Yowsers! Amazing Pretzels!

26 Apr

I’ve loved browsing through this “new-to-me” cooking website: Smitten Kitchen. The blog author is Deb who cooks in her very tiny NYC apartment and makes pretty much everything from scratch. She also has some amazing pictures 🙂 You should definitely check it out because I’ve already found some great recipes!

The one I want to highlight today–which I just made are these amazingpretzels. Wow. Can I just say how awesome these taste! It was a bit time consuming, but for a Sunday afternoon–a perfect project. It made me really excited to make them with my kiddos eventually because I know they will love rolling out the dough into “snakes” to form the pretzel shape. I never knew that when making pretzels you put them into a “bath” beforehand and then bake them. It really makes all the difference. Yowsers…these are amazing.

The only variation I changed was the pretzel toppings. I didn’t have any “chunky” sea-salt on hand, so I used regular on half of them and left half plain. This way I got to make my own cinnamon-sugar variety. Just drizzle some butter over the top of a plain pretzel and sprinkle a cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top. Voila–an AMAZING cinnamon-sugar pretzel. Literally, we’ve already eaten a bunch of them 🙂 Jeremy’s planning to melt cheese over some and eat some with mustard.

So…just for my own record, here’s the recipe:

Makes 16 full-sized or 32 miniature (I made the full-sized versions and they turned out perfect)

Ingredients:
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (I used bread flour this time around–cause I had it on hand)
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg
Coarse or pretzel salt
Cinnamon/Sugar mixture and melted butter (my addition)

Directions:
1. Pour warm water into bowl. Add 1 tablespoon sugar, and stir to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top, and let sit 10 minutes; yeast should be foamy.

2. Add 1 cup flour to yeast, and mix until combined. Add salt and 4 cups flour, and mix until combined. Add 1/2 cup flour more if needed and knead dough. If dough is still wet and sticky, add 1/2 cup more flour and knead until dough is smooth on a lightly floured board.

3. Pour oil into a large bowl; swirl to coat sides. Transfer dough to bowl, turning dough to completely cover all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave in a warm spot for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Heat oven to 450°F. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. Set aside. Punch down dough to remove bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead once or twice, divide into 16 pieces (about 2 1/2 ounces each) or 32 if making miniature pretzels, and wrap in plastic.

5. Roll one piece of dough at a time into an 18-inch-long strip. Twist into pretzel shape; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Continue to form pretzels; eight will fit on each sheet (you may need a third sheet if making miniatures). Let pretzels rest until they rise slightly, about 15 minutes. (they really do look better if they rise for 15 minutes).

6. Meanwhile, fill large, shallow pot with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add baking soda (and step back, it foams up quickly) and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Reduce to a simmer; transfer three to four pretzels to water. Poach 1 minute on each side. Use slotted spoon to transfer pretzels to baking sheet. Continue until all pretzels are poached.

7. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush pretzels with egg glaze. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, or eat warm. Pretzels are best when eaten the same day, but will keep at room temperature, uncovered, for two days. Do not store in covered container or they will become soggy.

Thanks to SmittenKitchen for recipe. You really have to try these pretzels. They take a bit of time, but are SO worth it! Yum, yum! I’m still thinking about them and smelling my pretzel-smelling house!

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