Sunday, July 8, 2012

Soft pretzels

I usually stay away from strange looking foods at the airport. Pretzel was one of them so I had never really tried it until about six months ago when I was flying back home from PHL. I had to bring some food with me on the flight for my 6+ hours long flight. I saw warm pretzels and was tempted to try one. After ensuring it was meat-less (as they did seem to have the pretzel dogs, like the hotdogs, too) I got one for myself. There was mustard on the counter too so I picked up a couple of pouches of that. Once on the flight, I got a chance to try out my soft pretzel with mustard and OH-MY-GOD I was instantly converted into a BIG pretzel lover. Ever since then, Auntie Anne’s and all other soft pretzel places have been THE MOST exciting junk foodie place ever!!

So when I saw Catherine’s recipe for home-made pretzels, I was a total game for it. I got all the material from the grocery store. I (kind of intentionally) forgot the salt granules. Who wants too much salt any ways, right? So I skipped that step in the process but boy! am I glad I tried this one. I will definitely make some changes to the original steps for my next batch. Oh and I cut the ingredients in half as I was still experimenting and didn't want to have half a dozen pretzels sitting around waiting to be thrown in garbage.

Once ready, I ended up devouring two of them with warm butter and mustard sauce.
Modified version:



1 cup warm water (about 100°f- it will be warm, not hot to the touch)
½ tablespoon honey
Half a packet of ¼ -ounce dry active yeast
2 ¼ cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoons salt
½ tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
¾ cups water, room temperature
½ tablespoon baking soda

Method modification:

I will bake them for 10-12 mins. 15 mins made them a bit darker. I will leave them sitting around for 1.5 hours in step 6. The baking soda + water combo made it a bit drier on the surface so I had to butter them a bit more. Will definitely not skip the salt sprinkle step as I did this time.



2 cups warm water (bout 100°f- it will be warm, not hot to the touch)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/4-ounce packet dry active yeast
4 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 tablespoon baking soda




1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the water and honey. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
4. Slowly add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir until combined and the dough forms a soft ball (adding more flour if the dough is too sticky), about 5 minutes.*
5. Rinse out the mixing bowl and then grease it with the oil.
6. Place the dough in the greased bowl and turn it to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to 1 hour.
7. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead two or three times to remove air bubbles.
8. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. Keep the dough covered with a kitchen towel when you’re not working with it.
9. Roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch long rope.
10. Make a U-shape with the dough rope. Pick up each end and cross one hand over the other and press loose ends onto bottom of U to make a pretzel shape.
11. Place pretzels on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
12. Stir together the water and baking soda. Brush the pretzels with the baking soda and water mixture (if you don't have a brush, you can dip your finger in the liquid and rub it on).
13. Sprinkle pretzels with salt and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly brown.
*This can be done by hand or using an electric mixer fitted with dough hook attachment.

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