Monday, April 30, 2012

pretzel memories

I did something last week that I've been wanting to do for a long time...
I made soft pretzels with the kids...

Yep...I'm Martha...
totally 100% Martha...
...
only that's a lie...
I'm not...
...we just have to remember the cake pop incident of '12 to know I'm not Martha!

the reason I have never made them before is because I was scared...
it's bread...which equals yeast...and that's always a little iffy...
it's rolling and shaping of the dough...with children involved...
you have to boil them in a brine...
yes...a brine...
....that's freaky!
and then the egg wash
and all with kids...

yep...no, thanks I'll pass...

but I really wanted to...

I kept pinning soft pretzel recipes...
I would read them and re-read them...
even though they look scary with the whole brine thingy...
they also looked very easy....
but then I would remember the cake pop incident of '12 and then remind myself that just because the other bloggers think it's easy doesn't mean it is easy!

Well I did it...
I took the leap and made pretzels with the kids...
I followed this recipe from Alton Brown/Food Network
(my slightly altered recipe posted below)
it was great...
the dough...super simple...

the creating pretzel shapes with the kids...fun..not super easy...but fun
AND the dough is very forgiving, and even though the boy child played created with his dough for a LONG time it wasn't any worse for the wear, I couldn't even tell which 2 were his over-loved creations when they came out of the oven.

the scary brine...easy peasy!

egg wash...no biggie...just a small simple step
and the kids...
they LOVED it...loved it so much we did it three days in a row!
yes...THREE days in a row...
day one...loved them but only had table salt and that was too much salt..
day 2...I got the right salt...but Beau made the dough and I didn't tell him the right amount of butter (Alton's recipes is in oz not tablespoons)...so it was a bit too rubbery of dough for the knots so we opted for bites instead-AMAZING...
day 3...cinnamon pretzels for breakfast-yes please!

Homemade Soft Pretzels
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast (1 package active dry yeast)
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Pam (the baking spray...not the lady) for spraying
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons melted butter
Pretzel salt or Cinnamon & Sugar

Directions
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.
side note...I was summoned to the back yard at this point to see the snake that the boy child had found...and I left the mixer going...I have no idea how long I was gone... I came back and the dough was smooth and pulling away from the side of the bowl...so I never upped it to medium speed...
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.
Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then spray with Pam (the spray...not the lady). Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap 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 cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with Pam...the spray not the lady!

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 (I just sprayed the counter and let the kids go to town) 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...or skip the knot and make pretzel bites by cutting them into 1-2 inch squares (we did bites the 2nd time we made these...just as yummy!).  Place onto the parchment-lined pan...(or spray the bee-jeezus out of the pan...DO NOT opt for wax paper...just sayin')

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 or 2 at a time (for bites I would say between 10-15), for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to cookie sheet, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, if topping with Pretzel Salt (Course Sea Salt...not table salt, if you don't have pretzel salt skip the salt...and take my word for it that table salt was TOO much!) sprinkle it now. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at about 5 minutes.

For Cinnamon & Sugar Pretzels:  Wait 2-5 minutes for pretzels to not be too hot, brush the tops of warm pretzels with melted butter and turn upside down/butter side down into a bowl with bowls with cinnamon & sugar

Devour Eat pretzels while still warm...and enjoy with the family!
this is the pictures you get when you ask your husband nicely
 to snap a picture of the kids enjoying their pretzels!
Sorry for the lack of pictures of all the steps...I was enjoying the pretzel moment with my kids and didn't stop and take pictures along the way!

Have you ever made homemade soft pretzels?
How about bagels...I think bagels are next on my list!...

2 comments:

Erin said...

YUM!! I've never made soft pretzels, but Ben did once pretty soon after we were married. They were pretty tasty. I'll have to show him your recipe and get him to make them again!! This time with cinnamon and sugar. :)

Lara said...

I made the recipe that came with my bread machine...it didn't call for boiling (which I found odd) and I've also used Pilsbury's recipe, which doesn't call for boiling either! The were both pretty good, but I think I'll try yours...just seems like the real deal. :)