Let me start this week by offering a bit of an apology. We’ve been slacking on the content these last couple of days…it’s just been a tough stretch to find those extra few moments to put a post together. We’ll get better about it…or maybe we won’t. I guess you can consider Brendan and I to be enigmas.
Anyway, I played a road game this week and decided to do some baking at my in-laws house on Sunday. We were celebrating their wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary Bruce & Becky!) and had an opportunity to relax, watch the NCAA tourney and make some pretzels for in-game munchies. (BTW…my bracket, probably much like the rest of the country, is better served as an origami future telling device)
Anyway, the plan was to have the pretzels ready to go by the start of the second game. Didn’t really go as planned though…these pretzels take a LONG time to make. I’d say start to finish, it was about 3 hours…so plan accordingly when you go to make them.
- 1 ½ cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package instant dry yeast
- 4 ½ cups of bread flour
- ½ stick of butter, melted
- Vegetable oil, for pan
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Pretzel salt (I used Kosher salt…it worked out well because the salt didn’t end up “flaking off” and making a mess when eaten)
- Shortening (Crisco)
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. 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 oil it well with vegetable oil. 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. Grease 2 baking sheets well using the shortening. Set aside.
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 floured work surface 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.
Place onto the baking sheets.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.
Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with mustard or nacho cheese.
So after all that work, the pretzels were REALLY good…but I’d be lying if I didn’t say you have to REALLY LOVE pretzels to make this recipe. It takes quite a bit of time to make.
That’s all for now…look for a couple of posts from Brendan in the coming days. I thought I heard him say something about wheat bread…
And finally, don’t forget to become a fan of The Bread Guys on Facebook. Just go to facebook.com/breadguys and you’ll get notification of the posts as soon as they go live. Just don’t go too far…