Friday, January 15, 2010
I couldn't decide which ones I preferred, the plain buttery pretzels or the pizza ones covered in mozzarella. I made the mistake of putting both types on the same baking sheet not knowing that they have different cooking times. The pizza ones were done before the plain ones which could have used a little more browning. That's why they're paler than I would have liked. Not a problem since they are so easy to make and fun to shape. The dough is great to work with and what I like about this King Arthur recipe is that it doesn't make a mountain of pretzels. Just 6 decent sized ones. My only wish is that they came out a little more heart shaped and "pretzel-like" and less round and "bun-like".
Soft Pretzels: 2 ways
Makes 6 | Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
7/8 to 1 cup warm water
1/2 cup hot water
2 tablespoons baking soda
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
*Use the greater amount in the winter, the lesser amount in the summer, and somewhere in between in the spring and fall. Your goal is a soft dough.
Place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a food processor with the steel blade. Process for 5 seconds. Add the water, and process for 7-10 seconds, until the dough starts to clear the sides of the bowl. Process a further 45 seconds. Place a handful of flour in a bowl, scoop the slack dough into the bowl, and shape the dough into a ball, coating it with the flour. Transfer the dough to a plastic bag, close the bag loosely, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with vegetable oil spray, or lining them with parchment paper.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into 6 pieces. Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the water and the baking soda in a shallow bowl. Make sure the baking soda is thoroughly dissolved; if it isn't, it'll make your pretzels splotchy.
Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 30" long), and twist into a pretzel. Let rise for 30-45 minutes, until sligtly puffy.
Plain: Dip each pretzel in the baking soda wash (to give pretzels a nice, golden-brown color), and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with coarse salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through. When done, remove from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter.
Pizza Pretzel: Bake for approx. 5 minutes then spread with pizza sauce and top with grated mozzarella. Return to oven to finish baking, approx. 5 more minutes.
Store at room temperature, airtight for a couple days or freeze for up to 2 months.