Sunday, June 28, 2009

Soft Pretzels

This one gets an Aaron made tag because it was his idea and he did about half the work. The normal Aaron made tag is when he does everything, but he definitely deserves some credit here.

When we came back from Germany, pretzels were on the mind. They are everywhere in Munich: with butter, with cheese, plain, the size of your head, whatever. Aaron had the idea of making our own and he searched out a recipe. This one comes from my FN buddy, Alton Brown. Who loves a food nerd? I do.

I loved this recipe. The dough came together so easily and only one step of it is harder than really easy. Plus, we got to use my beautiful new cutting board my folks got me for my birthday.

Soft Pretzels from Good Eats:

Makes 8 pretzels

1 ½ c. warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 Tb. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast (or 1 Tb. active dry yeast if you don’t buy packets…which I don’t)
22 oz. all-purpose flour, approximately 4 ½ c.
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 c. water
2/3 c. baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tb. water
Pretzel salt (I’m not sure what this is exactly, so we used coarse sea salt and it was delicious)

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. 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, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. I pulled it sooner because I love to finish dough off by hand. Feel free to not do this. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap (or a towel) and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside. I accidentally skipped the brushing with oil part. Do not forget this part. Or, do like we did on the other pan because we ran out of parchment paper: just oil the sheet. I think it works out better.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan. 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 parchment-lined half sheet pan. I ended up making mine a little shorter and really wrapping the ends around to make them stick. The first couple came undone in the boiling water.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. (This is the slightly difficult part. Props to Aaron for doing it). Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

These are so, so, so delicious. We ate half of them before the day was out. See how happy Aaron is? It’s because he just finished a bite before I took the picture. I cannot wait to do this again.


Carrina said...

OhhhhhhOOoooohhh. I. Cannot. Wait. To try these. This may be a have-to-attempt-before-end-of-workweek kind of deal. Oh my gosh. I love the last picture, too!

monthone said...

These were AMAZING! :)

inaffets said... you know i check this everyday right? and guess what? you have not posted since june 28th! unacceptable.

Becca said...

I posted Steffani. Just for you!

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