21 May 2011

Pretzels

Pretzels

Big salty pretzels. YUM! I grew up calling these "Fat Pretzels." (Or maybe "Phat Pretzels." I am unsure of how cool I was.) My friend Laura's mom would buy them in a box and we'd chow them down after school. But a fresh-baked pretzel? Now you're talkin'!

We made these for a neighborhood happy hour. The girls, of course, helped. Bella is actually very good at making pretzels, and decided she is going to open "Baker's Pretzels" and there will be a Mommy's Special when I am working, which apparently is just a pretzel made by moi, so that is going to take a little marketing I think. Emily tried hard with her dough, copying Bella's movements and trying to roll snakes and reminding herself, "Emily not eat dough!" and then declared to me that her dough was "not working." Why did you give me bad dough? Mine clearly doesn't do what Bella's does. It is broken.

Making Pretzels

Here is the recipe I use.

Baker's Phat Pretzels: Mommy's Special
Makes about 18 pretzels

Pretzels
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 3/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
6 1/2 cups regular flour (give or take a little)

Dipping Solution
2 cups very warm water
2 heaping tablespoons baking soda

Topping
pretzel salt (I buy it at King Arthur)
melted butter for brushing, a couple tablespoons

1. Mix the pretzels ingredients, saving out about a cup of flour, in a Kitchenaid mixer using a dough hook and speed 2, for a couple minutes. Add in the cup of flour as needed to make a very soft (and sticky) dough. Knead for a total of about 6 minutes in the mixer. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes (whatever works for your schedule).
2. Punch the dough down and flip it out onto a floured counter. Cover it with the damp towel again and let it rest for a few minutes. Then start making pretzels! Cut a strip off the dough, roll it into a long thin snake (we do ours about 30" long!) and twist it into a pretzel shape--make a big U, cross the ends, cross the ends again, and fold it down.
3. Combine the dipping solution water and baking soda in a medium size bowl. Dip the shaped dough quick into the solution, lay it on a towel to get rid of any drips, put it on a parchment baking sheet, and, while it is still wet, sprinkle it with the pretzel salt.
4. Let rise for 10 minutes or so on the baking sheet, then bake at 450 degrees for about 8 or 9 minutes. While they are still hot from coming out of the oven, brush them lightly with the melted butter.

You must eat or freeze these right away, the next day they get hard and you can try to microwave them a little to soften them up but really I just recommend scarfing them all down right away. The girls each ate four.

It looks like a rainy weekend. I'll just have to remember this

Flowering Trees

and this

Flowering Trees

from last week to stay cheery. Maybe at least the garden center won't be too crowded!

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