Monday, February 18, 2013

Making Soft Pretzels Is Easy!

Question: What's easy, inexpensive, luscious, and fun to do on a rainy day?
Answer:  Making soft pretzels with an Alton Brown recipe like this:

How To Make Alton Brown's Soft Pretzels:
1 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 T sugar
2 ts kosher salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
22 oz all-purpose flour, approx 4 1/2 cups
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cu baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 T water
Pretzel salt
1. Combine water, sugar and kosher salt in bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Will look like this...
2.  Add flour and butter and using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approx 4-5 minutes. Like this...

3.  Remove the dough from bowl, clean bowl, and then oil it well and return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approx 50-55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size. Looks like this:  
 4.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with oil. Set aside. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8 qt saucepan.

5. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24 inch rope like this:
6.  Make a U shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined baking pan like this:

 7.  Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1 for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the baking pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (add a bunch of other seeds like poppy seeds, caraway seeds, and sesame seeds if you like) like this:


 8.  Bake until dark golden brown in color, approx 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for a least 5 minutes before serving. Hopefully, they will look like this:
Serve with some marinara sauce, a little melted butter brushed on top, more kosher salt, parmesan cheese, and sprinkles of hot pepper flakes...YUMMY!!! Looks like this:

Half way gone in no time looks like this...enjoy!

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