Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homemade Soft Pretzels

I made soft pretzels!!! everybody do a little jig for me in your seat..come on just do it! :) I was soooooo ecstatic when these turned out. I haven't had a soft pretzels for the longest time. It's so odd because now that I live overseas, I find myself craving for things I didn't normally eat when I was home. I've always loved soft pretzels..espically the mall pretzels. The one I went to was called Aunt Anne's Pretzels. I would order one without salt and get the yumie cheese sauce to go along with it:) that was sooo good. Years would go by though without ever having one. I guess you take alot of things for granted because once you don't have access to them..you suddenly crave for it.

So thats what happend. I've had soft pretzels on the brain for weeks now. I went hunting online for a recipe I thought I would tackle. I found this recipe over at allrecipes and seriously, if you haven't ever taken the time to look over there..you need to. They have tons and tons of awesome recipes. The site comes with comments from other's who have made the same recipe and alot of the time they leave valuable comments. Thats what happended with recipe. I read through and wrote down what I learned. So here is what I learned..WICH by the way goes along with Communal Globals Tuesday's Around The World. They want to know what you've learned. So ok, I don't have words of wisdom of things that I have learned..but I have soft pretzel wisdom to share.

1. Do NOT stress over making pretzels. If you worry about it up front, you are doomed for failure.
2. Seriously if I can make these, you can too.
3. Rolling the ropes out to half their length and letting them relax is a great tip. By the time you roll them all half way and go back to the first, it will have rested enough to roll further.
4. Boiling them in a baking soda bath is also a great tip. The original recipe only called for dipping it in the water..not boiling. I found the boiling method to be very easy and it held it's shape. Alot of people complained the dough fell apart when dipping.
5. Knead the dough for the full 8 minutes. If you don't knead it enough the dough is going to give you serious problems.
6. Even though the name of this recipe is Mall Pretzels..it's not. The mall ones are bigger and thicker..but it doesn't matter because these babies ARE soft and chewy and PERFECT!
 Look at that beautiful buttery skin..So are you ready to try??

Soft Pretzels..Makes 12
1 pkg. Active Dry Yeast..2-1/4 tsp.
2 TBL Brown Sugar
1-1/8 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups Warm Water
3 cups Flour
1 cup Bread Flour

For the soda bath
4 cups Boiling water
4 TBl Baking Soda

Topping Ideas:
Melted Butter
Coarese Kosher Salt
Melted butter with garlic or other herbs
Cinnamon and Sugar

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar, and salt in 1-1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size..about 1 hour. I actually turn the oven on to the lowest setting and then turn it off again before I put the bowl in with the dough. It gives it a semi warm area and the yeast just loves it.

Combine the 4 cups water and baking soda in a large sauce pan. Start to boil when it's time to roll the dough out.

After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each rope(using the palms of your hands,not a rolling pin)  into a 2 foot long or under foot rope( remember you need to come back and roll it out to a 3 foot long rope..but allowing it to relax makes the job easier.) You want it to be thin..the directions say pencil thin or smaller but that just ain't happening in my opinion.
This is the dough rolled out half way. As you can tell it's not pencil thin..but that is just fine. When you have finished your last rope, go back and roll the first one all the way out to a 3 foot long rope. Do not bother using a rolling pin..the palms of your hands work perfect. Make sure to use a small amount of flour..using to much actually makes it harder to roll out..to little and it's a little sticky and wont roll properly either.
 Now for the shape..You want to make a circle with the two ends at the top. You want to twist a few times.
It should look like this. You then want to bring it back down into the proper pretzel shape.
   Go ahead and press the ends into the dough to help it stay attached better. Now comes the part where people fail. You want to pick the pretzel up as quickly as you can and drop it into the boiling soda bath water. There is no need to flip it over in the water. When you drop it in there just press it down with a fork and allow it to boil for 30 seconds or so. I used a rubber spatula to take them out again. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets and allow to rise for 15 to 20 minutes.
I would say for sure that it's easier to have someone help you. My husband and I actually switched off between the rolling and the dipping. It went much quicker that way. You can try forming all the pretzels at once and then boiling them but I havnet tried that myself so I don't know if that works well or not.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees or 225 celcius. Bake pretzels for 8-10 minutes,or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter,sprinkle with salt,garlic salt, or cinnamon and sugar. Keep a close eye out on the pretzels..mine were done by 8 minutes. They brown really fast.  So there you have it...soft yummie pretzels that when you serve to your kids they will look at you as if you were Super Woman:)

Link up and let us know What you have learned!