Pretzels

November 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Once in awhile I get the craving for a delicious, soft, warm pretzels. It’s usually when I’m walking by Auntie Anne’s in the mall, but I can’t ever make myself pay $4 for a snack at the mall. Now, I don’t have to because I can make my own.

Start with proofing the yeast. I did it in the mixing bowl for my mixer (which I use for kneading). Mix 1 cup water and 2 tsp active yeast and let it start to foam and such for 5-10 minutes.

After the proofing, mix in salt and flour. I used a spatula. Dough will be floury and a shaggy. Which makes me think of a dog, so that’s weird.  Then we knead. I used my hook and my mixer but feel free to knead by hand, it’ll work too. If it’s not forming a ball well or is too sticky add flour, two tablespoons at a time. Then let it rise in a bowl filmed with oil.

After dividing dough in 8 pieces we roll them out into long skinny ropes, about 20 inches long. To form the pretzel, watch a You Tube tutorial.

Then we let it rise for another twenty minutes, or until they’re puffy. At this point, preheat the oven, and bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large, wide pan (I used my dutch oven). When boiling, add in brown sugar and baking soda, being careful as it will bubble up. Put each pretzel in the water for 30 seconds, turn over for another 30 seconds, then remove. Pretzel skin will look puckered and moist. I didn’t get any good pictures of the baking soda bath part. We do the baking soda bath for a couple reasons. One it gives the pretzel some of the pretzel-y flavor due to the pH balance/basic-ness of it (SCIENCE!). Second, it helps start to form the awesome pretzel crust so it doesn’t puff up as much during baking and gives it the awesome golden brown, chewy texture.

Finally, use and egg wash and salt to top the pretzels, then bake! Wait until they’re good and dark brown before taking them out, too soon results in a too-chewy snack. Enjoy while warm!

All I can think about now are the other options out there, dipping sauces, cinnamon sugar topping. I’m getting excited.

Soft Pretzels
from The Kitchn, recipe makes 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • coarse sea salt to topping

To Make

1) Mix yeast in with one cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand 5-10 minutes until yeast has started to foam. Net add in 2 1/2 cup flour, sugar and salt and mix until dough starts to form.
2) Knead, using either kneading hook with stand mixer or by hand. Adding in flour two tablespoons at a time if dough is too sticky. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until dough holds a ball shape, is slightly tacky and soft. In another large bowl (or same bowl used for mixing, cleaned) spray with non-stick oil and let dough rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3) When dough is ready, turn it out on to a large floured surface. Divide into 8 similar sized pieces. Working one at a time, roll into a long, skinny rope. Aim for about 20-inches long.
4) To form dough into pretzel shape, bring two ends of dough up into a long U shape, leaving the bottom of the shape about 5-7 inches long. Twist the ends of the dough around each other twice. then bring the ends back down to lay on top of the bottom of the U. Lay the pretzel on top of a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
5) Let the pretzels rise until puffy, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450F. Also, prepare your baking soda bath. Fill a large, wide pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add brown sugar and baking soda, being careful because water will bubble up. Stir to combine, then keep water/soda mixture at a simmer.
6) Once water is ready and pretzels have risen you’re ready to put them in the bath. Using a slotted spoon gently lower two to three into the bath at a time, or as many can fit without crowding. Flip pretzels once after 30 seconds, let sit for another 30 seconds, then remove and place back on baking sheet. Repeat until all pretzels are done.
7) Whisk egg with two tablespoons of water. Using a pastry brush, brush pretzels with egg bath and sprinkle on sea salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they are deep brown. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy while warm.

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