Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homemade Soft Pretzels,

I love those to get one of those soft pretzels from the Pretzel Shack in the mall. Their soft pretzel bites and pretzel dogs (mini pigs in a blanket) are soooooo yummy I had to try to make some at home!
Here's my yummy soft pretzels! 
They took some time but were easy to make, and VERY light and soft. 
 I found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen HERE.  She adapted her recipe from Martha Stewart's. Then I looked at 3 more recipes and read comments for about an hour. Then I looked up recipes on the Food Network and All  I chose this recipe because of all the positive comments. It is from the FOOD NETWORK. It is Alton Brown's recipe and there was also a video. The link is HERE.
Then I watched a few you tubes on pretzel making and Martha Stewart had a video too. Those are THE BEST ways to learn how to cook something! You tube videos!! I adapted this one after making it.  My recipe has a little more sugar and less salt. And I did not bake mine as long. I like them lighter and soft, not hard on the outside so I added DOUGH ENHANCER POWDER.
My dough mixed up and ready to cover.....
 Mix the warm water and sugar and then sprinkle on the yeast packet. Let it sit until it is foamy. They call that "proofing" the yeast, it will take 5 minutes. Then add the salt and melted butter and put your dough hook on your mixmaster. Add a cup of flour to start. 
Add the rest of the flour and some dough enhancer.  Knead for a few minutes.  
The Dough Enhancer makes bread softer and doughier. You can get it from Bosch bread making supply store.  They were easy and yummy and kinda fun! 
Soft Pretzels (my recipe adapted from Alton Brown)
1 package instant dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons melted BUTTER
1 teaspoon dough enhancer (optional for softer pretzels)
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Mix, knead, let rise for an hour, then roll out and make your pretzels. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheets and bake for 6 to 7 minutes at 425 degrees.
Now we are ready to roll the pretzel dough has puffed up quite a bit....
 Always use less flour to start on any bread recipe. Then slowly add in by cupfuls.  This dough was smooth, not really very sticky at all. 

Then place dough ball in an oiled pan and cover for an hour to let it rise. Then I rolled it out on my surface.  Make a big rectangle shape. My dough was about 1/2 inch thick, maybe a little less. 
I rolled pretzel dough  into a rectangle.....
Get your pizza cutter and cut the dough down the middle, then 2 more times to make 4 sections. Then cut each section into 3 or 5 strips, depending upon how large or small you want your pretzels. 
Cut Soft Pretzel Dough into 4 sections with a pizza cutter, and then cut each section into 5  skinny make 20 pretzels.
If it is for a party I recommend the 5 strips. This will give you 20 good, 3 inch bite sized pretzels. If you do the larger (palm sized thick pretzels) 3 strips will make 12 big and soft 5 inch pretzels. 
                            Here were my ingredients....and my cute new RACHEL RAY PAN! It is oval, and orange, with a soft, rubber handle and with a pour spout. SO CUTE right? I love her stuff! I got it on sale at J. C. Pennys! Only $15 bucks and I had a 20% off coupon if I opened a charge (yes I'm a sucker for a coupon!). 

(Mix a bath of 5 cups hot water to 1/3 cup baking soda in a deep fry pan. Set on warm on stove for after pretzels are made and formed.) 
I mixed up the baking soda and water hot bath....left it on low on the stove and then formed my pretzels....
They take less than a minute each in the hot water bath...just like a bagel!
I played with my dough making all kinds of would be so fun for kids to do too! 
Roll it, flip it twice around, then turn each end up and pinch...
To roll them I made a long snake, 12 to 16 inches long, and then make make a loop, then twist it once again and take the tails and flip them up to the round loop and press them down. Then I turned each one over. 
Soft Pretzels.   That's it!  
Then drop them in the baking soda and hot water bath....just for like 45 seconds each...

Pick pretzels up with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it..
More playing with soft pretzel
Oh boy is this fun! I got about 3 cookie sheets full...About 20 pretzels....

Top each pretzel with a sprinkle of kosher salt before baking. (not much, or too salty!)
Sprinkled on the salt....
Then ready to bake! 
Bake in 425 oven for 5 1/2  to 71/2  minutes. Watch them as each oven is a little different. My top shelf cooked them faster than my bottom shelf too, so I had an extra minute on the lower shelf of pretzels.
Here they are just hot out of the oven....soft and yummy....If you like them hard on the outside just do an egg wash and cook them a bit longer in the oven...they will have a stiffer, smooth and chewy outside.....
Add the melted butter on with a silicone brush....
When they come out of the oven brush them with melted butter and a silicone brush. EAT! They are lightly crisp on the outside and buttery chewy inside. Yummy! The hubs loved them! He loves anything salty. 
Oh yeah....that's what I'm talkin about!  I brought them to my classroom the next day
for our little cast party....we are doing 4 little fairy tale plays....I brought O.J. to go with them...yum! 
Dip them in chili, mustard,light cream cheese with raspberry homemade jam, or cinnamon and sugar or just plain. Next time I'll try putting a 1/4 slice of hot dog inside each one and make pretzel dogs! That would go great with mustard.... mmmm.........

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