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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Soft Pretzels

    Happy 2015!  I thought it would be fun to start off the New Year with a new project.  Why not collect heirloom recipes and family favorites and give them a try.  It will be fun to try some new things and even more fun to try my hand at some of the things I have loved through the years.  I come from a family of great cooks, so I am stepping into some pretty large shoes.  I am looking forward to trying to create some great food and Matt is happy to help taste test.   I will share my journey so that you can try some of our favorites as well.  Each is like a little taste of home.  

   Now, with that being said, this first recipe isn’t a family favorite at all.  It is just a little something fun that I made yesterday.  Everyone loves a soft pretzel.  Am I right?  Matt wanted to have some people over for cards yesterday, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to whip some up.  Until a month or two ago they idea of yeast dough was a little intimidating to me.  Lately I have really been enjoying making all sorts of dough.  I enjoy the kneading, the rising, and the smell of bread baking.  So, the idea of making pretzels from scratch was intriguing.  



Soft Pretzels

Ingredients
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Coarse Salt
Instructions

  1. Mix granulated sugar and warm water in bowl.  Add yeast and let sit for a couple of minutes.  Stir in flour and salt to form a shaggy bowl.
  2. Use your dough hook to knead the dough for five minutes or turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until you have a smooth dough.
  3. Place dough into an oiled bowl and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll the pieces into long snake shapes and form into pretzels.
  5. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pan.  Make sure there is plenty of room in the pan as it will bubble.  Add the brown sugar and baking soda.  Stir until dissolved then reduce heat to medium-low.
  6. Add a one or two pretzels to the simmering water.  Put the top side down for thirty seconds, then flip for thirty seconds. They puff up and look a little slimy, but this is the step that gives them that yummy, chewy pretzel crust. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet.
  7. Once all pretzels brush them with an egg wash made from an egg and 2 Tablespoons of water.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.
  8. Bake at 450 F for 12-15 minutes
  9. Serve warm with cheese sauce or mustard
I have to say that making the pretzels was easier than I thought it would be.  It was actually a lot of fun.  My mom came and formed them with me, so it was some nice time with her.  It was fun to see them puff up in the water and come out of the oven looking just like you would expect.   I made a double batch and they were all gone by the end of the night, so I would say they were a success!

   Maybe I'll have to try my hand at some pretzel rolls somewhere down the line!



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