Saturday, February 8, 2014

Soft Pretzel Recipe

Whenever I am in the mall and I walk past the pretzel kiosk I can't help but buy one! But now I can make them cheaper at home without all the freaky ingredients! 

Making fresh pretzels has always been on my list of items to try and make. But they seem very intimidating! Yeast recipes seem to be very hit or miss. But I have a giant container of yeast and no plans for the why not!?

I did a taste test between Allrecipes Buttery Soft Pretzels and Brown Eyed Baker's Soft Pretzel recipe. Hands down the Brown Eyed Baker recipe was the winner if you want that pretzel texture. The Allrecipe recipe was bready and tasted yeasty.

All Recipe
Brown Eyed Baker Pretzel...Struggle
Brown Eyed Baker Pretzel Nuggets
Clearly, I had difficulty with making the pretzel shape for the Brown Eyed Baker pretzels... but I was impatient and didn't want take much time. Hence the nuggets. Nuggets are great. Nuggets also cook the same length of time as the pretzel shapes.

I didn't use the egg wash or sprinkle with salt. I will try that next time and provide an update.

Tip: When using yeast be sure that the water is between 110F and 115F. Use a thermometer. Too cold and the yeast won't activate, too hot and the yeast will die.

Was this a lot of work? Not really. The dough is assembled quickly and then you wait for it to rise. After it rises it takes about a half hour to roll out and shape the pretzels. Next time I'll do nuggets and save additional time. Then the 30 second boil and 10 minutes of baking! Less than an hour creates tasty soft pretzels! And yes, I'll be making these again.

The reviews on the site say the recipe freezes well.

Update 11/11/14: Here are some pictures. Note: don't triple the recipe unless you enjoy detailing your kitchen aid and getting dough out of every crevice. :)

The Triple Batch. It reminded me of that I Love Lucy episode
1 hour of rising
chop, slice, or pull apart

put them on the sheet

boil 30 seconds

put back on sheet and cook 7 - 15 miuntes

Don't burn your mouth trying to eat them out of the oven!

Soft Pretzel Recipe
slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 
makes 8 pretzels

1½ cups warm water (between 110F - 115F)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

4½ cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

6 cups water
2/3 cups baking soda
1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water, whisked together (for egg wash) (optional)
Coarse salt, for sprinkling (optional)

1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam.

2. Add the flour and butter. Use the dough hook attachment to mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes. If dough is too dry, add in water 1 tbsp at a time.
3. Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel (or plastic wrap) and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with a silpat mat (or parchment paper brushed with the vegetable oil); set aside.
5. Combine the water and baking soda in a large, wide pot. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
6. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, 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 onto the lined baking sheet.
7. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time (or however many will fit comfortably given the size of your pot – don’t crowd them), for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large, flat spatula. Place the boiled pretzels back on the baking sheet, brush the top of each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
8. Bake until dark golden brown in color, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving

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