If pizza and garlic bread had a child, it’d be this pretzel knot. A bite of the mahogany-colored crust gives way to a chewy center that’s a delicious mix of tangy tomato and cheesy goodness with a hint of spicy garlic. But once it’s paired with old-fashioned pizza sauce, Beethoven’s 5th will suddenly play in your noodle as cute little cartoon birds circle your head because, yes, it’s THAT good. You’ll be stuck in cuckoo land for sure, or a food coma if you triumphantly devour all of the pretzel knots at once. No judgments here, just applause.
The recipe is adapted from a cookbook that I’m super obsessed with right now, Marbled, Swirled, and Layered by Irvin Lin. The author also offers a Bloody Mary version of his oh-so-yummy pretzel knot recipe. So if anyone needs to find me, I’ll be in the kitchen baking Bloody Mary pretzel knots.
For the pretzel dough (yields a dozen pretzel knots):
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115℉)
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling
For the Parmesan-garlic flavoring:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
For the tomato flavoring:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, diced
For the pretzel bath and pretzel toppings:
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk mixed in 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 cup pizza sauce, for dipping
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the warm water and barley malt syrup and mix with a fork until the syrup has fully dissolved. Then add the yeast and allow it to bloom. Once it’s nice and bubbly, add the bread flour, salt and olive oil. Mix on low speed and gradually increase to medium as the flour incorporates.
Lightly oil two small bowls and reserve half of the sticky pretzel dough in one of the oiled bowls. Set that aside.
Add the flour, Parmesan and granulated garlic to the mixing bowl and switch to the dough hook. Mix until combined, then knead the mixture by hand to capture all of the leftover dry ingredients. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and form a ball. Place it into the other oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Pour the reserved dough back into the mixing bowl. Add the the flour, tomato paste, basil, oregano, smoked paprika and sun-dried tomatoes and mix until well-combined. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and roll it into a ball. Place it back into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow it to rise at room temperature until it doubles in volume. Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450℉ and line a baking sheet with a non-stick baking mat. Then add the baking soda to the 10 cups of water and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, pour one of the dough balls onto a floured surface and flatten it to a rectangle about a 1/2” thick. Then cut the dough into 12 pieces. Repeat the process with the other dough ball.
Roll one of the tomato segments into a 10” log, then roll one of the Parmesan-garlic segments into a 10” log. Place the two side-by-side and twist the dough. Take one end of the twisted dough and cross it over to form a X, then tuck the two ends under to form a round knot. Repeat the process with the remaining segments.
Once the water is simmering, add two to three pretzel knots to the pot. Simmer one side for 30 seconds, then gently flip the knots and simmer for another 30 seconds. Space the knots 3” apart on the baking sheet and repeat with the other knots. Brush each knot with egg wash and sprinkle the tops with coarse salt and granulated garlic. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the center of the pretzels register 190℉.
The pretzel knots are best served warm dipped in your favorite pizza sauce.