mmmmm… pretzels

I’ve decided to make pretzels tonight. I’m going to try this recipe first….

Plan A Recipe

(For 6 large or 12 small pretzels)

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ C of flour
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 2 t salt (sea salt preferably)
  • 1 T yeast, dissolved in the water
  • 1 C water (120°) fairly warm but not hot.
  • 1 T baking soda mixed with 1 Cup boiling water in a small bowl.
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl.

Directions:

    • Mix water , yeast, brown sugar and salt in a food processor, or a large mixing bowl.
    • Add flour and mix until dough is smooth. Add more flour if sticky. (If possible let the dough sit overnight in a plastic container in the fridge.)
    • Now divide the dough into 4, 6 or 12 pieces.
    • Roll each piece into a rope, very thin, a little bigger than a pencil if your making 4 you can roll it about cigar size and 36 inches long .
    • Shape into an upside down U shape on your table. Bring the ends together and twist them. Flatten the ends with your fingers and bring to the top of the pretzel and press in the dough to secure, making it look like a pretzel.
    • Place on a greased cookie sheet.
    • Let the pretzels rise for 30 minutes or till about double in size.
    • Brush with the water-soda solution. (For a chewier crust put 2 Tbl. baking soda mixed with 4 Cups boiling water drop the pretzel in there for about the count of 10 and then lift out with a strainer or pancake turner).
    • Brush the pretzels with the egg and the water that was whipped up in a small bowl. ( a cereal bowl is perfect) This gives the pretzel a nice shinny glaze.
    • Sprinkle with toppings like:
      • coarse salt.
      • garlic and Parmesan cheese.
      • Cinnamon sugar.
      • sesame seeds.
    • Bake in a hot oven 400 to 450 degrees (225 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes or until well browned.

      But if it doesn’t work then we’ll go to Plan B:

      Plan B Recipe

      Makes 6 large pretzels

      Ingredients:

      • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
      • 1 tablespoon malt powder or brown sugar
      • 2 to 3 cups all-purpose unbleached or bread flour
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup warm milk (approximately 110 degrees, which is 1 minute in my microwave)

      Directions:

        • Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until it forms a ball. Start with 2 cups of the flour and mix it together until it forms something like a thick batter. Add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until it forms a nice ball that can be kneaded by hand.
        • Either use an electric mixer to mix the dough for 5 minutes or remove it from the bowl and knead it by hand for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough begins to get smooth and satiny.
        • Letting the dough ferment can give the pretzels a little extra flavor, but it can be skipped and they will still taste great. If you are going to ferment the dough, return the ball of dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately an hour. Then, degas the dough gently before moving on to the next step.
        • Before shaping, start preheating the oven to 425 degrees. In a wide and shallow pan bring a quart of water and to a simmer, and then add 4 tablespoons of baking soda. The water should be deep enough so that a pretzel can be fully submerged.
        • Cut the dough into 6 pieces. Roll each one into a short log, cover with a towel, and let the dough relax for 5 to 10 minutes. After it has relaxed you should be able to roll it out and stretch again fairly easily.
        • Place a rope of dough on the work surface in front of you. Take each end in a hand, loop the dough away from you, and bring the ends back toward your stomach, crossing them about an inch above the rope. Apply a little bit of pressure to make the loops stick together, but not too much because you don’t want then to flatten out. You can use a dab of water to help make the ends stick.
        • After shaping the pretzel, carefully use a spatula to transfer it to the boiling water. Dunk it in the water, completely submerging it, for 5 seconds. The pretzel should begin to float towards the end.
        • Transfer the pretzel onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet (I used a silicone baking mat). Sprinkle with Kosher salt.
        • Once you have finished shaping all of the pretzels, place the cookie sheet in the middle rack of the pre-heated oven.
        • Bake the pretzels for 12-14 minutes until they are a dark golden brown.

          They look pretty similar, so I’ll probably try both or end up with a fusion of the 2.  One way or another I’m sure they’ll be great.



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