Friday, November 21, 2008

Pretzels and a Birthday

Have you ever just had one of those cravings and nothing but that certain food would do? Well I was having one of those moments this week. Pretzels. Chewy, buttery, and fresh from the oven is what I was craving. But where would I find a good recipe? Of course! Pretzels are what started The Daring Bakers. So I went to both Lisa and Ivonne's blogs, La Mia Cucina and Cream Puffs In Venice. Well, I was obviously meant to bake up some pretzels because when I went to Ivonne's page there were the pretzels. Turns out November is The Daring Bakers birthday month!

So I pulled out all the ingredients and got to work making some delicious pretzels. Since I don't like to eat a lot of white flour if I can help it, I did alter the recipe a bit. Instead of 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, I split it into half white flour and half whole wheat flour. Sooo good! Feel free to follow the original recipe though as it is written below. Or follow this link, Hot Buttered Pretzels, over to Ivonne's page and the original post.

Hot Buttered Pretzels
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.

For the dough:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
1 cup warm water (you may need a little more)

For the pretzel topping:
1/2 cup warm water

1 tsp. sugar
kosher salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1.) Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Work the ingredients together until you can form a ball. If the dough is very dry, add a bit more warm water until it comes together. The dough will look messy, but don’t worry about it.

2.) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading by pushing the dough away with the heel of your hand, and then folding it back in onto itself. Push the dough away again and then fold back in. Continue this motion, working the dough until it’s smooth. This should take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough in a mixer with your dough hook for 5 to 6 minutes).

3.) Once the dough is done, sprinkle some flour on the dough and put it in a large, oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour. It will rise considerably.

4.) Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5.) Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and set aside.

6.) Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long rope that’s roughly 24 inches in length. (Don’t make it too long or your pretzels will be too thin.)

7.) Taking hold of the ends of the rope, cross the rope over itself to form a circle with about 4 to 5 inches on each end that are sticking out. Twist the ends over themselves and secure each end on either side of the pretzel.

8.) Carefully dip the pretzel in the water and then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

9.) Sprinkle the pretzels with the kosher salt and let them rest for about 15 minutes.

10.) Put the pretzels in the oven for 6 minutes, then rotate the trays and bake for an additional 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the pretzels so that they don’t burn.

11.) Remove the pretzels from the oven and immediately brush them with the butter. Keep brushing them with butter until you’ve used it all.

12.)Serve the pretzels warm with plenty of mustard or another condiment of your choice.


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