Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade pretzels

I've been planning to try making pretzels for a long time. It was definitely fun, and worth it. I wouldn't recommend it if you have as little counter space as me (I have about 4 square feet of counter space total). Making the dough into pretzel shapes was the hardest part, so after I had enough for everyone in my lab to have one at journal club, I moved on to little pretzel nuggets. Just a heads up--these taste like movie theater pretzels, not like Philadelphia soft pretzels. Both are delicious, but I'm still looking for a Philadelphia pretzel recipe!

I mostly followed Alton Brown's recipe, but I used brown sugar instead of white, and I used margarine instead of butter. I think I could have cut back a bit on the margarine. I also used a breadmaker instead of doing it all by hand. I set it up before leaving for lab in the morning and came home 10 hours later, so the dough was ready for me.

Recipe (adapted from this one):

1.5 cups warm water
4 tbsp (2 oz) margarine
2.5 cups AP flour
2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2.25 tsp. active dry yeast
Big pot of water
~1/3-1/2 cup baking soda (I just eyeballed this)
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water (again, just eyeballed this)
Pretzel salt (I had a lot of trouble finding this, but I found some salt in HMart that looked about right)

Add all the ingredients through the yeast into the breadmaker, in order. Set on the dough cycle. Remove the dough, punch down, let rest a few minutes, then start shaping pretzels. I won't give any advice on this part since I wasn't too good at it, but check Alton Brown's recipe for more information.

The dough actually overflowed out of the bucket inside
the breadmaker (this was after I pushed the one side back
in and then thought to take a picture) 
This was fairly difficult--the strips kept breaking
Shaping the pretzels was really hard work!
Boil the water and add the baking soda. Drop the pretzels in for about one minute, then move to a cutting board to dry. Move the pretzels to a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. Use a brush to apply the egg wash, and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until they're brownish--about 10-15 minutes.
Boiling the pretzels in baking soda and water--this is what
makes them taste like pretzels
Egg wash to make them shiny
Perfect salt for pretzels! Too bad I have no
clue what the bag says. The ingredients are
on the back in English, though.
Out of the oven
Everything is the same for pretzel nuggets, minus the shaping of the pretzels! They're much easier. You can see the final pretzel nuggets in the top (feature) picture for this post.
Pretzel nuggets were much easier
The final pretzels

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