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Pretzel Bread Bowls

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 (1/4-ounce) package Red Star PLATINUM yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour (about 24 ounces)
8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs. water
Coarse salt

Combine the water, sugar and sea salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Sprinkle the PLATINUM yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes until a layer of foam appears on the top of the liquid.  

Turn the mixer on to low speed and add in the flour, one cup at a time and mix thoroughly.  I used a full five cups of flour, but you may need a little more or a little less depending on how we your dough is.  Increase the speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl.  While the dough is kneading, oil a large glass bowl.  Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape it into a ball.  Place the ball into the oiled glass bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and store in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a Silpain liner or parchment paper.

Bring 8 cups of water to a simmer with the baking soda.  Meanwhile, divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll into evenly-shaped balls.  One by one, place the balls of dough into the boiling water for 1 minute, turning once.  Remove and return to the Silpain liner.  

Mix the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl.  Brush the tops of each bread bowl and then sprinkle with coarse salt.  Slit an “x” into the top of each bowl.  

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

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