Saturday, January 19, 2013

Football and Soft Pretzel with an Old Friend

I know it has been a while since i wrote.  I was busy with finals and my brother-in-law's wedding.  A little while ago I had the chance to watch football and bake with an old acquaintance Tiki Krakowski.  She has an awesome food blog: Hungry Souls.  We were looking at different things to make and due to my lack of baking equipment we ended up making Alton Brown's soft pretzels.  Tiki and I have very different approaches to food.  While I am much more calculated and scientific she cooks with much for warmth and love.  What makes it more surprising is she does much more baking than I do, which is generally much more exact, while I am do more cooking which is much more about touch and feel.

Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels (taken from and retyped by Tiki)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, about 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted (we used margarine. I say, if you can use butter, for God's sake, use butter)
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and salt. Pour the yeast on top of the water. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low until just combined. Raise the speed to medium. Knead until smooth and pulling away from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove the dough from the bowl. Clean it, grease it, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place for about 50 minutes to an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with oil. In a large pot, bring the ten cups of water and baking soda to a boil.

4. Meanwhile, dump the dough out on to a lightly oiled surface, and divide it into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-inch rope. Shape each rope into a U and then twist the two end of the rope and press them into the bottom of the U to make a pretzel shape.

5.  Place the pretzels, one by one, into the water for 30 seconds- to a minute. Remove from water. Place on baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.  Eat with or without mustard.

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