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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Soft Pretzels!

I know I've been posting a lot of food lately and I swear this isn't just a food blog but OMG DUDE I have to tell you about this pretzel recipe I tried out today. (I swear I'll talk about something other than food tomorrow... I'm just not sure what yet)

As I usually do when I get the hankering to make something, I cruised the web for a suitable recipe and stumbled upon Food Network's pretzels.  I knew I wanted to make soft pretzels since I wanted to try out a new brand of yeast that I found and I wanted something that would go well with a Sunday afternoon glass of home brew but I wasn't sure which recipe I wanted to use.  I settled on Food Network's, honestly, because it has the most butter and milk (my arteries can thank me later).

Anyways, I'm pretty happy with my choice because, seriously, LOOK AT THESE THINGS.  Don't worry, yes they are as delicious as they look.





Almost Famous Soft Pretzels

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Prep: 30 min
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 6 pretzels

Ingredients

1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons coarse salt


Directions

  1.  Do something with your toddler.  I stuck mine in her high chair and gave her some juice.
  2. Gather ingredients
  3. Warm the milk in a saucepan until it's about 110 degrees (don't go much higher or you risk killing the yeast, much lower and you might not activate the yeast)
  4. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes; Do not stir yeast in to soften, allow them to sit on top as this slowly activates them and maximizes their viability. 
  5. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon. Dice 2 tablespoons butter and soften; stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. 
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. (If the dough seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes.) 

  8. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. 
  9. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.  I found this step to be particularly difficult, I found keeping the dough under a moist towel helped keep it from drying out which made it hard to shape, also keeping your hands damp helped keep the dough workable while shaping it.
  10. Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Whisking helped dissolve the baking soda more thoroughly.
  11. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. 

  12. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a shallow dish. Dip the hot pretzels in the butter, turning to coat; place on a wire rack to let excess butter drip off.