Thursday, September 22, 2011

soft pretzels

The first picture of food I ever took was of a pretzel. It was my first time making them and I was impressed with the outcome. I was going to send the pic to a friend of mine, to brag about my accomplishment, but never did. Felt kinda silly writing, "hey, look what I just made". A little while after that, I decided to start up this blog. Figured I wouldn't have to push my foodstuff onto people, they could come here and see it if they wanted to. Still kinda feel silly writing "hey, look what I just made"!

But these pretzels are worth writing about! We had them fresh from the oven, with leftover pizza sauce for dinner. They were amazing! The inside is so soft and yummy! And the crust is just salty enough. I sprinkled fleur de sel on top of four of them, and topped the other four with a mixture of sugar, chocolate and cinnamon in one of those grinders things. The sweeter ones were delicious with peanut butter the next day. Not as soft as the fresh ones, but still delicious nonetheless.

Soft Pretzels
recipe adapted from Alton Brown via FoodNetwork
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda (I used a heaping 1/3 cup)
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water (I used heavy cream)
Pretzel salt (I used fleur de sel)

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 mix until combined with a spatula. Using the dough hook, turn on the mixer at 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. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. 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 oiled 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 parchment-lined half sheet pan.

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 heavy cream and sprinkle with the fleur de sel. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The first time I made these, I measured the baking soda, but failed to measure to water. The results? Pretzels that tasted very strongly of baking soda. So I was careful this time around, and measured the water, and used much less soda than what the recipe called for. They tasted awesome.

For some reason I ran out of eggs (because of pancakes that call for half a dozen that my husband had made that morning). So I used heavy cream to brush on the pretzels before baking, and they turned out fine. The fleur de sel was also perfect for these, but the cinnamon sugar grinder thing didn't sweetened them as much as I would have liked.

I wish I had gotten a picture of the inside of one... next time!


  1. Your pretzels looks adorable and stunningly delicious, I think you should have brag about them :)
    Feel free to stop by site am giving away a free cupcake maker :)

  2. Soft pretzels have been on my to-do for a while. Yours look great--thanks for sharing! And you should totally brag about what you make, I think. Nobody makes things (in the kitchen and elsewhere) anymore.

  3. These look amazing! All I would need is some cinnamon and sugar butter, and I could dig right in!!! YUM!


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