Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soft Pretzels

Wow! These are good. I made them yesterday with my 2 year old. He just watched, but he seemed fascinated by the whole process. This recipe only makes 12, and they tend to disappear fast.

1 (.25 oz. pkg. yeast)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
4 cups flour (I used whole wheat - the dough was dry when I was mixing it, but it turned out great in the end)
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. baking soda

In a large measuring cup, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the 1 1/2 cups water. Let stand until creamy looking (5 to 10 minutes). Put the flour and salt in a large bowl or in your mixer, and add the yeast mixture. Knead for about 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise for one hour.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Being the tightly wound person that I am, I weighed the dough on my kitchen scale and divided it that way so that they would all be equal. While you let the dough rest for a minute, put 2 cups hot water in a bowl, and add the 2 Tbsp. of baking soda. Get a kitchen towel and put it in front of the bowl of soda water. Now, the fun part!

Take a ball of dough, and roll it out into a long rope using two hands. If I could have taught my two year old to take pictures, I would have a photo of this. Unfortunately, I do not, so use your imagination. When the rope is about 18 inches long, grab each end, lift it up into a "U" shape, and twirl it so that the dough is twisted a couple of times. Then lay it back down and bring the ends up to the top of the circle you have just made. If you try it, you will see what I mean. Take the dough-pretzel, and dip it quickly into the hot water, then lightly touch it to the kitchen towel to remove excess water. Then lay it on a baking sheet that you have sprayed with non-stick spray.

When you have finished this process with each ball of dough, cover the pretzels and let them rise for 15 to 20 minutes.
At this point, I sprayed mine with some butter spray and sprinkled them with cinnamon/sugar. You could also sprinkle on some coarse salt, or garlic salt. Oh, the possibilities!

Let them bake in a 450 degree oven for about 6 minutes. Check them to make sure they don't get overcooked. At this temperature, they cook fast. I usually take a slice of butter and rub it over each one when they come out of the oven. Delicious!!

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