muffin tin (affiliate link). Let the dough rise until puffy and just over the top of the muffin tin before baking.

Festive St. Patrick’s Day

If you really want to get festive with these, you could brush the top with a little bit of green-dyed egg wash, like I did with these pumpkin-shaped rolls in October. They would be a lot of fun for a green-themed meal. With or without the green dye, I hope the leprechaun shows up at your house so you can create a little St. Patrick’s Day magic with these cloverleaf dinner rolls.

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

Light, fluffy and tender, these cloverleaf dinner rolls are a fun take on a traditional roll. Easy to pull apart and delicious for any dinner or fun to make for St. Patrick's Day.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 22 mins
Rise Time 2 hrs
Course Bread, rolls
Cuisine American
Servings 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk, warmed temperature of baby's bathwater, see note
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2-4 cups bread flour see note
  • melted butter for topping

Instructions
 

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm milk, instant yeast and honey. Drizzle in the melted butter and add the salt.
  • Turn on the mixer and add three cups of bread flour, a cup at a time. Knead together and continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough moves away from the sides of the bowl and you can pinch off a piece, roll it up in your fingers and have just a little bit of sticky residue left on your fingers. More tips for checking the readiness of your dough here.
  • Knead the dough for 8 minutes. I like to set a timer to make sure my dough gets the full eight minutes. This helps develop the gluten strands in the dough which gives a better crumb, rise and texture to your bread.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and let rise about an hour or until doubled in size. The warmth of your kitchen will impact how long it takes for the dough to rise.
  • Lightly grease a muffin tin (affiliate link) with cooking spray.
  • Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a countertop and cut into twelve (for large rolls) or sixteen (smaller rolls) pieces. Take each dough piece and cut it into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place the three balls into one cup of the muffin tin to create a cloverleaf shape. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough until all of the muffin cups are filled with dough.
  • Cover and let rise 45 minutes to an hour until puffy and about doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 20-22 minutes.
  • Top with melted butter as they come out of the oven. Enjoy!

Notes

Milk: 2% or whole milk is best in this recipe. If microwaving milk, warm it in 20-30 second increments, stir the milk and check the temperature in the middle of the milk (it can sometimes be hotter than the edges). The temperature of the milk should be warm, not hot. Milk that is too hot will kill the yeast. 
Bread Flour: These rolls are best made using bread flour. If you don’t have bread flour you can use all purpose flour and add 1 Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to help increase the protein content and texture of your bread.
Amount: This recipe makes 12 large rolls. If you want the rolls a little smaller, make 16 rolls and bake for a minute or two less.
Keyword Clover, Dinner Rolls, St. Patrick’s Day

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Best Basic Banana Bread

You know how some recipes just seem elusive? I felt that way for a long time about cookies. I could make a good cookie, but the best? That was hard to find. Now I help my kids run a cookie business and after much trial and error we’ve baked our way into some pretty amazing cookies. I feel the same way about banana bread. I’ve always had good banana bread. Even very good banana bread, but I just keep trying recipes because I couldn’t find a recipe that I really loved. After tinkering around for years, I’ve finally come up with a recipe that I will be making again and again.

Jump to Best Basic Banana Bread Recipe

My Perfect Banana Bread

My perfect recipe makes a great loaf but could also be used for 24 muffins. It tastes of banana but not overpowering. It is light, tender and can hold up to some mini chocolate chips thrown in. I like a banana bread recipe best if I can use one bowl for easier cleanup and I especially love a recipe that all of my kids like. This banana bread hits all of those notes. Even my daughter who is not typically a fan has been begging me to make this recipe again…and again! It is delicious 

Combining Butter and Oil for the Perfect Bread

A lot of quick bread recipes call for just butter or just oil. I love using a combination of the two in this recipe. Both oil and butter bring different properties to banana bread. Butter brings a rich flavor and oil helps with a tender, moist and delicious crumb. I find a combination of the two results in the best loaf of bread.

Brown, Over-Ripe Bananas for the Best Flavor

Banana bread has the most flavor when the bananas are really brown…disgustingly brown…even black. The “riper” the banana, the more flavor your bread will have. If you want a milder flavor, use a more brown/yellow banana. I often keep bananas on my counter and whenever I have one that has gotten overripe and no one in my family will eat it, I’ll let it sit a little bit longer until the peel is pretty dark. Then I’ll make a batch of banana bread if I have enough of them, or I’ll peel the banana and pop it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. To use frozen bananas, let the bananas thaw and then drain a little bit of the excess water before using.

Brown Sugar and Yogurt Makes Moist Banana Bread

I used to always use white sugar in my banana bread. Never again! Brown sugar adds the perfect moistness, sweetness and flavor. The yogurt in this recipe also helps increase the moistness in this bread. If you want to substitute Greek yogurt, you can. The batter will be a little bit thicker than a regular plain yogurt.

Banana Bread Mix-Ins

My kids love this recipe plain, but they really love it when I add some mini chocolate chips into the batter. In my younger years I used to put almost as many chocolate chips as cups of flour into the banana bread for a resulting baked good that tasted more like chocolate bread with a bit of banana. Over the years I’ve cut back, and I love the addition of little mini chocolate chips. They give the perfect pop of chocolate with the sweetness and compliment the banana bread flavor instead of trying to hide it. You could also add some chopped nuts instead of mini chips, or leave them out all together.

A Few Tips

This recipe works perfectly in one bowl. You can mix the dry ingredients together first, but more often that not I pour the flour on top of the liquid ingredients and then the salt and baking soda on top of that. Lightly combine the dry ingredients and then mix the whole thing together carefully. This results in fewer dishes for me and seriously yummy banana bread. Another trick to get a nice high domed top is to bake the bread at a high heat for the first few minutes. The high heat reacts with the baking soda in the recipe and give the tall, domed loaf that you would find at a bakery. I’ve used this technique with great results in these amazing chocolate chip muffins, this sourdough zucchini bread and our favorite applesauce bread.

Bread, Muffins and Mini Muffins

I love this recipe so much because it makes one loaf of bread or twenty-four regular-sized muffins. These muffin tins (affiliate link), are my favorite because they don’t need to be greased. If i’m being honest, we make banana bread muffins far more often than actual banana bread because they are so helpful for a quick breakfast or to stick in school lunches. I also love that this recipe makes perfect mini muffins for when you don’t want to eat an entire muffin. It’s just an all around perfect banana bread! If you’re looking for a stellar sourdough discard banana bread, check out my other favorite banana bread recipe that uses sourdough discard. You can’t go wrong with either one of these recipes. Enjoy!

Best Basic Banana Bread

The best basic banana bread recipe. Tender, full of banana flavor and easy to whip up. This recipe makes one loaf of banana bread or two dozen muffins.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 3 brown/black bananas mashed, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or other neutral flavored oil
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt see recipe notes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips or other mix-in optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To a liquid measuring cup, mash the brown bananas until you have about 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana. It's okay if you have a few little chunks of banana. Set aside.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, whip the softened butter with a hand mixer until creamy.
  • Add the brown sugar and mix again until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix again until completely incorporated.
  • Drizzle in the vegetable oil while mixing and add the yogurt and vanilla extract. Add the mashed banana and mix together.
  • Put the hand mixer away and pull out a wooden or large spoon. Add the flour to the bowl. Add the salt and baking soda right on top of the flour and carefully mix (not letting any of the baking soda or salt leave the bowl as you mix). Mix just until the flour is just incorporated and only a few dry streaks remain.
  • Add mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts or dried fruit and lightly mix.
  • Lightly grease or line with parchment paper a 9 by 5 pan, affiliate link (see recipe note for muffin instructions). Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. After ten minutes, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-55 minutes until baked all the way through. Stick a sharp knife or toothpick into the center of the banana bread. If it comes out clean (with no batter sticking to it), it is ready to pull out of the oven.

Notes

Plain Yogurt: If you don’t have plain yogurt, you can substitute sour cream. Greek yogurt will make the batter a little thicker, but you can also substitute it for the plain yogurt if you don’t have anything else on hand.
Banana Muffins: Recipe makes about 24 muffins. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake muffins for 5 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 15-16 minutes until baked all the way through.
Mini Banana Muffins: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake mini muffins for 4 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 8-10 minutes until baked through.
Keyword banana, banana bread

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Soft Sourdough Pretzels

Is there anything better than a fresh, hot pretzel? The chewy texture, salty exterior and just all around deliciousness! My husband and I both lived in Germany as kids (not at the same time and we didn’t know each other at the time). One of our favorite shared food memories are the “Laugenbrezel” (a traditional German soft pretzel) and the “Laugenbrot” which was basically a roll or bun made from pretzel dough. Top it with some melty cheese or dip the soft pretzel in some mustard and you have yourself the perfect snack or lunch. This recipe for sourdough pretzels brings us back to those childhood days and fills our kitchen with the aroma of a German bakery. Soft sourdough pretzels are being made on repeat right now because we love them so much. This recipe takes almost 24 hours start to finish (with lots of hands-off time). If you are looking for a quick and simple recipe, try these pretzel bites with sourdough discard.

Jump to Sourdough Pretzel Recipe

Sample Soft Sourdough Pretzel Schedule

Working with sourdough takes time. I find it helpful to see a sample schedule so I have a reference point for making the recipe fit in my own life. When I make soft sourdough pretzels, this is often how I do it. You may need more or less time depending on the warmth of your kitchen and how quickly your sourdough rises.

Day 1 (night): 8-10 PM: Mix Leaven the night before baking

Day 2 (morning): 8 AM Mix the dough and give it a long rise with one stretch and fold

12-2 PM: After the dough has risen and is a bit puffy: pre-shape, rest, shape pretzels and refrigerate

2-4 PM: Score and bake

Building the Pretzel Leaven

The night before you want to make the pretzels, build the leaven. Take 1 Tablespoon of ripe sourdough starter (i.e. starter that has not been recently fed and needs to be refreshed). Add 150 grams all purpose flour and 150 grams of water. Stir it up, cover it and let it work overnight. The next morning, your leaven should have doubled in size and be nice and puffy, ready to use. These pretzel use a large percentage of leaven and no commercial yeast. The recipe has been developed based on the percentage of flour and water in the leaven. If you choose to use bubbly sourdough starter instead, you may need to increase or decrease the amount of flour and water in the dough recipe relative to your leaven. 

Diastatic Malt Powder in Pretzels

One ingredient you may not be familiar with in the list of ingredients is diastatic malt powder. This can be purchased online (affiliate link) or you may be able to find it in your local grocery store. The technical explanation is that diastatic malt powder contains the amylase enzyme, which consumes the starches in your pretzel dough and creates sugars. This helps create an evenly browned pretzel and good crust. Diastatic malt powder also promotes a good rise. The yeast has “more food” from the breakdown of starches into sugars, which gives your pretzels a better rise. When working with diastatic malt powder, a little goes a long way. Typically you only want about 1/2 a teaspoon of diastatic malt powder per cup of flour. This recipe only calls for a small amount. Too much diastatic malt powder and your pretzels will overproof quickly. If you don’t have diastatic malt powder you can add a teaspoon of brown sugar to the dough.

Soft Sourdough Pretzel Dough

Once your leaven is ready, add the dough ingredients to a stand mixer and mix together using a dough hook. Every time I make soft sourdough pretzels, I wonder if I’ve added too much flour to the dough because initially it looks and feels a little stiff, almost crumbly. Don’t worry! This is normal. As you add the chunks of softened butter to the dough while it’s mixing, the dough will change from a little shaggy into the most perfect soft pretzel dough. After kneading for 5-6 minutes, let the dough rise and perform one stretch and fold about an hour into the bulk rise (you can watch a video on folding techniques here—stretch and fold is about halfway through the short video). The bulk rise time takes about 4-6 hours (remember this is sourdough and will take much longer than commercial yeast), depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping Soft Sourdough Pretzels

In the past I’ve struggled shaping pretzels. I’ve found that this dough is the perfect consistency for shaping. No extra flour is needed, just a good countertop space. Once the dough as risen, use a bench knife to cut the dough into twelve equal pieces. Let the dough rest for another 20 minutes to relax before shaping.

To shape: Take a ball of dough. Roll it out like a rope, using both hands starting in the middle and going out toward the ends of the dough. Repeat this process, leaving the middle of the “rope” larger as you taper out toward the ends. Once you have the length you want, pull the ends up and around, twisting them together and then bringing them back down to the dough. Pinch the ends into the dough and set the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet (my favorite baking sheets here, affiliate link). Repeat with the other balls of dough until you have 12 shaped pretzels. Check out this video to watch the process below.

It is also possible to shape the dough into “logs” or even rolls for a German-style “Laugenbrot” pretzel roll. These rolls may need an extra few minutes of baking time because of their thicker shape.

Refrigerate Pretzel Dough

One of the keys to keeping a good shape on the pretzels and not letting them break apart when soaking them before baking is to refrigerate the shaped dough for an hour. You just need it long enough to help the pretzels keep their shape. After shaping, stick the soft sourdough pretzels in the refrigerator on their baking sheet for about an hour. I have never kept them in the refrigerator for a longer period of time. They could most likely be refrigerated overnight and baked the next day, though I haven’t tried it yet. I wouldn’t let them sit much longer than 24 hours refrigerated before baking. If you try it out, let me know!

European-Style Soft Pretzel Flavor

To get the traditional pretzel flavor, you have one of two options before baking. Your can dip the pretzels in a lye solution or you can boil them in a baking soda bath. The lye solution is traditional and will produce a beautiful mahogany color, glossy sheen and a chewy crust. Lye is also caustic and you need to take safety precautions when using it. The baking soda method is a bit more cumbersome ie: boiling water, adding baking soda, boiling the pretzels and then baking them. Pick which method works for you. I’ve done both and both produce delicious pretzels. If I’m going for most “authentic,” I will choose the lye method.

Lye Method

Disclaimer: lye is caustic. Always use safety glasses and rubber gloves. Wear long sleeves/pants and closed toed-shoes. Use paper towel to wipe up spills and throw them away. Rinse everything that touches lye with large amounts of water. Be sure to wash your hands and arms throughout and if you do feel anything burning, re-wash wherever it burns with soap and water and rinse dry. Lye should not be around children or pets.

I bought food grade lye here (affiliate link). It comes in a large jar and you add small amounts of lye to water to dilute it which makes it safe to consume once baked. To use the lye, begin by putting on your protective gear (including protective goggles and rubber gloves). To a large bowl, add 5 cups of water and 3 Tablespoons of food grade lye. Stir together with a spatula until dissolved. Dip each pretzel in the lye solution for 15-20 seconds. Place pretzel back on the parchment-lined baking sheet to bake.

Baking Soda Method

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add 6 Tablespoons of baking soda once the water is boiling. The water should be vigorously boiling, not just a simmer before boiling the dough. Taking a few pretzels at at time, place them in the boiling water for 90 seconds per pretzel. Remove the pretzels and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Scoring/Salt

Once the pretzels have been soaked or boiled, take a bread lame and score the bottom, thicker- part of the pretzel. A bread lame (affiliate link) will help give you the perfect score but a sharp knife will work in a pinch. Sprinkle the top of the pretzel with some flaky sea salt (affiliate link) or pretzel salt (affiliate link) for the perfect flavor. Bake the pretzels at 475 degrees for 15 minutes.