The recipe I am posting today is from the October issue of Cooking Light (my favorite issue this year so far!). Matheus loves those soft and yummy pretzels they sell in the Mall, so when I saw the recipe in the magazine I knew we would try it!
This recipe for Pretzels is very easy to make, the only extra thing here (that some recipes does not ask for) is that you need to quickly cook boil the pretzel in a solution of water and baking soda before you bake them.
The first time we made it I followed the recipe exactly and got great results, the pretzels were very nice and had that distinctive pretzel flavor, which I actually associate to the crispy ones we but at the grocery stores (as opposed to the soft ones at the mall). The second time we made it I decided to bake 2 of the pretzels without the water bath… well, let me tell you, if you are going to make the pretzels go ahead and do the extra step, it is well worth it! The pretzels without the bath came out dry and without much flavor.
Next time I am going to try making some of them sweet, with cinnamon sugar on top instead of the salt. I wanted to do this but Matheus was in charge of sprinkling the salt on top and did not let me the try the sugar variantion.
Another thing, the recipe says 12 pretzels, but they are a lot smaller than the ones from the mall (about half of it I would say...).
Very easy and fun to make, Matheus loved making long snakes with the dough, definitely a nice project to do with kids!
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 14 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each portion into an 18-inch-long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other to form a circle, leaving about 4 inches at end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).
Combine 6 cups water and baking soda in a non-aluminum Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer. Gently lower 1 pretzel into simmering water mixture; cook 15 seconds. Turn pretzel with a slotted spatula; cook an additional 15 seconds. Transfer pretzel to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining pretzels.
Place pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Brush a thin layer of egg mixture over pretzels; sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Yield: 12 servings
Cooking Light – October 2005