Homemade Pretzels

Saturday, February 6, 2010
NO POWER! NO HEAT!

I guess my baking senses knew we'd be without power, and an oven for that matter, and told me to go ahead and bake twice in one evening. And thank goodness I
did. Because around 11:00 that night, we lost power.
It went dark,
it got cold, and the snow began to fall.

22 inches? I think that's about right. It was incredible, though. I have never seen that much in all my 17 years (yahoo!) of existence. The next day of course I went out and frolicked in the snow with my palie Maria from down the street. She was without power as well but had a lovely wood burning fireplace. Monopoly ensued. When I returned home... I walked into an icebox. No fun. My BFF Julia from around the corner, however, had power and so I pretty much mooched off of her for the night. The next morning my whole family planned to go to my grandparents, but right when we were all packed and heading out, the power came on. We decided that we might as well just stay home. Also, amidst all this, I found out SCHOOL WAS CANCELLED! So, there's a nice surprise. (Except it wasn't much of a surprise since I pretty much saw it coming=P).

So, in summation, the power went out on Friday at 11pm and came on Sunday at 1pm.

After the cupcakes I still had a free night ahead of me. With the roa
ds being bad as they were, I wasn't going anywhere. I decided to pick an item that I was afraid to try because it seemed difficult to make. Homemade pretzels. They been on my list and the moment seemed right, so I went for it!

I only had rapid rise yeast, as opposed to active dry, and it worked just fine ;-)

I was pretty nervous going into this, but with some help from Michelle and Ingrid, I was able to get through it! No fear right? Once I set aside the fact that "They don't have to come out perfect!", I was fine. In fact, this was by far the EASIEST dough I think I've ever worked with. Ever. Making homemade pretzels is so incredibly easy I don't know why I fretted (nice word huh?) over it at all! I made 7 regular ones and the last I made little poppers with.

No stand mixer, but my hands did the job! (Minds out of the gutter people!)

I looks like a brain. I'm pretty sure it should have had more water so it could form together better. Oh well, it came out good!


The taste: These were amazing! You have a ton of leeway when it comes to how well they are cooked. Mine were delish! But if I cooked them a little less, or a little more, they still would have been superb! I used regular sea salt as opposed to pretzel salt or kosher salt, and it wasn't an issue at all. I tried three different dips while eating mine, although the pretzel alone is drool worthy! I had a cheddar and mozzarella with mayo and sour cream dip. A dijon mustard, sour cream, and molasses dip. And I spread dark chocolate peanut butter all over one. The dark chocolate peanut butter one was the best by far.

I really really really want to make cinnamon sugar ones. So they'll be popping up soon!

After overcoming a baking fear of mine, now I wonder what else I'm too afr
aid to do that I should really actually try?!!?


Soft Pretzels

(an Alton Brown recipe first seen at Macheesmo)

1 1/2 c. warm water (110-115 degrees, and warm to the touch)

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 package active dry yeast

4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted

vegetable oil, for pan

10 c. water

2/3 c. baking soda

sea salt for sprinkling

Combine the warm water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes so mixture can begin to foam.

Add the flour and melted butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes.

Place ball of dough in a clean bowl that has been coated well with oil. Turn dough to coat, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for 55-60 minutes. The dough will double in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil. Turn the pretzel dough out onto your work surface and divide into 8 even sections. Roll each piece into a 24″ rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, cross the ends over each other, and press onto the bottom to make a pretzel shape.

Place the pretzels, one at a time, in the boiling water for 30 seconds on each side. Remove each from water with one or two large spatulas, and place on baking sheet. Reshape as necessary. Brush pretzels with melted butter, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake until golden brown, approximately 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

5 comments:

  1. Chef Aimee said...:

    These look delicious. and I bet the dark chocolate peanut butter spread was a hit! Stay warm!

  1. Mary said...:

    You make the best use of your time, cooking and eating!

  1. debbmarie said...:

    YEAH! Your pretzels look quite tasty! Now the fear is gone! Debbie

  1. Ingrid said...:

    Yay! You did it! Did you do a happy dance after you pulled those gorgeous perfect pretzels out of your oven? :)

    Thanks for the shout out!
    ~ingrid

  1. Sherry G said...:

    Thanks everyone! And yes Ingrid, I did in fact dance around haha. I may or may not have teared up as well.. shhh.

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