Sunday, April 5, 2009

Soft Pretzels

What can I can other than I love soft pretzels. There are one of my favorite snacks of all time. So when I came across this easy recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I just had to make them. While I wouldn't describe them as sooo cute as Deb does, I would describe them as delicous and probably the best soft pretzel ever (at least to come out of my kitchen). Here's what you need:
2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt - I used a coarse sea salt

Following Deb's instructions, I got a big bowl and added the water and sugar. Once the sugar dissolved I added the yeast and waited for it to start foaming. Then its time to start adding the flour. Now since I don't have an electric mixer I did this by hand and it was still unbelievably easy. Add 1 cup first and mix together then add 4 cups plus the salt. As you are mixing this add 1/2 cup more flour and continue mixing, then I added 1/2 cup more until the dough was wet and sticky. I knead this on my board and then put in back in the bowl with a little oil coating the sides. I let this rest for an hour.

After the dough rested, I divided into portions and starting making pretzels. I thought it might be difficult to make the pretzel shape by it was simple...who knew? Just take the dough and roll it out into a log shape. Then with it lying horizontal on your board twist the ends up and over each other to make the shape you see above.
Once you have formed all your pretzels it is time for them to take a bath. Bring a pot with 2 inches of water to a boil then add the baking soda (watch out it foams up, which is a great surprise to the uninformed in the room with you). Add the remaining sugar (2 Tbls) and reduce to a simmer. Then add the pretzels and poach for 1 minute on each side. As you take them out put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once they are all done, you brush the tops of each with the egg glaze (1 Tbls water and egg) then sprinkle on the salt.Put them in a 450 degree over for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown and look like the picture at the top. They keep decently for a day but are best within minutes of coming out of the oven. These were everything you would want in a pretzel...soft, chewy, salty. I made them for the roommates and no one could get enough.

Next time I plan on trying to freeze these to keep as snacks. Not sure if it will work. Anyone tried it?