29 Mar, 2010
Make pretzels tonight! (a.k.a. A Really Great Pretzel Recipe)
Posted by andrea tomkins in: - iKnead
There are two kinds of pretzels: the small, hard and crunchy and the big, soft and chewy. This recipe is for the latter. It uses the traditional “Montreal-style” boil n’ bake method (much like bagels are made).
In a word (or three): Delicious. Comfort. Soul.
Sometimes we make pretzels for dinner and serve them with soup and cut up veggies.
Not only are these easy to make, but it’s the perfect kind of recipe if you want to get the kids in the kitchen.
First, a pretzel memory.
The four of us were in Florida, at the Kennedy Space Centre. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we were halfway through the tour. We stopped at an outdoor snack bar for a bite to eat. Mark bought everyone a giant pretzel. (I can’t remember but I hope to god the girls split one - they were so big.)
Here’s Mark posing with his:
Mere seconds after this photo was taken, some birds (pictured here) swooped down and stole a chunk of it, right out of his hands. The girls were so afraid of losing their pretzels that they ate theirs under cover from that point onward.
Thankfully, no one was hurt or traumatized on that day. :)
As you can see, pretzels figure quite prominently in the history of our family. And hopefully they will figure prominently in yours (but without all the birds, of course).
Without further ado, here’s the recipe.
Big Soft Pretzels
You will need:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
coarse salt and/or caraway seeds (to taste - this is for sprinkling on top of each pretzel)
parchment paper or silpat mat
In a measuring cup, stir the sugar and yeast with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Let stand until foamy, betwen 5 and 10 minutes. (If you don’t see any foam it means your yeast is no good, so pitch it and get some new stuff.)
Whisk together the flour and sea salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until it holds together and forms a ragged kind of dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes until smooth and slightly tacky. (Note: you can also use a dough-hook on an electric mixer.)
Put your ball of dough into a clean bowl that has been greased with a bit of olive oil. Turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean floured tea towel and let rise in a draft-free place for about 45 minutes. It will double in size.
Turn out onto clean work surface and cut (don’t tear) into 8 pieces. Bring in the kids! Using the palms of your hands, roll each piece into a snake that measures about 24 inches. This might be tricky, because your dough will want to retract. But stay with it. Twist into pretzel shapes (or any shape for that matter)!
Let pretzels sit, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°.
Get a large pot of water boiling on stove. Carefully boil each pretzel for about 3 minutes (I do it in batches of two or three), turning each one over at the halfway point. The pretzels will puff up quite nicely in the water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to your cookie sheet. (I cover my cookie sheet with a little mat, but you can use lightly oiled parchment paper too.)
Brush each pretzel with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of the coarse salt and the caraway seeds (optional but yummy). Bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes. Serve warm.
Note! These pretzels are best the day they are made. If your family can’t eat all eight in one sitting, wrap the rest in a brown paper bag and save them for school lunches the next day. They’ll be a little chewier, but are still very good. :)
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