Monday, April 6, 2009

Pretzels? Bagels? A little of both?

Okay, so now that I am a Daring Baker, I am motivated to try things I've always wanted to try but never did. So, I went back through old challenges they've done and picked a few that really piqued my interest.

The first: PRETZELS - big, chewy, soft pretzels - YUMMMMY!

Okay, so I've never made ANYTHING with yeast in I was excited, nervous, anxious....and a whole lot more!

So - here I go:

They say that you may need extra water, but I ended up needing a touch more flour...go figure!

Here is my beautiful little ball of dough:

This dough DID look a complete sticky mess, I was worried that I did something wrong. I just added another tablespoon of flour and proceeded to knead it and all was well! I was so happy!

After kneading, he needed a rest:

I am SO very mad at myself that I forgot to take a picture after it rose. It was so big and fluffy and beautiful! There was only about an inch or so to the edge of the bowl, too. *sigh*

Alright, so I started rolling the little pretzels out:

This part I thought was really fun. I tried to be all slick and swing the dough around and do loopty-loops and create fancy pretzels......that didn't really work so I stuck to doing it slowly and carefully. Either way works.


Now, the recipe says to be cautious that you're pretzels aren't rolled too thin....I thought mine looked great - just like when you buy them. Well, what I did NOT realize is that they'd rise even MORE in the oven! :)


So, they're more like a pretzel-bagel....but that is OK! They still cooked through and were perfect to taste!


My 4-year-old daughter even had me slice one in half and make a sandwich out of it! That is awesome!

So, if you love soft pretzels, you MUST try this recipe. It was a lot of fun and not too hard for a beginner (just don't try any fancy twirling with the dough!).

Thanks again Daring Bakers!

For the dough:
• 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
• 1 cup warm water (you may need a little more)
For the pretzel topping:
• 1/2 cup warm water
• 1 tsp. sugar
• kosher salt
• 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1. Combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Work the ingredients together until you can form a ball. If the dough is very dry, add a bit more warm water until it comes together. The dough will look messy, but don’t worry about it.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading by pushing the dough away with the heel of your hand, and then folding it back in onto itself. Push the dough away again and then fold back in. Continue this motion, working the dough until it’s smooth. This should take anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough in a mixer with your dough hook for 5 to 6 minutes).
3. Once the dough is done, sprinkle some flour on the dough and put it in a large, oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to an hour. It will rise considerably.
4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and set aside.
Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long rope that’s roughly 24 inches in length. (Don’t make it too long or your pretzels will be too thin.)
6. Taking hold of the ends of the rope, cross the rope over itself to form a circle with about 4 to 5 inches on each end that are sticking out. Twist the ends over themselves and secure each end on either side of the pretzel.
7. Carefully dip the pretzel in the water and then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
8. Sprinkle the pretzels with the kosher salt and let them rest for about 15 minutes.
9. Put the pretzels in the oven for 6 minutes, then rotate the trays and bake for an additional 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the pretzels so that they don’t burn.
10. Remove the pretzels from the oven and immediately brush them with the butter. Keep brushing them with butter until you’ve used it all.
11. Serve the pretzels warm with plenty of mustard or another condiment of your choice.
12. Enjoy!


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