Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Okay, so it's been literally months since I posted anything on here.  I swear I've been trying new recipes, but life has just gotten busy!  I'm hoping to dig the recipes we've liked out of the mess of cookbooks, magazines, and papers that have taken over my shelf so I can share them with you.  We'll see how that goes, right?

My kids and I made these again yesterday, though, and I managed to take a picture, so I'm taking the opportunity to squeeze a post in between Nerf guns and a climbing toddler.

From Alton Brown's Good Eats 3: The Later Years, page 52.
1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115F)
1 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 (2 1/4 tsp.) envelope active dry yeast
22 oz. (~4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbs. water
Pretzel salt

Combine warm water, sugar, kosher salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Set aside for 5 minutes, or until the mixture foams.

Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 4 to 5 minutes.

Put the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 450F.  Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil.  Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or a roasting pan (something wide and shallow is best).

Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Roll out each piece of dough into a 24" rope.  Make a U-shape with the rope, and, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.  Place on a half-shet pan.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

One by one, place the pretzels in the boiling water for 30 seconds.  Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula.  Return them to the sheet pans, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with pretzels salt.

Bake until dark golden brown in color, 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

- Add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time, and slow down once you reach the 3 1/2 or 4 cup mark.  Add enough flour after that point so that the dough isn't sticking to the side of the bowl, up to 4 1/2 cups total.
- I use my 5 quart sauté pan to boil the pretzels.
- I add an extra twist when I'm shaping my pretzels because I think it holds them together better (Alton Brown's just cross over each other in an X shape in the middle).
- If I don't have pretzel salt, I use sea salt or kosher salt.

1 comment:

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