Monday, November 26, 2012

Beer Tasting Noms: Pretzels

I came across this recipe on Smitten Kitchen for soft pretzels that were too good looking to pass up. A few weeks ago our tasting group got together for a pre-Freetail bottle release bottle share. Since it was good Friday and I had the day off from work I had time to make them. They turned out perfect, soft, chewy, just the right amount of salt. The reason I know they were good is because people were talking about them the day after…success! Also I was able to prove to everyone that my fiancee is not the only person that can cook.

  • 2 cups warm water (100°F to 110°F)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse or pretzel salt

Add yeast, 1 Tbs of sugar, and water into your mixing bowl, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Add a cup of flour to the bowl and mix with the dough hook (if using a stand mixer). Then add the salt while continuing to mix. Once combined add the rest of the flour (4 cups) and continue to mix. The dough should pull away from the sides. Keep kneeding for about 1 to 2 minutes on medium. If the dough is still too sticky add more flour a little at a time. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover and let sit for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. After the dough has fermented pre-heat the oven to 450F and punch down the dough. Divide the dough into roughly 16 equal pieces (I believe I ended up with 20 pieces). Cover them and let them sit for another 10 minutes.

I found it easier to roll the dough out with out adding flour. I did need to add a little bit every now and then since it would stick to the surface occasionally. I had a hard time rolling the dough out long enough, which is why I had trouble forming the traditional pretzel shape. To roll the dough out start by rolling the dough ball into a pill shape. Then start from the center and roll the dough while pressing and spreading it out the sides. The goal is go get a long piece of dough roughly 18 inches long. Mine ended up being maybe a foot long, maybe slightly longer. Place the pretzels on a baking sheet with parchment paper and cover, allowing them to rise for another 10-15 minutes.

While the pretzels are sitting start to boil water in a stock pot, the wider the better. You will need at least two inches of water. When the water starts to boil add in the baking soda and the remaining 2 Tbs of sugar. The baking soda will cause the water to foam up rapidly but it will also dissipate quickly. Add as many pretzels as you can fit to the water to poach them. Poach the pretzels for about one minute on each side, longer if you want a chewier pretzel.

Once all of the pretzels have been poached apply an egg wash to the top. For the egg wash beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle the tops with course sea salt and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown.

The pretzels are best eaten in the same day but can last for two days, mine didn’t make it that long. Leave them uncovered or they will become soggy.

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