As you may (or may not) know, I have already made pretzels once before. Oh sweet, sweet success. It was in the midst of a snow storm as well. They came out pretty frickin' fantastic for my first time. The dough was so so nice to work with, making my job very easy. They tasted great and it was sad to see them go. I really enjoyed them plain, but the cinnamon sugar variety has been haunting me ever since. From that one day in February up until I made this second batch, I have been dreaming of these cinnamon sugar pretzels.
The exact day I decided to make the pretzels, the lovely Joy came out with a pretzel post and a walk through video. Uh-oh. Now I'd be seeing everyone trying out her recipe and mine would go up and be compared.. oy vey! I was nervous to try out this very different recipe, so I decided to only make four. Two cinnamon, two regular.
The dough sucked. It was so terrible to work with. It was really just the fact that I could not get it to roll out for me!! I would apply pressure and roll and roll and roll and the dough wouldn't do anything thing. I had to use brutal unadulterated force. Then, when I boiled them and such, they took on weird indents and lumpy shapes. Not cool. In hindsight, could this be from not enough flour? Maybe I didn't give it enough structure? I was just nervous to make them dense or tough. I'd rather have gooey any day.
All in all, my mom said she didn't get a strong "pretzel" taste from them. She said it was very bread-like? I don't know exactly what she meant. See, she had a regular one and I ate the uber cinnamon-y sugar-y ones. I normally would never say anything like this, but: I put on too much cinnamon sugar. I also made a vanilla glaze to dip in. SUGAR OVERLOAD. Oh my goodness, I could feel the sugar rush in my veins. I thought they weren't bad. However, anything doused in cinnamon sugar and then dipping in a sugar-y vanilla icing has to be good, right? So my judgment was impaired. But, if we weigh they amount of grief the dough gave me and the ugliness of the pretzels, I'd have to say I wouldn't use this recipe again.
(Is it bad that on more than 3 occasions I kept typing "sinnamon suger"?)
With pretzels it is important to remember they do not keep well. If you're planning on making them keep in mind that unless your whole family plans on eating a dozen pretzels in one day you probably should keep your batch on the small side.
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
1 pound of bagel dough (recipe given within book)
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
coarse salt for sprinkling
extra flour for dusting kitchen towel
corn meal or whole wheat flour for pizza peel or baking stone
The boiling pot:
8 quarts boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 3-ounce piece of dough (about the size of a small peach). Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Elongate the ball, dusting with additional flour as necessary. Roll it back and forth with your hands on a flour dusted surface to form a long rope approximately 1/2 inch in diameter and 12 inches long.
2. Twist into a pretzel shape by first tying a knot, then looping the ends around and joining them back to the loop. Repeat, forming as many pretzels as you want to bake.
3. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450, with a baking stone placed near the middle of the oven. Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising pretzels.
4. Keep pretzels covered loosely with plastic wrap as you repeat the process to make the rest. Let the pretzels rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
5. Prepare the boiling pot: Bring a large saucepan or stockpot full of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the baking soda and cream of tartar. Drop the pretzels into the simmering water one at a time, making sure they are not crowding one another. They need enough room to float without touching or they will be misshapen. Let them simmer for 2 minutes and then flip them over with a slotted spoon to cook the other side. Simmer for another minute.
6. Remove them from the water, using the slotted spoon, and place on a clean kitchen towel that has been lightly dusted with with flour. This will absorb some of the excess water from the pretzels. Then place them on a peel covered with whole wheat flour. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
7. Slide pretzels directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake with steam for about 15 minutes, until deeply browned and firm. If you want crisp pretzels, bake 5 to 10 minutes longer.
Don't laugh at my ugly pretzels. I've made better!