Soft Pretzels

Original Recipe HERE
I made these for St. Patrick's Day.  I knew the kids probably wouldn't like the usual corned beef meal and other traditional Irish "delights" (a term used loosely for the dishes of an area not known for its cuisine).  So I went the cop-out route and served green food.  Including pretzels.  Because I added green food coloring to the dough.
These were really easy - and actually easier to do by hand.  I started the dough in the stand mixer, but I didn't like the way it seemed to be going, so I took it out and kneaded it with elbow grease.  Any shapes can be made from the dough, but I went with the universal pretzel shape.  The dough was so elastic that it kept retracting; I couldn't get it to the 20" ropes the original recipe made.  So my pretzels were small and chubby.  Next time I'll let the kids play with it and see what shapes they come up with.
I got 12 pretzels: 7 salt and 5 cinnamon-and-sugar.  The flavors weren't as pronounced as I'd hoped.  I wonder if rolling the dough pieces in the salt or C-and-S before forming into their shapes (instead of just sprinkling them afterward) would give better coverage and intensity.  Probably the easiest thing to do is just make little pretzel balls (or make the ropes, then slice them into bite-size pieces) and experiment with a variety of coatings.  These were dense (see original's notes about flour use) yet the perfect degree of softness.  They remained so the next day, but they were gone within 24 hours so I don't know how well they last past that.
1-1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2-3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
1 large egg
course sea salt for topping [optional]
cinnamon-and-sugar for topping [optional]
(1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment or silpat.
(2) Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Stir until mostly mixed (about 1 minute)
(3) Add salt and sugar; stir.
(4) Add flour, 1 cup at a time and mixing after each addition.  Continue until dough is no longer sticky and bounces back when poked.
(5) Turn dough out onto floured surface.  Knead about 5 minutes.
(6) Shape dough into a ball.  Cut in to evenly-sized quarters.  Cut each quarter into three evenly-sized pieces (end result of 12 individual pieces of dough).
(7) Roll dough into a rope with an even diameter, aiming for at least 18" long.  Make a circle out of rope.  Hold together two loose ends together; twist and press back down onto bottom of circle.
(8) Beat egg; pour into shallow dish.  Dip pretzel into egg wash so all surfaces are covered.
(9) Put pretzel on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with topping.
(10) Bake 10-12 minutes.  Turn oven to broil for approximately 2 minutes to brown tops (watch closely to avoid burning).
(12) When done, remove to cooling rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
Kid Participation:
* Mix ingredients
* Knead/punch/tug/torture dough
* Form pretzel shapes
* Sprinkle toppings
* Freak out with joy at seeing homemade pretzels served for dinner

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