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Soft Pretzels

IMG_9157Let’s talk about the weather.

I love the idea of a lazy rainy day. Grey skies and wet sidewalks equal spending a little extra time under covers in the morning, watching movies and TV all day long, the smell of ooey gooey cookies wafting out of the oven. This sounds like a good day to me.

Well, it sounded like a good day to me, until we got a million rainy days in a row. Honestly by then I just wanted to go to the beach, the thick layer of clouds finally parting to reveal bright blue sky. I wanted that more than anything.

But thaaat didn’t happen. Instead I was stuck inside, again,and bored out of my mind. Not okay.

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I wanted a project. My brothers’ birthday was just a few days before, and they each requested their own cake, so we had two giant half-eaten cakes sitting around. Cross making a layer cake off the list of options. But I did  have a packet of dry activated yeast from the week before’s pizza dough debacle (it didn’t stretch?) begging for me to play with it.

My experience with yeasted dough is pretty limited. When I was younger, my dad and I would make bread together, taking turns kneading by hand. But on my own, I’ve only make bread a handful of times. We always have really delicious bread in my house–– way better than I could make it, so what is the point of all of the effort (besides the fact that baking bread makes your house smell sosososo good)?

But pretzels. Pretzels are good. Not as common as a regular ol’ loaf of bread, a little bit more hands on when rolling out (that means more fun!), a lotta bit yummy to eat. So I went for it.

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These pretzels are soft, bready, and buttery. To make them crunchy, lower the oven temp and cook for longer. I cannot promise exact results. What I can promise is that, as is, these pretzels make a really tasty snack. The next day, after they softened a bit overnight, instead of sticking then back in the oven to crisp up,  we cut then in half and used them as rolls for sandwiches. Next time I make these, I might bake them as rolls for the get-go. No matter what shape you make them into, a good sprinkle of sea salt (I used Amagansett Sea Salt :P)  before they go into the oven  makes a huge difference.

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Well thankfully all of this rain passed, and it’s actually sunny out! So I’m going to finish up this post so I can head down to the beach. See ya!

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Soft Pretzels
Author: Adapted from Alton Brown
These buttery, soft pretzels are a great project for a rainy day. Bonus points for being a great salty snack.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable or canola oil, for bowl and pan
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit until it begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and, with a dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean bowl and oil it well. Turn dough back into bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place (tip: preheat your oven to its lowest temperature for about 5 minutes, and then turn off so it is just slightly warm) for an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and then oil the paper.
  5. Combine about 10 cups of water with the baking soda in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  6. While water is heating up, flour your work surface and turn out dough. Pull off smaller balls, about a handful of dough each, and shape.
  7. To shape: roll into a 12 inch rope. Hold the ends in a U shape, and then cross the ends. Alternatively, just cross each end over to form the pretzel shape.
  8. When water is at a rolling boil, carefully place a few pretzels in the pot (don’t overcrowd them) and boil for 30 seconds. Drain, and repeat with the rest of the pretzels.
  9. Brush pretzels with the the egg mixture and sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt.
  10. Bake until dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  11. Cool at least 5 minutes before serving. They are best warm.
Notes
Original recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-soft-pretzels-recipe/index.html

 

 

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