Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twist and Shout When You Pull These Pretzels Out!

Ever get all twisted up in knots like a pretzel wanting a pretzel that's as close to Auntie Anne's as you can get without having to venture out of your cozy, comfy home? Me too!

I remedied that by pulling out my trusty Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker, Black and whipping up some buttery soft pretzel dough, rolling it out and twisting it into knots.

What makes them "pretzels" is dipping them into a solution of baking soda and hot water before baking them in the oven. Originally pretzels were dipped in a solution of lye and water.

GASP! "Lye?!", you ask. Yes, lye, but it's a real quick dip. I tried to find some lye for this recipe, but it's a bit expensive for no more than I make pretzels so I settled for the baking soda and water.

I've only made pretzels three times, but all three of those times were within a week because they turned out THAT GOOD and were in big demand. If I can do it so can you.

This is a good recipe to do with the kids on a rainy day. Let your bread maker or stand mixer do the kneading work. Once that's done, form an assembly line made up of kids. One can roll out the log, one can twist them, and another can be the dipper. Here's the recipe so you can get started asap! Have fun and enjoy!

Buttery Soft Pretzels
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil  
Mix a solution of
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
  4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned. 

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